Panthers reach county final for second successive year

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Chesterfield Panthers seconds overcame the odds to beat near neighbours Matlock and reach the Derbyshire Cup Final.

Kick off was delayed until 2.45pm on Saturday after Matlock turned up late to Dunston Road but the Panthers maintained their concentration to win 12-5 in a tough derby.

Chesterfield dominated possession and got the breakthrough from a scrum deep in the opposition’s half, the ball went through many hands before Scott Widdowson exploited the gap. Rich Keeling converted.

Matlock, a club from two leagues higher, seemed to wake up and looked for a response. They had to wait until after the break but they replied with some strong running leading to an unconverted try.

Panthers held a slender two-point lead before Ash Holland turned the ball over and a quick ball to Tom Arnold, who drew two defenders and created space for Chris Cooper, who in turn found Jake Blair.

Blair took the ball cleanly and crashed over in the far corner to wrap up the win and book a place in the final at Dunston Road on April 25 for a second successive season.

Elsewhere, Bakewell Mannerians overcame Ashbourne 26-10 in Midlands Division Two East (North) and Tupton edged past Long Eaton 22-17 in the Midlands Division Four East (North).

Bakewell have Matlock and Dronfield welcomce Loughborough; Amber Valley host Nottingham Moderns, Panthers entertain Lincoln; and Tupton travel to Worksop.