Injury-hit Chesterfield Panthers produced a resolute display at recently relegated Aylestone St James.
A strong defensive performance gave Panthers the base to push forward and were rewarded with a 24-7 victory.
Chesterfield captain Chris Ward praised his side’s efforts in difficult conditions and against tough opponents.
He said: “This was a difficult fixture against a team who played at a higher level last season and we put them away with a solid performance.”
Ward was impressed with Panthers’ defence in repelling continued attacks, turning the ball over and preventing the home side from crossing the try line.
Aylestone came out the blocks fast, hoping to turn their noticable size advantage in to early points.
But Chesterfield were in no mood to give away cheap points, with Rob Collins and Eric Wright kicking clearances.
Panthers’ line-out was proving extremely effective with Matt Nesbit and Jamie Barnett dominating. Good work from Wright and Robert Davison gave Tye Rose the room to get over in the corner.
The visitors’ heads were up and immediately drove the ball in to Ayleston’s half after a string of penalties by the home side. Davison had one ruled out before Rose demonstrated his footballing skills to knock it forward and beat the Aylestone full-back to touch down a second.
Aylestone’s task was made that much harder when their centre was put in the sin bin for continuing to illegally kill the ball. Chesterfield continued to dominate in the second half and got another score when Wright’s kick caught Aylestone napping.
Collins forced an error and swept in to touch down a third try, with Ward able to add the extras - third time lucky.
Luke Holt, Chris Windle, Steve Allen and Chris Brailsford slipped through three tackles to touch down for Panthers fourth, sealing the try bonus point. Following another scrappy period, Aylestone jumped on a Panthers mistake to kick the ball through for the referee to adjudge that the ball had been illegally knocked out of the in-goal area and awarded a penalty try to the hosts.
Panthers: Titley, Davison, Allen, Barnett, Windle, Brailsford, Nesbit, Holt, Wright, Collins, Watson, Miles, Ward (c), Rose, Grayson. Subs: Grayson, Teagle, Walton.