Chesterfield Panthers moved up to second in the Midlands Division Three East (North) table with a convincing 24-3 win over rivals Amber Valley.
The Dunston Road outfit have been plagued with injuries of late and were forced to field a much-changed back line - but it didn’t stop them from completing a double over their county rivals.
Liam O’Neill stepped in to fly half and produced a man of the match display for coach Derek Sherlock’s side that went on to claim four tries to leave Amber Valley reeling towards the bottom.
Jordan Grayson was wearing number nine and Nick Fenton came in to inside centre, replacing injured skipper Chris Ward, as stand-in captain Paul Jones fired a complacency warning at his side.
Valley kicked off and played with conviction but the home team fronted up and, with big hits from Robert Davison and Luke Holt, it was clear Panthers were not going to take a backwards step.
The visitors took an early three point lead but it wasn’t long before Chesterfield took charge and responded with Fenton going over in the corner after some slick hands through the backs.
O’Neill pulled the conversion wide but it seemed Panthers were in to their stride. As the first half went on errors cost Chesterfield opportunities, as they tried to force things a little.
A serious injury to one of the Valley players briefly stopped play, forcing the game to be moved onto another pitch. Chesterfield picked up where they had left off with a scrum in Valley’s 22.
O’Neill was getting the backs going putting Fenton and Bunting into space with the latter keen to take on the opposition physically and bouncing many Valley players to the floor showing impressive strength.
Panthers’ pack started to get the upper hand but their patience was tested as mistakes continued to hinder their chances of scoring - until Holt picked up five metres out and forced his way over.
Grayson added the two from a tricky angle. Valley applied sustained pressure but couldn’t find a way through and when O’Neill kicked to the corner, Chesterfield upped the stakes and went for it.
Winning their own line out five meters out, Panthers set up the maul which proved too strong for Valley. Jones crashing over. Substitute Ali Sherlock played in Barry Wood to cross the line for his first in a Chesterfield.
Injured skipper Chris Ward said: “Although a scrappy game, we will take the positives and moving in to second with a bonus point it’s hard not to be pleased with the outcome. With further injuries leaving us thin on the ground we were still able to dominate a competitive Amber Valley.”
Panthers squad: Paul Jones, Robert Davison, Steve Allen, Jamie Barnett, Alex Allen, Chris Brailsford, Grant Teagle, Luke Holt, Jordan Grayson, Liam O’Neill, Ben Bunting, Nick Fenton, Tye Rose, Barry Wood, Glenn Grayson, Ali Sherlock.
Chesterfield Panthers seconds gained a bonus point win in a top of the table clash with Paviors thirds - moving
up to second.
Tries from Jack Short (3) and Ash Holland, coupled with three conversions from kicker Ian Watson, gave Chesterfield a 26-5 success.