Captain Lee Laughton said he couldn’t have been more proud of his players as Chesterfield Panthers took another step in the right direction, despite defeat.
New-look Panthers were beaten 39-18 at home to Ashby, but played their part in a highly entertaining game that belied their lowly position next to bottom in the Midlands 3 East (North) division of the National League.
Both teams moved the ball and played some expansive rugby and although Ashby took the lead, the hosts replied when Leon Owen crashed through in his usual robust style to score and Dan Wilson slotted the conversion. Wilson also kicked a penalty before the visitors edged in front 18-10 at the half-time break thanks to a couple of tries.
The second half ebbed and flowed, with Panthers denied what looked a certain score when Reece Newton was foiled by a last-ditch tackle. Ashby found another gear to score two more tries in quick succession, and after another penalty from Wilson, they struck again.
However, the home side kept battling to the end, living up to the spirit of the club’s new attitude and structure, and they had the last word when creating an excellent try in the corner for man-of-the-match Jake Blair to cap his solid defensive display.