Dominant Sherwood Wolf Hunt celebrated their first win on the road in the men’s north division of the Midlands Rugby League by demolishing Derby 62-22.
Wolf Hunt survived a scare towards the end of the first half when a 20-0 lead evaporated and sloppy defending enabled the hosts to go in at half-time only 20-16 down. But they bounced back to take command of the second period and now look forward with confidence to another away match this weekend when they take on high-riding Leicester Storm A.
With young hooker Luke Walters on duty with the Scottish U19s’ team, the match gave coach Carl Hardwick the chance to rotate and he gave new Australian recruit, Fabian Wikander, a shirt at stand-off. Wolf Hunt hit the gas straight away with prop forward Jono Collie bursting through the defence and shrugging off several tackles to get over the line. Three minutes later, new boy Lee Chapman barged his way over to add more points, and then two tries from centre Michael Allen gave Wolf Hunt what appeared to be a comfortable lead.
Derby’s sudden recovery knocked the visitors back. But the half-time message was clear: stick to the game-plan and tighten up the defence. The result was two more tries from Allen, plus one from full-back Peter Aldread, to restore Wolf Hunt’s supremacy.
Aldread struck again with arguably the most pleasing score of the day -- a terrific team-effort that also involved prop Jordan Flynn, second row Curtis Green and then Collie. And Derby were restricted to just one score throughout the half when a slip-up on the fifth and last tackle proved costly.
The last quarter was bossed by the Wolf Hunt backs, with tries from Daniel Pearson, Jono Richardson, Mason Hardwick and fresh signing Tom Hardwick, who looked very much one to watch for the future.
In a game that had to be controlled by the forwards on a narrow pitch, several players shone, including second-rowers Tobias Leiber, Curtis Green and Aaron Wycherley. But the man-of-the-match award went to Flynn for his barnstorming runs and aggressive defence.