Shropshire Star

All Blacks put on a super show to take down Derby

The Edgar Davies Ground was buzzing on Saturday after Bridgnorth served up a scintillating display of free-flowing rugby.


The All Blacks gave their hopes of claiming a top-three finish in Regional One Midlands a boost by recording an eye-catching 50-33 success against Derby.

But it was the manner of the victory that left long-serving coach Bryan Smallman waxing lyrical.

The hosts hit the ground running and led 29-5 at half-time before extending that advantage to 50-5.

Luke Brough and Jordan Burgess led the try spree with three each, while Gareth Bladen and Jack Cole also touched down. Elliot Murphy added five conversions.

A hugely entertaining affair then saw Derby launch an impressive rally which resulted in them scoring four converted tries.

But the spoils and plaudits went to Bridgnorth in front of a bumper crowd swelled by the diners from the vice-presidents, patrons and sponsors’ lunch.

“I would say for 50-55 minutes that was the best performance I have seen from a Bridgnorth side,” said Smallman.

“I started coaching here in 2004 and we have climbed through the divisions and went unbeaten one season.

“But given that we are playing at level five now and taking into account the calibre of side we were playing against, that first 50-55 minutes was the best I have seen from a Bridgnorth side.

“It was everything you wanted to see. Our accuracy and detail were brilliant. The players made good reactions and good decisions.

“One of the things our director of rugby Dan Griffiths has been stressing to the players is to not get bored doing the same things. If it’s successful, then stick with it.

“Sometimes when you score a few early tries it’s easy to go off script and try different things, but the players didn’t do that on Saturday.

“They stuck to the process and it was really pleasing to see things we have worked on and talked about come off. Derby are a really good side and they score a lot of points.

“They made a couple of changes, we picked up a couple of yellow cards and they came back at us.

“From a coaching point of view there are one or two things from the game that we can work on because you never stop learning in this game. But we saw it out and it was a great game of rugby.

“It was our sponsors’ day on Saturday and there was a big crowd there and it was lovely to hear people saying afterwards what a great game of rugby it was and how they had enjoyed it.”

The victory left Bridgnorth, who are next in action away to Old Halesonians on March 2, sitting in third place, five points ahead of Bromsgrove but having played two more games.