Buxton Bulls continued their great start to their maiden season with a hard-fought victory over a very strong Derby side at Sunnyfields.
Despite Derby possessing a bigger physical side, Buxton were not fazed and Ben Hopkinson was soon over the try-line only for it to be disallowed by the referee.
Buxton soon shook off that blow and registered the first score of the day, with Kieran Wain going over, before Tom Tobin added the extras.
The next score followed shortly after, when Hopkinson spun away from a couple of would-be tackles to touch down out wide.
Derby then managed to capitalise on complacency within the Bulls ranks, as they scored two quick tries to reduce Buxton’s lead to 10-8 at half-time.
Some strong words at the interval from head coach Tommy McGuigan saw the Bulls get back on track and some big hits from Ben Austin and Dan Hooton led to their third try.
Pressure from the hosts saw Derby drop the ball and Greg Mellor was on hand to pick up and beat a handful of opponents before racing away to score under the posts. Tobin added the extras to increase the lead to eight points.
Once again Buxton then allowed complacency to creep into their game and it wasn’t long before City were back in the match.
Derby swept forward to score a great try in the corner and reduce the deficit to 16-12.
From the restart Bulls kept Derby deep in their own half and a big kick downfield on the last tackle from Ryan Sircar eventually led to Wain crossing over for his second of the afternoon.
With Buxton now thinking the game was won, errors crept back into their play and Derby eventually made it 22-18 late on to set up a nervous finale.
With a minute to go, all Buxton needed to do was complete their tackles but a sweeping move saw the speedy Derby full-back break clear only for Sircar to put in a vital, match-winning tackle.
This Saturday (2.30pm) the Bulls are again at home, when they host Runcorn.