Chesterfield Panthers 1st XV have been crowned league champions – for the first time in over 25 years. Following their confirmation of promotion, Chesterfield cruised to victory over Keyworth RUFC on Saturday 5th April with a 90 – 0 win.
Such was the volume of tries and conversions during the match that the referee struggled to keep up with the score resulting in an official full-time recording of 83 – 0.
Fans at Dunston Road watched the Panthers run in 14 tries on home soil to cement their name in history once again – 28 years after the club’s glory days. It was an emotional day for many spectators, which included past players from Chesterfield’s glory days when they use to play against top clubs such as Leicester, Rotherham and Bedford to name but a few.
The crowing as league champions and promotion to Midlands 3 East (North) is the icing on the cake for Chesterfield Panthers following its £1.8m investment in a purpose-built ground at Dunston Road last year.
Captain Steve Avenier said: “Although we gained promotion last week to win the league is amazing – the first time in 28 years. The trophy is ours and I can’t wait to see it in the clubhouse. We have put Chesterfield on the map for rugby once again, reclaiming our place at the top of the table.”
There was a lot riding on the game. The previous week Amber Valley RUFC was deducted five points in the league table leaving Panthers the task of securing a victory against Keyworth to secure the title of league champions.
The whole squad knew that once kick off came they had to come out firing and ensure that there was no lack lustre performance. Dominating from the off, Panthers ran in six tries before half time and the remaining eight in the second.
Man of the Match was awarded to Carl Walker with a fantastic five try haul closely followed by Glenn Grayson with four all from the second half having come on as replacement for Tye Rose who had a great game but was denied his own try by the referee in the first half.
In true fashion, the forwards won the game with a few rewards for Paul Jones and Luke Holt for the hard work and dedication. Further points came from captain Steven Avenier and Chris Ward who also scored 10 conversions, to truly dictate the score of the game.
A delighted captain Steven Avenier said: “We had a vision from the very beginning of the season. Our pre-season coaching and technical training has paid off. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from a group of 15 players on the pitch. It was a true team effort. We are all delighted.”
Coach Derek Sherlock joined the club at the beginning of the season having enjoyed a high profile career in rugby league which included a stint as Sheffield Tigers 1st XV captain between 1971-2 and Sheffield RUFC where he played 250 consecutive games.
He said: “I am so proud of the team. They deserved it. The promotion and league win means so much to the entire team – older and younger players.”
Steve Avenier added: “We are proud to have laid solid foundations in which to continue the club’s success for plenty of seasons to come. Strong players are core to our ongoing success and since moving to the new ground we have attracted a number of them. Our recent success will bring us to the attention of more.”
FT: Chesterfield Panthers 83 Keyworth 0
Tries: Carl Walker (5), Glen Grayson (4), Steven Avenier (2), Paul Jones (1), Chris Ward (2)
Conversions: Chris Ward (10)
Man of the Match: Carl Walker
Chesterfield Panthers: Mark Coward, Robert Davidson, Callum Draycott, Alex Allen, Alex Hughes, Andy Hughes, Chris Windle, Luke Holt, Steve Avenier, Rob Collins, Chris Ward, John Ryan, Tye Rose, Phil Cawthorne.
Subs: Tom Rice, Joe Walton, Daniel Shum, Glen Grayson