Last-gasp drop goal seals remarkable Buccaneers fightback

Conor Holmes.
Conor Holmes.

Midlands Premier

Derby City 34

Boston Buccaneers 35

The Boston Buccaneers staged an incredible comeback to snatch a last-gasp 35-34 victory against Derby City on Saturday.

Dan Mackie’s 30-yard drop goal at the death completed a memorable victory after Boston had trailed 24-6 at half time.

Injuries and holidays made team selection especially difficult this week, forcing many players to play out of position.

Debuts were handed to prop Steve Brogan and centre Chris Douglas.

Playing uphill and against the wind, the Buccaneers received the kick off and started with pace and purpose.

Captain Jim Dearing and loose forward Mike Knock moved the ball well in the middle of the park, allowing hooker John Stanfield to release the ball early to halfbacks Mackie and Tom Andrews.

Swift hands enabled centre Chris Douglas to make a break down the wing, only to be stopped short by a covering fullback.

However, the Buccaneers would not be denied as Stanfield spotted half a gap and outpaced defenders to score under the posts.

Mackie added his first of four conversions to put the visitors into a 6-0 lead with only five minutes gone.

For Boston that was the end of the highlights in the first half as Derby forced their way back into the game.

Although the Buccaneers defended bravely it was not enough, and it was the home side that dominated in both territory and possession, scoring four unanswered tries to end the half 24-6 ahead.

After a passionate halftime team talk and the introduction of man of the match Conor Holmes, the Buccaneers were fastest out of the blocks, scoring in the first few minutes following the re-start.

After a great interchange between Andrews and Holmes the ball found its way to Dearing, who ran a superb line to score under the posts.

Five minutes later prop Alexandros Ioannou, who had been a thorn in Derby’s side all game, steamrolled his way over for the score.

Derby’s game plan was now being snuffed out by some great defending by Matt Coley, Mike Knock and Ryan Cuthbertson.

On the rare occasions that Derby did break the line, fullback Jordan Cleaver eliminated the threat.

Mackie then dove over in the corner for the score.

The Buccaneers were now back in front 26-24.

From the re-start Holmes and Andrews worked their magic and gained great field position.

Andrews then popped the ball to Cleaver who easily scored to increase the Buccaneers’ lead.

In a five-minute spell Derby scored twice and seem certain to close out the game with only 10 minutes left.

The Buccaneers, however, hadn’t read the script and Stanfield dived over for the try.

Mackie’s conversion brought the scores level at 34-34 with two minutes left.

Boston received the re-start and set about the job of marching downfield.

On the fourth tackle the ball came to Mackie, who slotted a superb drop goal from 30 metres as the final whistle went to win the game 35-34.

BUCCANEERS: Knock, Mackie, Andrews, Ioannou, Beever, Cuthbertson, Dearing, Stanfield, Croker, Baldwin, J.W. Stanfield, Brogan, Cleaver, Douglas, Holmes, Coley, Laidlaw.