In bizarre circumstances Hope Valley RFC finally completed a 2021-22 league and cup double, just as the 2022-23 season is about to start.
The NLD finals day at Nottingham kicked off with "The Battle of the Valleys" as Amber Valley and Hope Valley contested the Vase final. In perfect conditions for watching rugby, if not playing it, nerves clearly affected both sides as they struggled to produce much creative rugby in an attritional, defence dominated game.
Hope Valley stuck to their game plan of taking any available points, a Tibenham penalty opening the scoring, but as they were then forced into changes, Amber Valley stuck back to level the scores. It looked like being a try-free first half, but, with time running out, some concerted pressure saw Jake Oldridge crash over for an 8-3 interval lead.
The second half began much as the first finished with both defences dominant and it was man-of-the-match Jake Oldridge who once again scored from close range to extend the lead (15-3), this proved shortlived though as Amber Valley hit back with their only try (15-8).
Hope Valley's pacier backs finally started to find some space as both teams tired in the heat, Will Boot butchered a superb handling move, dropping the ball over the try line, but this didn't prove costly as some similar slick handling saw skipper Matt Keeley cross for the decisive score, the final whistle eventually signalling scenes of elation and relief as Hope Valley secured their first ever knockout trophy.