BURTON Rugby Club is on a “massive high” says skipper Josh Cartwright after the Crofters sealed promotion to National League Three Midlands with victory over Derby in Saturday’s thrilling play-off.
The hosts emerged with a 24-20 win in front of a bumper crowd at Peel Croft after battling to stay with the visitors in the first half.
“Everyone’s absolutely buzzing,” said Cartwright. “It has been a massive year for the club with a lot of changes.
“Everyone is on a massive high. It was elation at the end.
“This season has proved that hard work – just getting down and doing it – pays off.
“We’ve had a massive result. If we can replicate that hard graft, up our level again, there’s every chance of staying up and establishing ourselves in the division above.”
Cartwright paid tribute to the Crofters support who turned up in serious numbers to cheer on the hosts.
He said: “The support was absolutely massive for us. There were a lot of nerves. That support helped calm the nerves.
“It was a great rugby atmosphere.”
The Burton skipper had anticipated a close game between sides who rarely face one another in competitive games.
Cartwright said: “It was a big test for both sides.
“We know how good a side Derby are, and there were bragging rights at stake as well.
“The first half was an even battle. They asked a lot of questions and we answered them, though we didn’t ask many questions ourselves.
“In the second half our forwards started to pile on the pressure. Our backs were able to get their hands on the ball.”
That pressure proved key as converted tries from Lawrence Betty and Jono Parkinson moved Burton 24-13 ahead.
Derby hit back with a late converted try of their own, but the Crofters held on to spark celebrations which ran long into the night.