A superior display by the forwards was the key to Deepings’ derby day win over Notts, Lincs and Derbys Intermediate Cup holders Stamford College Old Boys.
Coach Nobby Coupland handed debuts to five Green Machine rookies, including former Old Boys full back Aram Jones, lock Cameron Grant and flanker Jacob Harwood.
The atmosphere at Linchfield Road was so electric that the referee had to tell everyone, other than the replacements of both teams, to get behind the spectators’ barriers.
After an early Old Boys’ penalty by scrum half Haydn Johns, Deepings benefited from an interception which winger Luke Whitby ran in for a try which he also converted.
But penalties threatened to undo Deepings’ chances as both lock James Hayward and flanker Lewis Cannell were given ten-minute sin bin penalties.
Old Boys brought the deficit down to one point with another Johns penalty before he put them in front with his third successful penalty out of four attempts.
At the end of the day, 24-12 at home - after losing at Sileby last week - is a step in the right direction and as long as we improve every week, that’s all we can ask forDeepings coach Nobby Coupland
However, Green Machine prop Gareth Silverwood bulldozed over from five metres out to score an unconverted try which gave his side back the lead at 12-9.
But Old Boys were kept in the game by 18 penalties from the home side, one of which allowed Johns to put the visitors level after a three-point kick.
It was then that Deepings’ fears of not just being up against the 15 men of Stamford College Old Boys, but the referee as well, seemed to spur them into emergency action.
Just after a leg injury to Jones, the Green Machine went into overdrive as a penalty against Old Boys resulted in a phase of possession that put Michael Wainwright in at the corner.
Then the icing was put on the cake as another Old Boys’ penalty set up the final try for Dom Peacock which was converted by debutant Jack Towers, son of Green Machine legend Chris Towers.
As 1st XV captain Lance Charity said immediately after the final whistle: “We made it hard for ourselves but we stuck at it.”
Deepings coach Nobby Coupland said: “There were 30 lads who just wanted to play rugby but the referee just killed the game.
“In the last 20 minutes, the lads showed great spirit and came back, not only to take the lead but we also got the bonus point win.
“All the hard work the lads had put in came through in the last 20 minutes and they were confident in what they were doing.
“We scored two great tries from it and, at the end of the day, 24-12 at home - after losing at Sileby last week - is a step in the right direction.
“As long as we improve every week, that’s all we can ask for.”
Deepings debutant Arum Jones said: “The Green Machine always play very well, but we’ve given a few too many penalties away which is something we can improve on.
“Hopefully, we can make a strong back three at Deepings in the future with Kelvin Squires who is a great player and someone I’m glad to be playing side by side with.
“Matt Morton is also a very good winger so hopefully we can do well together.
“I felt a little weird due to the fact that I was playing my old team so my emotions were all in the air.
“It’s never nice playing against old friends and team-mates but I’m very proud to be in the green, yellow and black of Deepings.
“There are plenty of players turning up to training and I’m lucky to be playing in the number 15 shirt around some great players.
“Therefore, I’m happy to say that I won’t be making a move any time soon because I’m here for the long run.”
Meanwhile, Old Boys coach Jon Duncan said: “It was a close game until the last ten minutes and it was just the little things, that went well against Brackley last weekend, that went wrong for us.
“We have a completely new team and there was a lot of effort, but I’m just disappointed that the last little bit of the game didn’t go right for us.
“But it’s early days in the season and there are little things that we can put right at training.”
DEEPINGS: O’Connell, Peacock, Silverwood, Haywood, Grant, Cannell, Harwood, Trotman, Charity, Edwards, Squires, Morton, Wainwright, Whitby, Jones. Subs: Shaw, Harrison, Peacock, Lunn, Towers.
STAMFORD COB: Pickerill, Hickman, Brown, Pretsell, Fraser, Batty, Twose, Pattinson, Jones, Armstrong, Jenkins, Greenslade, Gamble, Flander, Thompson. Subs: Brannon, Walker, Page, Durrant.