Matlock continued their 100 per cent start to the Midlands Two (East) season with a 29-8 victory at home to Nottingham Casuals on Saturday.
Despite injuries having meant several changes were forced on them, Matlock made a better start from the kick off playing with pace and intensity and had the visitors immediately under pressure close to their own line.
However, despite a concerted period of pressure the Casuals defence held out valiantly and eventually cleared the danger, indeed they then went ahead with a penalty after impatience amonst the home side resulted in a transgression at a breakdown.
The Matlock re-start was good and the home side were straight back on the offensive with Wagg making two telling breaks in quick succession. Casuals tried desperately to slow down the attack and were penalised for cynically killing the ball at the ruck. Morton stepped up to level the scores.
The home side were clearly superior in the outside channels but had to wait until 23 minutes for the first try. Neville won turn over ball just over half way and the ball was moved quickly via Boam and Hooton putting Howard into space. The winger raced down the five metre channel and good support eventually saw Jack Ritchie scramble over for the score. Morton converted well.
Four minutes later the lead was extended. Good line speed defence by Matlock forced a Casuals handling error. The turnover ball was flicked to Jonny Bunting who’s long miss pass found Hooton who dummied and burst through the defensive line and drew in the defence before finding Buckley in support to race away and touch down under the posts. Morton added the extras and at 17-3 it began to look like the home side were getting a stranglehold on the game.
However, another rare incursion into the Matlock half brought about Casuals’ only try out wide after Bunting had been yellow carded for a maul infringement, the conversion missed right on half-time.
The beginning of the second half saw a spirited Casuals trying to create further opportunities and then Matlock’s Buckley was unfortunate to be yellow carded.
After a long spell with no points scored, Matlock finally registered again when, from an attacking line-out, Matlock caught and drove the ball. Two phases later Neville hit a great running line and Noble claimed Matlock’s third try. The conversion attempt was wide.
Matlock then had to wait until the final play to score the all important bonus point try.
A training ground move saw Neville take another great line and burst a hole in the Casuals defence. He was pulled down just inside the 22 but his midfield partner Hooton in close support scooped up the ball drove forward and set up good ball which was moved quickly to Simon Wright to crash over next to the posts.
Morton converted and the referee signalled the end of the match with the final score of 29-8.
Matlock visit Stamford this weekend, kick-off 2.15pm
Meanwhile, the NLD game against Bakewell will now be played under lights at Cromford Meadows next Tuesday night (4th) at 7.30pm.