Matlock ease into NLD Shield final by overcoming Kesteven

James Fairclough is pictured in action against Kesteven. He scored two tries in the 40-5 win to help Matlock into the NLD Shield final. Photo by Colin Baker.
James Fairclough is pictured in action against Kesteven. He scored two tries in the 40-5 win to help Matlock into the NLD Shield final. Photo by Colin Baker.

Matlock are into the NLD Shield final after a comfortable 40-5 win at Kesteven on Saturday.

Despite missing several first-team regulars, Matlock held a commanding lead at half-time before going on to seal their place in the final in the second period.

The game kicked off with Matlock having the slope and wind in their favour and with the elements they were soon on the attack.

Tom Morton pushed a penalty for offside at the ruck into the five metre zone and Simon Wright picked up from the base of the resulting ruck and sidled over for the opening score, neatly converted by Morton after five minutes.

Matlock increased their lead when George Whittaker ran from half way to score, Morton adding the extras to give the visitors a 14-0 lead after 20 minutes.

James Fairclough then decided to take a hand in affairs and ran a deceptive line to score near the posts, brushing off Kesteven tackles as he burst over the line. Again, Morton converted for 21-0.

From the kick-off, Kesteven showed some true mettle,and fought into t e Matlock 22 where Tim Taylor was adjudged to have stolen the ball from a ruck and was yellow carded.

Kesteven pounded away, and on the furthest flank, Luke Howard was also deemed to have dipped his hands illegally into a ruck and he too was yellow carded.

Not surprisingly, Kesteven drove Matlock back and scored an unconverted try to make it 21-5 in Matlock’s favour on the half-hour mark.

From the re-start, Matlock were under pressure again in their 22m area but the aggrieved seven man pack pushed Kesteven off their scrummage ball, Morton shipped the ball to George Whittaker and he galloped the length of the field to score his second try.

Matlock regained some momentum in the second-half when Taylor and Howard came back onto the field from their enforced rest and Kesteven could not find a way past a resilient Matlock defence, with Dave Ball shepherding the forward resistance to good purpose.

As Kesteven became more stretched, the game assumed a pattern more suited to Matlock and Fairclough chipped the ball from just short of their 22m line over a flat defence to chase down his own kick for a touch-down.

Luke Howard completed the scoring in the last few minutes after a powerful but skilful run along the side line involving Howard, Whittaker, and the ubiquitous Lewis Richardson.

Matlock travel to local rivals Bakewell Mannerians on Saturday.