Matlock stay top as Bridgford are beaten

Simon Wright of Matlock RFC gets surrounded during the game with West Bridgford. Photo by Colin Baker.
Simon Wright of Matlock RFC gets surrounded during the game with West Bridgford. Photo by Colin Baker.

Matlock 46

West Bridgford 24

Matlock remain joint top of the Midlands Two East (North) table after overcoming West Bridgford on Saturday.

The hosts made a lacklustre start to the game and a series of penalties in Bridgford’s favour brought them good openings and a yellow card for Matlock’s Luke Crofts, something they took advantage of by scoring two tries for a 12-0 lead inside ten minutes.

The visitors were unlucky not to extend their lead when a penalty attempt on 15 minutes was narrowly wide.

At this point the home side awoke from their slumber and Luke Howard went over in the corner after good work from Simon Wright, Nick Coombes and Atkinson. George Whittaker converted and the signs of a recovery had begun.

Whittaker added a penalty to close the gap to two points and then he produced a fine counter attack to set up Ben Neville who forced his way over from close range, to put Matlock ahead for the first time.

The second-half began with the home side in more determined mood and only a minute in Bridgford picked up a yellow card for an infringement at the breakdown, quickly followed by Charlie Jackson touching down and Whittaker adding the extras to make it 22-12.

From the re-start, a superb team move involving Scott Robinson, Jack Ritchie and Atkinson ended with Ritchie going over, the conversion missed with the score 27-12.

A yellow card for each side followed, Jackson the Matlock player cautioned, before Bridgford capitalised by scoring a converted try.

But two tries in six minutes put the result beyond doubt, the first scored by Lewis Richardson after he was heavily involved in a good phase of rugby - Whittaker converting - and then James Fairclough burst through to touch down near the posts, Whittaker again adding the extras.

Bridgford kicked to the corner and scored an unconverted try off a well worked catch and drive, but Matlock had the final say as Ritchie and Richardson combined to set up Jackson to score his second try of the match, the conversion attempt wide but the win sealed.