Matlock storm past Stamford to stay top of the standings

Luke Crofts in action against Stamford. Photo by Colin Baker.
Luke Crofts in action against Stamford. Photo by Colin Baker.

Matlock produced a dominant display to overcome struggling Stamford 43-0 at Cromford Meadows on Saturday.

The match was preceded by a minute’s silence and then applause for Will Musgrove, a member of the club’s U14 squad who lost his life last week.

The game kicked off with a strong and icy wind blowing across the pitch and Matlock enjoyed all the early territory and pressure, taking the lead when from a scrum and some good phases they created an overlap for Ben Howard to scamper over wide out. The conversion attempt fell short against the wind.

Matlock continued to camp in the Stamford half and on 15 minutes they conjured up another try as Nick Coombes carried strongly before passing to George Whittaker who stepped inside and left the defence in tatters as he raced away under the posts. Tom Morton added the conversion to make it 12-0.

Nearing the end of the first quarter, Ben Neville burst through the Stamford line on half way and stepped past two more defenders before being tackled and knocking on. The Stamford scrum was won against the head and the ball moved left finding Whittaker who again broke through the line only to be stopped short. The ball was recycled and fed to Jack Ritchie who found a gap in the retreating defence to score near the posts. Morton added the extras for a 19-0 lead.

This was soon followed by Matlock’s fourth try as Luke Crofts powered through under the posts after more good work by both forwards and backs. Morton converted to make it 26-0.

Matlock capped off an excellent first-half performance with a fine team try. Stamford attempted to clear their lines but the kick was fielded by Whittaker some 40 yards out. He set off at pace and cut through the oncoming defenders before being stopped. The ball was recycled three more times before it was moved swiftly along the line to Tristan Kawalek who scampered over to score an unconverted try. Half time came with the score 31-0.

The second half began with the visitors enjoying their best period of the game but despite having some sustained possession they were unable to make any real headway.

After several thwarted attacks, the Matlock frustration was finally broken when Howard crossed for his second try and some great approach play with Lewis Richardson to fore yet again. The conversion attempt was wide.

Perhaps it was fitting that the last try was awarded for the sheer dominance of the pack. Not for the first time a Matlock scrum was collapsed when they were driving Stamford back over their own line. The referee penalised Stamford for collapsing and Matlock chose to scrum again.

They were almost over the line when the scrum was collapsed again and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the penalty try. Whittaker added the conversion to make it 43-0 and round off the victory.