Matlock 1st XV 55
Peterborough 1st XV 9
On a glorious midwinter afternoon, Matlock welcomed city boys Peterborough to Cromford Meadows and handed out a 55-9 thumping.
Following last week’s disappointing performance at Spalding, Matlock were looking to bounce back against ‘Boro, who are one place below them in the league table.
It was ‘Boro who started brightly following their long trip north and notched up three points after a penalty for an infringement by Matlock at the breakdown. On ten minutes, Matlock starting to impose their dominance on the game and a 50-metre rampaging charge from Neville resulted in a try in the corner from the supporting Cooper. The conversion was unsuccessful.
Boro responded with another penalty kick to put them back into the lead 6-5.
From the restart, Matlock were camped in the Boro 22 following four penalties for persistent breaches but no yellow card was given.
Matlock elected to scrum the final kickable penalty and Cooper, showing real strength, picked up from the base and drove over the line for his second score, taking four defenders with him. Turner kicked the extras. Matlock were now playing good rugby and nullifying any attacks through strong defence with Scott ‘Rhino’ Robinson putting in some notable strong hits and making hard yardage with powerful charges.
After a neat nudge into the Boro 22 by Neville, Matlock won the lineout, the pack successfully drove for the try line and Tim Taylor came up with ball in his hands. Turner was successful with the extras.
Matlock elected to scrum the resultant penalty on the halfway line but a rush of blood to James Young’s head at the put-in saw a yellow card shown.
The fourth try was soon to follow for Matlock as play was taken into the Boro 22 and, from the lineout, the tight five used their power to bundle over in the corner for another Taylor try which also gave Matlock a bonus point. Another sinbinning then reduced them down to 13 players. Turner was unsuccessful with the conversion.
On 40 minutes, Matlock scored a magnificent team try. A powerful scrum against the head on Matlock’s own five-metre line was picked up from the base by Cooper and recycled. Hartley elected to use the speedy Matlock backs and the ball was eventually spun out to Packard 60 metres out who put on the afterburners to ghost past his opposite winger and score under the posts to the delight of the Matlock faithful. Turner slotted over the extras.
Half-time arrived with Matlock leading 31-6 and coach Alan Johnson was forced into a substitution with Shooter replacing the industrious Robinson.
Boro knew they had to up their game and did so for the first five minutes. However, they elected to take a further three points when in Matlock territory, as opposed to taking on the defensive wall.
This wall was briefly breached when Boro dodged through but were met by the covering veteran Lane who intercepted the impending try scoring pass. The game was now more open with fewer penalties and Matlock were looking to expand. Hooton replaced the injured Turner.
On 55 minutes, Morton took play down the flank and a penalty was awarded, which Matlock elected to kick to the corner. The forwards used their mauling skills to bring play to the Boro tryline and hands at the ruck by Boro resulted in a penalty try being awarded. Young converted.
A loose kick by Boro was fielded by Morton, who spun the ball out to Packard who sprinted down the wing, put in an gigantic sidestep and scored his second try. The conversion was successful.
A Boro scrum was then turned over following the introduction of Ash Statham. Shooter picked up and burst his way towards the tryline, scoring in the corner. Neville’s conversion was missed.
The final score of the match arrived. The ball was moved to Packard, who beat several defenders and offloaded mid-tackle to the supporting Shooter to score his second try. Young converted.
This was a comprehensive victory and goes some way to making up for the 20-3 defeat suffered at Peterborough. Harry Morton was man of the match for a solid performance on his first start for the first team.
Matlock hope to continue this form on Saturday when they travel to fierce rivals Derby, currently top of the table. Kick-off is at 2.15pm.