Matlock cling on to first half lead away to Casuals

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Following good displays in their last two games, Matlock travelled to Notts Casuals with a quiet confidence but by the end of this match that confidence was seemed somewhat misplaced.

Matlock arrived at the Casual’s ground in buoyant mood, however, the dark clouds looming above the ground should have served as a warning for the poor game of rugby that followed.

The pre-match build up was first disturbed by having to share a dressing room with another visiting team and as the teams began their pre-match warmup flashes of lightning and thunder claps were followed by an incessant downpour.

With the overhead storm a potential danger to the players, both sides made for the shelter of the changing rooms only venturing out again when the storm had moved away albeit only a short distance but there was no let-up in the rain. From the kick off it soon became clear that this match was going to be anything but a classic.

With the majority of the home support deciding to stay in the shelter of the clubhouse it is a proud boast that all the travelling support stayed pitch side throughout the entire game despite the awful weather and the rather abject rugby on display from both sides.

Both sides tried to play rugby and Matlock looked the better side with ball in hand but the problem was the inability to hold onto the ball long enough to put together several phases of play. The game was therefore punctuated by far too many scrums which in itself made any attempt at flowing rugby futile.

Casuals took the lead with a try in the corner despite a blatant crossing in the build-up and Matlock responded with a penalty from Tom Morton and a try from Conor Loughnane following a good period of pressure, making the half time score 5-8.

At half-time Brookes took his charges into the dressing room for a dressing down and Matlock began the second half with more intensity. However despite the odd chance being created, last passes or simply losing the ball in contact meant that Matlock just could not build on their lead, not even when Casuals were reduced to 14 men when their flanker was sent to the bin.

As the game wore on and thoughts wandered towards building an ark, Young and Morton began to switch positions and this seemed to bring more success. Casuals missed one penalty and another came back off the upright as Matlock held on for the win and four points.

Next week Matlock will be looking for a much better performance and hopefully better conditions when they entertain Southwell at Cromford Meadows, kick off 3.00pm