Matlock missed out on the opportunity to complete a double over local rivals Paviors, going down 40-24 on Saturday, despite looking the better team in the first 40 minutes.
But despite this loss, coach Alan Johnson was able to find some positives, particularly in the first half display and the return of some of his team’s injury victims.
“With Alex Powell, Dan Hooton and Chris Young returning from injury, there’s a lot to look forward to and I’m looking forward to the game at home to Kettering on Saturday.
“It’ll be great to show a good crowd down at the Meadows how far we’ve come.”
Henri Packard scored Matlock’s first points of 2012 against the run of play, after a sluggish start from the away team.
Good pressure from the Matlock backs forced an early error, allowing Alex Powell to chip through and Packard’s pace enabled him to gather and cross the line for a try, which was converted by Chris Young.
Paviors were quick to respond with their tall pack winning possession and making good progress into the Matlock half from the kick-off.
Matlock soon found themselves defending a lineout in their own 22 and, despite defending the initial catch and drive, they were unable to hold out as the Paviors number eight crashed over from short range to score their first try of the game. With the conversion missed, Matlock still held the 7-5 lead.
That lead was soon extended after Chris Young converted a penalty awarded following a series of good kick chases from the Matlock backs, putting pressure on Paviors.
The home side responded immediately, showing more hunger to have possession of the ball and some soft defence allowed Paviors to cross the line with a try under the posts, converted with ease.
This try seemed to give the home team a boost, their pack began to assert themselves and Matlock’s discipline started to slip, conceding two quick penalties which forced them to defend inside their own 22.
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