‘No result’ verdict for final league game

Matlock’s last league game of the season against Derby last weekend has had its result declared void after the match was abandoned in the second half due to an injury to the referee.

Victory for the home side would have meant a creditable sixth place finish whereas a win for the visitors would have seen them finish third.

The game was played out by two sides aware that there was little at stake and even the usual battle of pride between these two teams failed to elevate the game to an entertaining spectacle. Derby had the better of the early exchanges and claimed the opening score with a converted try near the posts.

Matlock struck back almost immediately with an audacious 40-metre drop goal by Chris Young, before Derby scored again through their talented young winger. Matlock again clawed their way back in touch when Young and Hooton worked space to put Powell in at the corner for an unconverted try and turned round at half time trailing 8-12.

The second half was as tight as the first with Derby extending their lead to 18-8 through two penalties before Matlock began to exert more control over the game and scored a converted try through Brookes following a driving maul to take them into bonus point range.

When Henri Packard scored an opportunist try to take a 20-18 lead, Matlock were beginning to take control over their opponents. However, in following Packard to the line, the referee sustained a calf injury and was forced to abandon the game with 17 minutes remaining.

Some confusion followed as to whether the result would stand as a win for Matlock but this was not to be. With Derby voicing their preference for a 0-0 draw and Matlock for the match to be replayed the league had the final say declaring the match void with no need to replay it.

After a long and bruising season, this was probably the right decision in hindsight and Matlock were left with a sense of moral victory, having been in the ascendancy when the game ended prematurely.