Stalwart delighted to score on milestone appearance for club

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Matlock RUFC stalwart Ben Neville was delighted to crown his 200th first team appearance with his first try of the season, in a 74-0 win over Spalding.

The 29-year-old centre has been at the club half his life, after joining the junior ranks at the age of 14 and going on to make his first team debut at 17.

He has since represented Matlock for 12 years - apart from the occasional pulled hamstring, shoulder injury or broken nose - and revealed why he keeps turning out.

“It’s definitely the people at the club,” he said. “It’s always nice to go for a beer with your mates. Some of the people there I wouldn’t have known otherwise, but I’ve got mates for life there.

“It’s a hard and brutal game but the mates you do make are proper ones, who you can rely on. It’s a great club, which has been around for years with a massive junior section and one I’m proud to play for.”

And added: “I love playing. I wouldn’t keep going back if I didn’t!”

He recalls many highs during his time with the club so far with a late win over Bedford being one particular match which remains clear in the No.12’s mind.

“One that sticks with me is when we beat Bedford 5-0. I scored in the last minute, pulled my hamstring, but it was a good one to win. There have been so many games over the years,” he said.

And the resounding 12-try 74-0 win over Spalding on Saturday may yet feature in that highlights reel in years to come, as Neville picked up a rare try.

He said: “I’ve not scored all season so it was a nice one to get. It was a good score on Saturday and also to rack up that milestone was a pleasing achievement. A few people at the club have made 200 appearances so it’s nice to get to that mark.

“I’ve been there since I was 14. I was in the Colts before I made it in to the first team and been playing in the first team since I was 17. I’ve probably had ten seasons. I’m 30 this year, so maybe I’m getting towards the end of my playing career!”

Neville wasn’t the only one to clock up an appearance milestone on Saturday, with team-mate Ashley Statham also reaching three figures.

The consistent Statham made his 100th appearance in the Spalding win. He is the only player to feature in every match so far this season.

Matlock are next in action this coming Saturday, March 4 at home to Coalville (3pm kick off).