A PLEASANT trip to the Staffordshire moorlands saw Matlock RFC under 17s secure a fantastic 62-10 win.
Matlock kicked off and were up in the opposition half from the start as they made their presence felt. Leek managed to gain possession at a lineout but Matt Hobbs and Alex Braund tackled with determination and, with the ball back in blue possession, Rob Ward regained territory only to be tackled and into the ruck, the opposition turned over and Harry Neville collected the ball, he passed out to Jacob Page who with pace ran all the way to the try line 0–5.
From the restart, Tom Murray made a great catch feeding the ball to Rob to create more territory with a kick and chase. Both sides gave away penalties in the following passages of play but with no real advantage to either team until, from a penalty awarded to Matlock, James Walker, with a quick tap and go, passed to Rob Ward who fed the ball nicely to Matt Hobbs, enabling him to touch down. Rob then converted the try, increasing the score to 12-0.
The ball was knocked on shortly after the restart and Leek kept possession from the scrum. However, James Evans and Kieran Parkes, followed by Tom Murray, Jack Greasley and Andy Rose, were industrious in their tackles ensuring that the home side made no further progression up the pitch.
Harry ripped the ball out and passed to Alex Braund but a further knock-on and back to another scrum, Leek winning the ball. Not for long though as James Walker gathered up the ball out to Rob Ward who, with a perfectly timed kick to Matt Hobbs, was able to run onto the ball and touch down. Rob converted the try and took the score to 19-0.
The Matlock team were fired up and, from the restart, Ed Thirkell made the catch and, with good free flowing passes, and with Tom Donnelly in support, the ball made its way to Andy Rose, who touched down in the last few minutes of the first half to make it 24-0
Leek, not to be outdone, were on the attack as the second half began and scored their first try. A lineout just after the restart gave Joe Bestwick the chance to claim the ball, which dropped to James at scrum-half, who sent it out to Rob and Andy, making sure that Tom Donnelly, who was nicely warmed up by now, had the opportunity to run for the try line.
Rob Ward, in trusty fashion, converted the try and the scoreline was now a very credible 31-5.
The visiting supporters had a real treat in store with Ed catching from the restart. Clever passing between Tom, Rob, Matt saw them zigzag up the pitch, Alex and Matt passing the ball with nimble checks of pace as they outclassed the opposition and Alex, in a real moment of what can only be described as Champagne rugby, scored a try to make it 36-5.
Rob Ward so nearly made the tryline next but Tom Donnelly was there on hand to scoop up the ball and dive for the corner. A few minutes later, not to be outdone, Sam Knowles, who had come on for an injured Tristan Firth, also carrying an injury to his toe, managed to hobble over the try line with Rob kicking to convert.
From the base of a scrum, Edd Thirkell took the next opportunity with a cracking number eight pick up and run move to secure a try, just reward for a very industrious performance. Rob again kicked the conversion to make it 55-5.
To give Leek credit, they soldiered on and scored a further try to bring the score to 55-10. In reply, Andy Rose raised a smile as he touched down a few minutes later right between the posts with Rob Ward converting to bring his points in the match to a very worthy 12.
In the last few minutes, Leek had a penalty awarded to them within yards of the tryline but were unable to capitalise on this opportunity and Sam Knowles kicked the ball into touch for the final whistle.
With real confidence growing in the squad, and everyone playing their part, this was a great game to watch and some real positives for the squad came from this match.