Midlands One East
MATLOCK bounced back from defeat at Kettering with a super display to overcome Spalding in the sweltering heat at Cromford Meadows on Saturday.
Right from the kick-off Matlock looked the stronger side, and stamped their authority as early as the eighth minute.
Good handling and support in the backs put Ben Neville over for try, with Chris Young added the extras.
For the next 20 minutes further opportunities were spurned as a lack of patience saw the ball being moved wide too early from first phase which resulted in the home side failing to capitalise on some quality possession being supplied by the pack.
During this period Spalding made a number of visits to Matlock’s half and came back to within a point with six points from two penalty kicks much against the run of play.
But Matlock then began to found their true rhythm and played with real intensity.
Strong runs from James Cooper and Taylor from close in and Neville hitting some good lines up the middle began to break down the Spalding defence and on 32 minutes Taylor crashed over from close range for Matlock’s second try. Young again added the extras.
Matlock continued to apply the pressure and Neville crossed over for his second try after a typical strong break down the middle. Young converted.
Spalding added a third penalty on the stroke of half-time but Matlock were looking comfortable at 21-9.
Coach Alan Johnson’s usual calm but firm and encouraging half-time chat saw Matlock come out firing on all cylinders and within five minutes of the restart Young had added a further six points and Spalding were penalised twice in as many minutes.
Only three minutes later Matlock crossed for their bonus point try as Cooper forced his way over after good work from the pack. Young again converted.
Matlock were now in complete command, the pack were well on top in the scrums and the contact area was much better than the previous week.
With quality possession the backs began to cut through the opposition defence at regular intervals and the line was crossed on four more occasions.
Taylor went over for his second, George Whittaker scored the best team try of the day, Neville completed his hat-trick and Dave Hartley finished it off with a quick snipe from the base of the scrum five metres out.
Young converted all these and finished off a faultless display with a drop goal, taking his personal tally for the day to 25 points.
After the previous week’s lacklustre performance coach Johnson was full of praise for the way the squad bounced back to play the kind of rugby they are really capable of.
There were many stand-out performances on the day but the man of the match award went to George Whittaker whose contribution throughout the game just shaded it over Neville’s hat-trick and Young’s faultless kicking display.
Next week Matlock travel to Peterborough who were relegated from National Three Midlands last season.
Kick-off is at 3pm.