Matlock took a break from league action but not from winning on Saturday as they triumphed 36-23 in the Midlands Intermediate Cup at Walsall side Veseyans on Saturday.
A sometimes fraught but always energetic game resulted in triumph for Matlock, but not until a vast amount of blood sweat and tears had been shed for the cause.
On a heavy, sloping, wind-fed pitch the vastly coherent Matlock pack exerted a vice-like grip on the Veseyans eight, who struggled mightily, but ultimately were driven under by the visitors, who as the game wore on, were rampant, threatening to swamp the home side by the end of the game.
The game started brightly enough for the home team with an early penalty and after Tom Morton then missed one for Matlock, another three points for the hosts gave them a 6-0 lead.
Matlock then got into the game and after a series of penetrating runs by the backs, the home team were penalised for sealing off at the ruck; the penalty offer was taken as a scrummage 15 metres out, and the Matlock scrum pushed Veseyans over the line for the first of two push-over tries.
A succession of missed tackles then saw the home team score under the posts, convert to give a lead of 13-5, but Matlock responded with some good attacking play and added another pushover try after an unfortunate knock-on by the home scrum half, converted to make it 13-12.
But from the kick-off the hosts broke quickly and the winger sailed down the pitch to score under the posts and give them a 20-12 half-time lead.
The lead was reduced to one point again early in the second-half when the ball was recycled to Chris Buckley who fed George Whittaker to in turn set up Lewis Richardson to score under the posts. Morton converted.
Another Veseyans penalty extended the lead to 23-19 but that would be the end of the hosts’ scoring as Matlock then took control.
Fluent movement by the Matlock backs and forwards interchanging put the visitors on the Veseyans line and Matt Goodall dashed over for a try, converted by Morton to put Matlock at last in the lead, 23-26.
Several enforced changes did little to dispel the Matlock advances and they moved smoothly to the visitors’ 22 on 60 minutes where the referee called for a penalty against Matlock for holding on in the ruck.
From the defending team’s line out, the ball blurred through successive pairs of hands, with replacement Andy Carr outdistancing the defence and diving over for a team try, conversion missed by George Whittaker, the score 23-31.
The win was sealed when a scything cross field kick was well taken by debutant Tristan Kavalek amd the ball went out to the threes, with Luke Crofts giving a peach of a pass to Chris Buckley and Simon Wright eventually going over for a further unconverted try.