Battling teenagers close to upsetting the odds

Matlock Under 15s, with a full squad for the first time this season, put in a good performance in a 55-40 defeat by Tupton Under 15s, who had an age and weight advantage.

Matlock’s forward line, led by George Bowen, Tom Christian and Brandon Harrison, were first to the breakdown, passing the ball well and using their pace to good effect.

Adam Harris and Will Needham won their individual battles, while Calum Massey brought the backs into play.

From a well-worked scrum and interplay between Sam Ball and Danny McRea, Matlock took a deserved 7-0 lead.

Harry Wyld and Tom Spivey put in crucial tackles to disrupt Tupton’s momentum, but against the run of play an overload on the left wing allowed a Tupton forward to level.

Will King put in a brave tackle on a Tupton player twice his size, but had to leave the action after suffering an injury.

A minute later a fumbled pass allowed Tupton a second try and they quickly extended their lead to 19-7.

Matlock were rewarded for keeping their shape and their discipline with a well-worked second try after running from Fraser Bowman, who passed to Danny McRea.

Tupton forced a fourth try but Matlock responded with a well-executed pass from Sam Ball to Harry Wyld, who rode three tackles to score. Sam Ball maintained his 100 per cent conversion rate to reduce Matlock’s arrears to three points

However, on half-time Tupton grabbed another try to lead 31-21 at the break.

Matlock opened the second half well, forcing Tupton back and winning balls at the breakdown. One of those led to Sam Ball gaining a penalty and from the resulting play George Bowen and Adam Harris drove the ball through on the try line to reduce the deficit to five points.

Tupton restored their 10-point lead, but good technique from the Matlock forwards allowed Ned Tatler to pick up the ball and break through for a fifth try to make it 33-36.

Olly Maloney caught and ran superbly from the kick-off, almost breaking through before Sam Ball kicked into the Tupton corner. From the line-out Matlock forced another penalty, two yellow cards were given to the visitors and a try by Ned Tatler put Matlock into a 40-36 lead.

However, Tupton replied and in the final 10 minutes took advantage as Matlock tired.