Three 18-year-olds — Conor Loughnane, Rory Cookman and Harry Boyd — were on the bench as defeated Tamworth 29-14 in thefirst round of the RFU Intermediate Cup.
Matlock’s early pressure told and Tamworth were penalised for not releasing in the tackle, allowing Tom Morton to kick the penalty.
Three minutes later Matlock went further ahead with a try from Mike Allen, who won the race to touch down after a deft chip ahead by Harry Morton.
Morton converted superbly from out wide to make it 10-0.
With the lineouts and scrums going well, Matlock had a good base to play off but several promising opportunities broke down.
Tamworth took advantage of an unkind bounce for the home side to eventually score from a five-metre scrum.
Matlock responded well and George Whittaker was stopped just short of the line.
The home forwards quickly to recycled the ball and Morton picked a great line to use his momentum to touch down for a fine try. He again kicked the conversion for a half-time 17-7 advantage.
The home side were again in the ascendancy in the second period. Simon Wright picked up and ran through a ruck for what looked like a clear run in, but he was just stopped short. Matlock recycled and were stopped again under the posts.
But this time Tom Wright picked up and drove over between the posts.
Tamworth were still proving difficult to put away and had the visitors’ passing through the backs been better they could have caused a few more problems.
As it was, Matlock’s backline, marshalled by Dan Hooton, was hard to break down and when Harry Boyd’s crunching tackle on the Tamworth winger gave Matlock turnover ball, the home side counter attacked and George Whittaker squeezed in at the corner for the killer try.
Tamworth exerted late pressure and finally grabbed a converted try.
It was another encouraging display by Matlock against good opposition. The young pack worked hard in the sets and at the breakdowns and there were some notable strong carries by Tom Cruttenden and the Wright twins.
Team: T Wright, C Bolam, T Stokes, T Cruttenden, J Harrod, C Jackson, M Emmerson, S Wright, T Morton, A Powell, M Allen, H Morton, D Hooton, G Whittaker, M Bolam.
Bench: C Loughnane, R Cookman, H Boyd