Matlock endure a torrid start to the new season

Ben Neville attempts to break through the Kettering defence during the opening fixture on Saturday. Photo by Colin Baker.
Ben Neville attempts to break through the Kettering defence during the opening fixture on Saturday. Photo by Colin Baker.

Midlands One East

Kettering 55 Matlock 0

Matlock started the new season with a crushing defeat at Kettering on Saturday.

The visitors were missing a couple of key players but having done the double over Kettering last season were confident of getting a result this time around.

Matlock started brightly and from the early exchanges there was little to choose between the two sides. Kettering missed an early penalty kick but took the lead with another shortly after.

Matlock then looked to be in for a certain score when Dan Hooton put George Whittaker away down the wing but he was stopped just short of the line by a fine cover tackle.

At this point the game changed dramatically for Matlock. On ten minutes fly-half James Young had to leave the field with a groin strain bringing Tom Hooton off the bench. Minutes later Alex Powell also had to leave the field with a pulled hamstring and while Matlock underwent a period of reorganisation, Kettering took advantage to cross for their first try.

Matlock tried to respond in their usual fashion but failure to retain possession on a number of occasions coupled with some rather lacklustre and uncharacteristic defending gifted the home side with several further scores.

To add insult to injury Matlock also had to play ten minutes with 14 men when Whittaker was unlucky to be sin-binned.

The pattern continued throughout the remainder of the match although there was a good 20 minute period towards the end when the Matlock defence was solid, repelling anything Kettering could throw at them, and their ball retention also improved.

The Matlock back line to a man defended well throughout the match and were not breached from normal set plays with most of Kettering’s breaks having come from turnover ball and every bounce and decision seeming to go their way.

Tom Hooton stood up well in the unfamiliar flyhalf berth, while Nick Coombes again had to drop into the back-line which meant Matlock lost his power and pace off the back row.

Charlie Jackson impressed at hooker and back row and James Noble put in another fine display. Adam Twyford also worked tirelessly throughout the game, but Matlock will need to regroup ahead of this weekend’s visit of Mansfield.