Matlock maintained their position in the title-challenging top five with a 47-24 victory over Market Rasen at Cromford Meadows on Saturday.
With the last game having been some three weeks earlier and without a decent training session for the past fortnight, a somewhat rusty Matlock side took to the field against a Market Rasen side which itself had seen a few changes due to the holiday period.
Both sides began strongly butseveral scoring opportunities went begging until Rasen took a surprise lead when Chris Young’s attempted wide pass was intercepted and the winger ran unopposed under the posts from 40 yards out.
But Matlock soon gained in confidence and by half-time had a commanding lead.
The first score came from a scrum just inside the Matlock half. Neville passed to Hooton who skipped past his opposite number, drew a covering defender and passed to Packard whose blistering pace carried him through to score in the corner, the conversion narrowly wide.
Then, when a line-out in the corner was caught by Twyford, the maul was driven toward the Rasen line for Taylor to touch down. Young added the extras.
Attacking again from the restart, Whittaker came in off his wing to find Packard for his second score, and moments later the roles were reversed as Packard cut through to feed Whittaker for the bonus point try. Young again added the extras and half-time came with the score 26-7.
From the re-start Matlock were first to add to the scoreboard as Packard again went away to scamper under the posts, Young converting, but Rasen refused to give in and scored from a catch and drive to reduce the arrears.
Matlock responded well again, Whittaker sent clear for another converted try soon afterwards, but Rasen weren’t to be outdone and quickly registered again with another catch and drive.
But Matlock were to continue their control, Powell going over from close range and Young converting superbly, and despite another late Rasen try, the home side had done enough.
This weekend fifth-placed Matlock travel to leaders Bedford for a match which could determine the outcome of the league with just four points separating the sides.