Matlock RUFC returned to action with a 50-20 win over West Bridgford in Midlands 2 East (North).
Following the postponement of last week’s game for compassionate reasons, a much-changed Matlock were looking for a good solid performance against West Bridgford.
Harry Boyd, Marcus Bolam and Alex Powell all returned to bolster the backline which also saw Chris Buckley moving to inside centre. John Statham made a welcome return to the pack.
It was sunny day, perfect for running rugby with West Bridgford in confident mood on the back of a 100-0 victory over struggling Spalding the previous week.
A minute’s silence was held in respect and remembrance of Chris Loeber, who as player and coach was at the very heart of everything that is good about the club.
“He truly embodied the spirit of what Matlock Rugby Club is all about and he will be sorely missed by us all,” said a club spokesperson.
From the kick off Matlock were a little slow to find their rhythm and with ten minutes gone found themselves 0-6 down to two West Bridgford penalty kicks.
A fine individual try from Fairclough on 15 minutes and a conversion from the same man briefly put Matlock ahead before West Bridgford replied with a pick and drive.
The visitors were down a man when their open side flanker slapped a Matlock player in the face right in front of the referee. The following move resulted in a penalty try.
The visitors then picked up a second yellow card for not rolling away at the ruck and only moments later the aggressive Bridgford open side flanker who had obviously not learned his lesson was shown a red for punching, along with Matlock’s Tom Wright for retaliation.
The game settled back down and minutes later Matlock scored a superb team try through Fairclough, who again converted, and one from Alex Powell to make it 26-13 at the break.
Matlock were in unstoppable mood in the second half with Luke Howard finishing off another good handling move stepping round the last defender to touch down 31-13.
Tom Cruttenden scored another fine team try, Tom Morton (on for James Young) added the extras, Buckley and Chris Atkinson also getting a try to their names, Morton adding the extras for a 50-20 win.
Matlock face Market Bosworth away next week in the rescheduled game (3pm kick-off).
Team: Wright T, Jackson C, Statham A, Taylor T, Atkinson C, Cruttenden T, Willingham-Statham J, Wright S, Young J, Fairclough J, Howard L, Buckley C, Boyd H, Bolam M. Bench: Stokes T, Bolam C, Morton T.