Matlock RUFC beat Bakewell in league and cup double to go top of the table

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Matlock defeated local rivals Bakewell 30-8 in a league and Derbyshire Cup double header to go top of the table.

The home side’s team sheet again saw enforced changes as captain Ben Neville and Luke Crofts were both ruled out with injuries picked up in the cup defeat the previous week.

With at least five other backs currently on the injury list the bench contained all forwards with debutante Harry Stephenson joining Robinson and Coombes both returning from injury.

The game kicked off and it was soon evident that Matlock, as was expected, had the upper hand in the scrummage and the driving maul.

However that didn’t stop a determined Bakewell side from playing a very effective spoiling game, which served to frustrate the home team and supporters alike.

Eventually though the pressure told with Simon Wright diving over from close range following a period of concerted pressure. The conversion attempt was wide. Matlock continued to dominate territorially, but maintaining possession was proving more problematic.

Bakewell reduced the deficit to two points midway through the half via the boot of Zak Dann, but this was short-lived as Matlock’s second try followed soon after.

Again after good pressure a training ground three-quarter move using Hooton as decoy created the space for Whittaker to put Buckley over in the corner. Tom Morton converted superbly from out wide.

Now in the ascendancy it seemed more scores would follow quickly and should have done but, as the powerful Matlock scrum was driving their counterparts back over their own try line, they were inexplicably penalised when the majority of onlookers were expecting a Matlock try or at least a penalty try.

A relieved Bakewell side gratefully cleared their lines and moments later the referee blew the half-time whistle with Matlock only 12-3 ahead.

Some sterling words at half time saw Matlock straight back on the attack and they extended their lead with a well struck penalty.

Another transgression by the visitors saw Tom Morton find a good touch in the Bakewell twenty two.

A strong catch and drive saw Matlock propelling their way to the line at great speed. Unable to stop this juggernaut of a drive Bakewell deliberately collapsed the maul and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try.

Matlock were now clearly in the driving seat but, after George Whittaker crossed for the fourth try, the sting was taken out of Matlock’s game when injuries to Bakewell’s front row resulted in uncontested scrums for the last quarter.

This not only removed one of Matlock’s major weapons but also allowed Bakewell’s back line to play off the front foot for the first time in the match.

To their credit both sides continued to strongly contest the contact area and two good tries followed. The first came from another rehearsed backs move which saw Whittaker glide through the gap and race away to score his second try of the match.

The last try was testament to Bakewell’s never say die attitude and saw their best running back Tom Crapper cruise through the Matlock line and race fully 60 metres to touch down in the score board corner.

Next week sees the top of the table clash as Matlock travel to Coalville for what will surely be one the most important games of the season.