Matlock welcomed old rivals Newark to Cromford Meadows but that is where the pleasantaries ended as the hosts ran out 47-15 winners.
Following the previous week’s disappointing result Matlock had worked hard on the training pitch and were clearly fired up for this league clash against a side who defeated them twice last season.
A couple of squad changes saw Mike Allen come into the centre for the injured Ben Neville. Alex Powell started on the wing and young Ollie Beesley came onto the bench alongside James Harrod and Josh Dixey.
Matlock began the game playing with great pace and intensity putting Newark immediately on the back foot.
They were rewarded with an early score. About 40 yards out Young went to the blind and through a long miss pass to Hooton who made good ground before Newark scrambled the ball out. Matlock took a quick line out and the ball was quickly moved to Powell on the overlap to race over in the corner. Morton was successful with the conversion from out wide for a 7-0 lead.
The second came when Young again broke blind finding Atkinson in support who showed great timing on the pass to send Tom Wright scampering over in the corner. Morton’s conversion attempt fell short, 12-0. All the good work was finally rewarded on 17 minutes following some great work by the pack Young made another telling break and was stopped five metres out.
Hooton in close support picked up and drove over for the try. Morton added the extras 19-0. On the half hour Matlock scored the bonus point try.
Matlock had a line out on the Newark 22, the drive was pulled down by the Newark pack but the referee played good advantage as Matlock still had the ball. The ball was passed to Dan Hooton picking a good line and then quickly recycled to Young whose superb long miss pass found Powell again on the overlap to race over in the corner and cleverly evade the defender over the line to go round under the posts. Morton added the conversion 26-0.
A quick tap penalty caught Matlock on the hop and Newark touched down in the corner. The conversion was missed 26-5.
In the second half, quick thinking Simon Wright took a quick throw which saw Fairclough side step his way over the line. Morton added the conversion 33-5.
Matlock were then guilty of relaxing and began giving away unnecessary penalties giving Newark better field position. A quick tap again saw Newark in for a score.
A rather aggrieved Matlock hit straight back through Mike Allen who burst through the Newark defence after good ball off a line out. Morton again added the extras 40-10.
Newark hit back again with another unconverted try before Matlock ended the game with their seventh try of the match when Atkinson touched down following a period of intense pressure on the Newark line. Morton again converted making the final score 47-15.
This was a great team performance, setting the standard for the challenges to follow.
Matlock: Wright T, Loughnane C, Statham A, Taylor T, Atkinson C, Cruttenden T, Statham J, Wright S, Morton T, Young J, Howard L, Allen M, Hooton D, Powell A, Fairclough J. Bench: Harrod J, Beesley O, Dixey J
Next week Matlock play at home to Leek in the Intermediate Cup first round. Check website for kick off time.
Elsewhere, Matlock II lost 33-32 to Newark II and Matlock III lost 52-10 to Creswell’s first string.