Three wins in a row for in-form Matlock

Ben Neville, Matlock RFC
Ben Neville, Matlock RFC

Market Rasen/Louth 1sts 20

Matlock 1sts 44

Matlock made the long journey to Lincolnshire on Saturday and came away with their third Midlands One East win in a row against this season’s newcomers Market Rasen, who they narrowly defeated earlier in the campaign.

Matlock welcomed back Neville, Packard, Young, Lane and Richardson, as well as Luke Crofts, making his first appearance of the season.

Within just one second of the kick-off, Matlock had given a penalty away.

This gave the hosts a chance to kick to the corner and take on the Matlock pack. They were unsuccessful this time, but it was a warning of things to come.

Matlock began to gradually make their way into the game and the forwards were setting solid platforms for the Matlock backs. From a scrum in their own half, Matlock spun the ball to Hartley, who fed Powell to glide through a gap and draw the last man for the speeding Packard to score under the post. Young converted.

Matlock built on this as Young added a penalty kick from 40 metres out following an encroachment at the breakdown. However, a soft sinbinning of Crofts helped Rasen to up their game and continue their game plan of kicking to the corner and driving, which they did successfully.

Shortly afterwards, some slack Matlock tackles enabled the Rasen forwards to break the game line, only to be thwarted inches from the line by an excellent Neville tackle. However, the ball was quickly recycled and Rasen scored in the corner.

Once back to the full 15 players, Matlock demonstrated they were by far the more creative side and worked their way upfield to be awarded a penalty, which Young nudged over. Matlock then scored their second try as Hartley broke through a tackle and offloaded to Neville to score. Young converted.

Two minutes into the second half, Matlock gave away a penalty for not releasing the tackler, which inevitably led to Rasen’s kick and drive game resulting in a third unconverted score.

Matlock bounced back and were able to spin the ball to Packard on the halfway line to drift past the covering defenders and score in the corner. Young converted.

Coach Alan Johnson freshened up the pack and introduced Statham for Ball but, not two minutes in, he was poleaxed by the referee in an accidental collision. Statham came off worse and Ball had to return to the fray.

James Young replaced Morton and Powell made way for Tom Hooton. Matlock were in the ascendancy and good driving work from Richardson, Cooper and Lane resulted in a field position for Young to slot over a drop goal. Matlock looked to have spurned an overlap opportunity. However, Twyford had other ideas and scooped up the ball, sprinting in under the posts.

Market Rasen came bouncing back and the Matlock defence held firm with Hooton and Crofts putting in big hits.

A penalty was awarded to Rasen and their determination not to be left pointless led to a kick, catch and drive and their fourth try bonus point.

Matlock had the last laugh as Packard scorched in for his first hat-trick of hopefully many more to come. Chris Young’s conversion was good, which meant a 100 per cent success rate. Man of the match was Scott Robinson for his bonecrunching tackles.

This weekend, Matlock entertain Bedford Athletic. It is vice-presidents’ day and kick off is at 3pm. Meanwhile, Wednesday, April 11, at 7.45pm, has been confirmed as the date and time of the Derbyshire Cup semi-final at home to Dronfield.