Matlock RFC 1sts 20
MATLOCK moved into fifth place in Midlands One East on Saturday with their fifth win in a row to complete a superb week that also saw them book their place in the Derbyshire Cup final.
With Towcester being one of only two teams to beat Matlock at home this season, and lying one place above them in the league, there was much for the team from the Meadows to gain from their trip down the M1.
On a pitch that sloped severely into one corner and with a wind blowing that way too, it was obvious from the outset that, whichever team played these conditions, the best would easily come out on top.
The first half was fairly even with Matlock playing some good phases, and Towcester defence matching them.
With the conditions favouring the home side in the first half, from a centre field scrum the Towcester number eight picked up and offloaded to his centre, who made a scything break through the Matlock defence, leading to a try in the corner.
Whittaker made a valiant effort to tackle the scorer into touch but injured himself in the process, leading to Lane coming on in the back row.
The conversion was missed and a further score five minutes later from a good rolling maul left Matlock ten points down.
Several late surges into the Towcester half led to Chris Young having a couple of drop goal attempts, both sailing wide.
The kicking game was misfiring, but Matlock didn’t panic, going into the break, knowing they would have the favourable conditions in the second half.
Matlock began to enjoy a lot more possession and territory with both Young brothers punting the ball well into the sloping corner.
With territory came points, in the form of a break in the opposition’s 22 from James Young, subsequently offloading a very flat pass for Turner to score.
The conversion was slotted over and a penalty five minutes later meant the scores were levelled.
Matlock’s pack for the day although slightly unorthodox, with stalwart prop David Ball playing in the second row and Noble, starting at number eight, had the better of their opposition.
Twyford and Noble disrupted lineouts all game while good play in the tight from Ball, Statham, and substitute Bunting, led to Jonny Bunting burrowing over to give Matlock a five-point lead.
With a solid catch and drive from the kick-off, again the away side found themselves attacking in the 22.
After several phases of good handling, it was left for Ash Statham to draw the defender and give a perfectly timed pass for centre Turner to score in the corner, making it 20-10.
Knowing if they kept the lead Matlock would jump above Towcester to fifth, they defended resiliently to put the game to bed, and so the superb late-season run of form goes on.