Wright brothers play starring role as Matlock gain revenge
Matlock gained revenge for a home defeat to high-flying Southwell by winning 31-5 in Nottinghamshire to go fourth in Midlands 2 East (North).
Matlock made several changes from the previous week for the trip to second-placed Southwell.
Within five minutes Matlock were on the scoreboard with a well-worked try.
Having won the ball on their own 10-metre line, Fairclough kicked long. Southwell attempted to counter, but Matlock chased well and forced a knock-on.
From the scrum on the 25-metre line Simon Wright fed Morton, who found Alex Powell hitting the line at pace.
Powell drew a defender and passed to Mike Allen, who was tackled close to the line but still passed for Tom Wright to dive over.
Fairclough converted from wide to make it 7-0.
Matlock then played the better rugby,but cold hands and a greasy ball meant both sides struggled to gain any territorial advantage for long periods.
Southwell missed a penalty and Matlock were frustrated by turnovers due to handling errors.
However, just before half-time the visitors extended their lead to 10-0 through Fairclough.
Tom Morton, who aggravated a groin injury , was replaced by Dave Hartley for his 250th first-team appearance.
The second half began evenly with Matlock looking the more dangerous with the ball in hand.
In contrast, Southwell used a pick-and-drive strategy to try to kick themselves into better positions.
As the weather worsened Matlock mounted a crucial series of attacks, gaining a penalty try to lead 17-0.
Southwell kicked to the corner and executed a good catch and drive to score in the corner. The conversion attempt went wide.
On 60 minutes Matlock added to their lead. A fine kick into space by Dave Hartley and a good chase resulted in a Southwell lineout on their own five-metre line.
The wind then got hold of the ball, which bobbled over the Southwell line and Tom Cruttenden was first to react and touch down. Fairclough again converted from wide to make it 24-5.
With Southwell struggling to make any headway against the wind and rain, and a determined Matlock defensive line, the away win seemed secure.
Matlock stuck to their game plan and in the last five minutes created a fine team score to seal the bonus-point victory.
Starting off in their own half, Matlock crashed the ball up the middle with strong carries from Tom Cruttenden, Chris Atkinson and the Wright twins to the fore. Southwell transgressed and Matlock kicked to touch in the Southwell 22.
From the lineout Matlock drove close to the line before Tom Wright went over for his second try. Fairclough kicked the conversion to complete the scoring.
OnSaturday Matlock entertain local rivals Derby in the Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire Cup, kick-off 2.15pm.
Derby are mid-table in National 3 Midlands, two leagues above Matlock.