1st XV Reports
MATLOCK 1st XV 95
WEST BRIDGFORD 1st XV 0
On a cold, dank winter's afternoon with the morning frost only just out of the ground Matlock warmed the hearts of a good crowd at Cromford Meadows with a scintillating display of running rugby to totally overwhelm a disappointing Bridgford side.
Bridgford arrived late, appeared disorganised and after 15 minutes , by which time Matlock's opening salvo had brought 4 tries, clearly wished they had stayed in Nottingham. Even allowing for the paucity of the opposition Matlock were outstanding. Playing with great pace and ambition Matlock made light of the muddy conditions with forwards and backs showing power and imagination.
Ben Wragg opened Matlock's account in the very first minute finding a glaring hole in Bridgford's defence soon to be again exposed by Colts captain Dan Hooton. It was 62 -0 at half time with tries from high stepping James Atkinson and young hooker Ian Tweedie ( his first for the first team ) particularly memorable.
Could Matlock keep it up in the second half? - well not quite. Not surprisingly the home side tired and ,to be fair, Bridgford never gave up. It was nor until the introduction of replacements Simon Jones, Rob Turner and 21st birthday boy Rob Goodall that the try -fest regained momentum. Jones lead the way with two - one from the half way line - Lane was disappointed to have a try disallowed and deep into injury time Matlock brought their tally to 95. Could they score a century? Bridgford's kick off was run into the opposition's half, play continued through 5 or 6 phases only for Goodall to be hauled down just short of the line.
The only blot on a magnificent performance was a shoulder injury to stalwart forward Rob Turner. An X -ray has disclosed a break - a sad blow for Rob and an already depleted first team squad.
For the record tries came from Chris Young (2), Dan Hooton, Nick Newberry, Dave A Ball(2), Dave Hartley, Ben Wragg, Ian Tweedie, Dave M Ball, James Atkinson Simon Jones(2) and Mark Rollinson with Young adding 10 conversions.
Matlock RFC 1st XV 34
Glossop 1st XV 5
Matlock played host to Derbyshire rivals Glossop in the League last Saturday and comprehensively outplayed them in every department to record an excellent double over their rivals. Fearing revenge following an emphatic Matlock victory only a few weeks ago, there was no sign of any draconian reprisals as Matlock took Glossop apart from the word go. With their visitors contributing to the festive spirit, with some particularly ecumenical play gifting points to Matlock, the home team were rarely threatened.
A surprisingly comfortable first half for the home team saw them establish a healthy lead, as their opponents regularly conceded penalty goals for Chris Young to practise his kicking skills. This was also testament to the Matlock performance, as they never allowed their opponents any time to settle and they made light of the sticky conditions underfoot and the absence of R. Paul through injury. Young converted four of the chances that came his way, to build up a twelve point lead for Matlock and allied to their incessant pressure, tries eventually followed, coming from skipper Jonny Bunting and David Hartley. Young managed to convert one of these as Matlock went into the break 24 - 0 up.
The start of the second half saw Glossop shake off their Yuletide torpor as they kept the ball close to their large pack and attempted to batter their way back into contention. Eventually, their dogmatic approach paid dividends as a substitute forward crashed through the Matlock defence to cross for a try.However, it was mere consolation and proved to be Glossop’s only score of the game as Matlock closed out the game in fine style. Firstly, Young hit the crossbar with yet another penalty attempt, but Glossop then proceeded to kick the ball straight to winger Alex Powell, who made mincemeat of the opposition as he weaved his way to the line for a superb try.
Then, good forward pressure and quick handling from Matlock’s three-quarters saw the ball presented to Powell for an opportunity to cross for his second try and to seal the match at 34 points to 5 in favour of the hosts.
Matlock RFC 1st XV 26
Ilkeston RFC 1st XV 13
Matlock entertained local rivals Ilkeston in this top of the table League fixture last Saturday and emerged triumphant in a pulsating encounter. The home team’s excellent first half performance saw off their in-form opposition, as Matlock’s forwards in particular dominated from the word go, not allowing Ilkeston’s highly rated three-quarters the chance to cut loose. With the opposition starved of possession in the first half, the home team crossed for three good tries before the break, that saw them build up an insurmountable lead by half-time. Matlock’s touch-downs came from skipper Jonny Bunting after an excellent 40 metre rolling maul that Ilkeston just could not contend with, James Atkinson with a good supporting run after Ilkeston failed to clear their lines properly and Chris Young’s chip and chase to the corner. Young also converted one of these scores and added a penalty goal, to which Ilkeston responded with two penalties of their own to make the half-time score 20 - 6 in favour of the home team. With the hard work completed, Matlock eased off somewhat in the second half, allowing their opponents the chance to get back into the match. However, Ilkeston really didn’t take this opportunity with both hands and could only manage a solitary penalty goal, that Young cancelled out with another penalty and then he added a drop goal to complete his full house for the afternoon. At 26 - 6, Matlock could allow a late consolation score for their opponents, that was converted, but it was a reflection on Matlock’s overall dominance that they ended the match encamped on Ilkeston’s line, but unable to convert the pressure into any further points. In summary, an outstanding all-round performance from Matlock, that saw off their high-flying rivals who were second in the League before this encounter, but which also augurs well for another vital League fixture this weekend versus Glossop.
Glossop 1st XV 12
Matlock 1st XV 24
Last Saturday Matlock travelled over the winter wonderland of the Pennines to face local rivals Glossop in a top of the table clash. Glossop , unbeaten at home this season this season and renowned for their physical approach to the game, were expected to provide a stern test for a Matlock side missing key forwards Atkinson and Turner.
Matlock responded to the challenge magnificently and ,as a contest the game, was over after 30 minutes by which time Matlock were 21 points ahead. Although Chris Young , now reaching match fitness following a long injury layoff, was the name on the score sheet , this was a real 15 man effort.
Matlock were ahead within 5 minutes. Pete Wood , back after altitude training in Nepal, won the first of many Glossop scrums, Dave Hartley fed Young who "skinned " his man to dive over in the corner.A penalty and drop goal from Young gave Matlock a 11 point lead when a high tackle resulted in Chris Mease having to leave the field to be replaced by the versatile Richard Carnell.
Matlock then killed the game with two tries in quick succession. First Young showed his footballing skills by seizing on a Glossop mistake and dribbling the ball over the line for an individual effort and then Matlock scored their best try of the season. A kick form Alex Powell put Glossop under pressure , Matlock won the ball , moved it quickly and when Rob Goodall was stopped just short of the line Ben Wragg was on hand to feed skipper Jonny Bunting who crashed over to score.
Indiscipline prevented Matlock extending their lead before the interval and in the second period Matlock were content to kick for position constantly forcing Glossop to attack from deep. Glossop sought to drive through the forwards and were rewarded with two tries but Matlock were not to be denied. Poyser, Lane and Rollinson tackled tirelessly and injuries late in the game to Alan Johnson and Dave M Ball did not affect the Matlock effort with Spencer and Shepherd proving fine replacements.
With the win Matlock have consolidated their third place in the League and can look forward to future challenges with confidence.
Lincoln 1st XV 18
Matlock 1st XV 37
Matlock traveled to Lincoln seeking a much needed victory following two successive League defeats. Late team changes saw the evergreen Simon Croft come in at full back with Rob Goodall making a welcome return on the wing.
Initially it seemed that the pattern of previous weeks was to be repeated. Matlock enjoyed territorial advantage only to find themselves fall behind to two early penalties.
Flowing handling saw Alex Powell fly in for a try in the corner to reduce the deficit but Matlock fell further behind to a " wonder try " from Lincoln's Fijian winger.
It was then that the Matlock pack took control of the game. Skipper Jonny Bunting showed great confidence in his fellow forwards by repeatedly calling for scrums instead of penalty kicks. In the last minutes of the half the pressure told as Hartley and then Mease went over for unconverted tries. Would Matlock build on their 15 - 11 lead or, as had happened in previous weeks, would they tire and again let the game slip?
The first 5 minutes of the second half showed Matlock to be merciless mood . Time and again Lincoln were driven backwards. Mease claimed a push over try and Bunting himself tore through the defence to score between the posts. Wragg claimed the easy conversion.
Matlock relaxed and Lincoln hit back with a converted try in the corner. At 27 - 18 the home side were back in the game but Matlock were not to be denied . Lane , on for Mease , claimed the second push over try of the game and Atkinson's try in the dying minutes, ably assisted by Goodall, rounded off Matlock's best display of the season.
So Matlock's self belief has been restored. Some extremely stern tasks await them in the weeks to come but Matlock could haul themselves back into the promotion race.
Team ; Croft; Powell, Newberry, DA Ball, Goodall; Hartley, Wragg; Bunting, Townsend, DM Ball, Mosley ( Turner ), Atkinson: Poyser, Rollinson, Mease ( Lane).
Matlock 1st XV 8
promoted to Midlands 3 last season but, so far, unbeaten in the League proved
stiff opposition to the Matlock team still below full strength due to injuries
into the bright sunshine and against a strong breeze Matlock started well,
moving the ball wide along the backs, driving Grimsby back into their own 22 .
They were unlucky not to open the scoring when slick passing put Dave Cooper on
course for the corner. Only desperate tackling prevented the try.
forwards were providing good ball for the backs with sound scrummaging and line
out work and from another attack Cooper again almost scored but unfortunately
stepped into touch on his way to the line.
In the first
quarter of an hour Matlock had all the territorial advantage until, completely
against the run of play, the visitors scrum half picked up the ball from loose
play on the Grimsby 22 and raced unopposed to score near the posts.
Although the kick went wide the visitors started to grow on confidence
and put more pressure on the home team. Matlock started to lose some of their
composure and unforced errors crept into their play.
Chris Mease, this week at no 8, last week full back, took on the unaccustomed
role of goal kicker but was just wide with a penalty.
had to leave the field with a recurrence of a shoulder injury tobe replaced by
On the half
hour Mease was successful with a penalty for offside. Matlock still kept the ball moving and with scrum half Ben
Wragg distributing and kicking well they should have increased their score but
wayward passing prevented progress.
half time play was taken near the Matlock line and from a line out the Grimsby
fly half cross-kicked to the right winger who scored near the corner.
The full back added the conversion with a good kick.
Half time came with the score at 3-12.
restart Grimsby immediately took play into the Matlock half and only determined
defence prevented them increasing their lead. The home team now with the strong
wind at their backs kicked the ball down field and when the fullback failed to
clear Wragg picked up and made ground before passing to Mease who dived over for
a good try. In his effort to prevent Mease scoring the Grimsby fly half
sustained a suspected broken leg and play was held up for 70 minutes while an
ambulance was summoned.
eventually restarted Matlock were confident that they could overcome the
weakened opposition. This however
was not the case. The Grimsby scrum
half moved to fly half and had an inspired last half hour. The visitors increased the pace and it was Matlock who were
under pressure, only relieving kicks from Alan Johnson and Dan Hooton kept the
line in tact. Grimsby were awarded
a penalty in front of the posts which was duly despatched by the full back
making the score 15 – 8.
there way down field and were rewarded with three penalties.
Two kicks at goal were missed, one hitting the upright and the third
taken quickly was turned over, coming to nought.
Play was scrappy and although the Grimsby lock was sin-binned for
persistently killing the ball Matlock were unable to press home their advantage.
The Grimsby full back completed the scoring with a penalty conceded in
front of the posts.
This was a very disappointing result for Matlock who started off so well but were unable to put together any sustained pressure and too many unforced errors frustrated their efforts.
Paviors 1st XV 36
1st XV 3
was always going to find the trip to top of the table Paviors difficult but a
series of injuries and absences increased the problems.
Only supreme effort and outstanding tackling avoided a route and kept the
score down to reasonable level.
team that took the field bore little resemblance to that defeated by Bedworth
last week but the players who came in at short notice acquitted themselves well.
Injuries to two key players during the course of the match increased the
dark and overcast conditions Matlock absorbed early pressure from the kick off
but fullback Chris Mease cleared his line with sound kicking.
After 10 minutes, from a penalty given for offside, Paviors moved the
ball quickly and, with their speedy full back in the line creating the overlap
for the winger to score in the corner. The conversion attempt went wide.
afterwards Paul Lane had to leave the field when a cut over his eye received
last week reopened. Peter Gailey came onto the flank with Mark Rollinson moving
to no 8.
forced their way into the home half and were rewarded with two penalties in
front of the posts the second of which fly half Dave Hartley converted to make
the score 5-3.
height and weight in the forwards Matlock competed well in the line outs but
struggled in the scrums. Matlock
were unable to make good use of the meagre supply of ball and a lack of
invention saw what few opportunities they had squandered.
was scrappy, sweeping from end to end but after 35 minutes Paviors were awarded
a penalty which they kicked into the corner.
They won the lineout and proceeded to spread the ball wide two and fro
but superb defence by the Matlock team prevented them crossing the line.
after two further penalties was the Paviors scrum half able to worm his way over
to ground the ball. The no 10 was
wide with the kick.
time arrived with score at 10 – 3.
the start of the second period the home team immediately increased their lead
when the no 8 picked up from the base of a scrum on the half way line and burst
through the Matlock defence to score under the posts. The kick went over and the
score was 17 – 3.
was increased on Matlock when lock James Atkinson dislocated his thumb and had
to leave the field. This allowed
young Dan Hooton to come on as replacement to make his first team debut on the
right wing. Jim Townsend who had
been in that unaccustomed position moved into the pack with some relief.
misfortune prompted Matlock to increase their effort and they drove the home
team back into their own half and were unfortunate not to score when James
Cooper was held up over the line.
became evident that the power and experience of the home team was starting to
tell and although the full back was brought down near the Matlock line after a
good run, from the ensuing scrum the ball went wide for the winger to score and
run round under the posts giving the fly half an easy conversion.
legs and shattered bodies could not prevent Paviors from crossing for two
further tries, one converted, before the referee mercifully brought an end to
the proceedings with the final score at 36 – 3.
Intermediate Cup 1st Round
Bedworth 1st XV 13
Matlock 1st XV 8
travelled to Bedworth near Coventry for this first round match in the
Intermediate Cup. Enforced changes
due to injuries brought Dave Hartley into fly half, Mark Rollinson moving to
centre and a first team debut for James Bance on the right wing.
currently languishing at the bottom of Midlands 3 West (South) without a win so
far this season should not have presented too much of a problem to Matlock but
the visitors contrived to lose this match with a lacklustre performance
eventually giving away a silly try in the final minutes.
kicked off in bright sunshine into a strong breeze and were soon on the attack.
They were awarded a penalty for offside but Bance was wide with the kick.
Bedworth’s big aggressive pack of forwards drove play back into the
Matlock half but sound tackling and good defensive kicking from Alan Johnson at
full back kept them at bay. Matlock
missed another penalty before they were penalised for offside.
The Bedworth fly half put them ahead with the kick from 23metres.
was fairly even until a great driving run by Rob Poyser took play up to the home
22 where Bedworth conceded another penalty in front off the posts.
Unfortunately Bance was having great difficulty kicking into the wind and
his kick was again wide. Matlock
eventually got on to the score sheet after 30 minutes when David M Ball charged
down a defensive kick and was driven over the line for a good try in the corner.
Half time came with the score at 3-5.
opened the second half more determinedly and were rewarded when the Bedworth no
6 was penalised for killing the ball. James
Bance at last found his kicking boots and slotted the ball over from 40 metres.
the game there had been several off the ball incidents which went unnoticed by
the referee. A scuffle broke out on the touchline and the Bedworth no 8
and Alan Johnson were shown the yellow card and given ten minutes to put their
now playing with more confidence, moved into the full back position and
immediately cleared the line with a superb relieving kick.
way into the half Matlock gave away a penalty for a high tackle.
Bedworth kicked for the corner and from the lineout drove the ball over
for a try which made the scores even at 8 apiece.
the rain now falling the home team stepped up the pressure and only excellent
tackling, particularly from James Cooper, kept the Matlock line in tact.
side were able to provide any scoring opportunities until a few minutes from the
end. Bedworth put up a tentative kick into the Matlock 22 which
the reinstated Johnson collected. With
the options of kicking for touch or passing it out to the unmarked Alex Powell,
who had had few opportunities to show his pace in the match, the full back chose
to run at the approaching Bedworth player who dispossessed him to put their no
10 in for an unchallenged try. The conversion attempt failed and the final score
was 13 points to 8 to the home team.
This was a disappointing match with many niggling incidents and one which Matlock will chose to forget in a hurry.
Matlock 1st XV31
Belgrave 1st XV14
entertained Belgrave for the first home league game of the season.
Renowned for their powerful pack and strong driving style of play the
visitors promised stern opposition for a Matlock team making four changes from
last week’s winning combination. The
Coopers, James and Dave, returned at flanker and right wing respectively.
Dave Hartley came in at outside centre and Rob Turner reverted to second
row for Rob Poyser, out with a virus.
took an early lead when the visitors were penalised for offside.
Chris Young kicked the points. Belgrave
retaliated and drove Matlock downfield and a couple of missed tackles enabled
them to cross the try line only for the ball to be held up by some last ditch
defence. From the ensuing scrum the
visitors again drove the Matlock pack over the line only for the try to be
disallowed for a double movement.
frantic period of play, littered with mistakes from both sides, saw play moving
from end to end.
were awarded a penalty for an incident which saw the Belgrave no 6 sin-binned
for dissent. Young’s kick hit the
big forwards drove play back into the Matlock half but good defensive kicking
from Young and Hartley relieved the pressure on several occasions.
Cooper broke away kicking downfield and Matlock were able to increase their lead
when Belgrave gave away a penalty for obstruction, Young converting.
moved the ball out to the backs and created two certain scoring opportunities
only for the final pass to go astray. Eventually
the ball was moved from the right to left for Alex Powell to go over for a good
try in the corner. Chris Young
converted with a superb kick from the touchline to make the half time score 13
opened the second half strongly with the forwards, countering the weight deficit
with good technique, competing well in the scrums and Paul Lane and R. Paul were
prominent in the lineouts.
had little success with their back play despite their efforts to spin the ball
wide but a dropped high ball gave them a scoring chance with a scrum near the
home line. Matlock won the ball but failed to clear their line and
conceded a penalty which the visiting fly half kicked easily.
came back with a try in the corner from a forward drive claimed by skipper Jonny
Bunting making the score 18-3. Young
was short with the kick.
penalties were conceded in a short space of time, two to Belgrave and one to
Matlock to make the score 21-9 going into the last 10 minutes.
great try was scored by Dave Cooper in the corner following breaks by Young and
Hartley. Young was wide with the conversion attempt.
visitors, not yet beaten, took play back to the Matlock line and from a series
of tap penalties their tight head prop crashed through the home defence for a
try which was unconverted.
the dying moments Chris Young crowned an excellent performance with a superb
solo try, beating the opposing backs for pace to score in the corner. His kick
went narrowly wide.
This was a thoroughly deserved victory, the margin of which could have been greater had the many scoring chances created been taken, but the season is young and greater attention to detail will be needed for future fixtures.
MELLISH 1st XV 3
MATLOCK 1 st XV 29
made an encouraging start to their League season with an away win at Mellish,
scoring three goals, one try and a penalty against one penalty from the home
a much-changed side, with youngsters Alex Powell and Michael Williamson on the
wings and Chris Young at outside half, Matlock took the lead in the first two
minutes from a Young penalty.
sides looked a little rusty after the summer break but Matlock started to
apply pressure and ten minutes into the half increased their lead with a super
try from Alex Powell. From a scrum
just inside the home territory on the right the ball was spun out along the
backs to Powell who mesmerised the Mellish defence with a mazy run at great pace
to score near the posts. Young duly
regrouped and forced their way into the Matlock half.
The visitors conceded a penalty for crossing which the fly half kicked,
in off the post.
strong Mellish forwards, helped by some wayward throwing in, dominated the line
outs, but the Matlock pack, despite their lack of size held their own in the
was fairly even for the next period of play although Matlock tended to kick good
possession away on too many occasions and the odd delayed pass saw several
scoring opportunities missed.
great bullocking run from James Atkinson took play from the Matlock 22 into the
Mellish half almost resulting in a try. From the resulting set pieces the
visitors pressurised the home try line only to be kept out by strong defence.
inevitable try came when Ben Wragg took a quick tap penalty and ball was worked
out to the right. The evergreen Nick Newberry was on hand to scoop up the lose
ball and force his way over in the corner. Young narrowly missed the conversion
and the half time came with the score at 15 – 3.
started the second half well but the Matlock defence was sound.
Chris Young, relishing his new position at fly half relieved the pressure
with some excellent long line kicking.
Skipper and new Dad Jonny Bunting ( Katy Abigail arrived that morning - well done JB and Mum) replaced the ageless Rob Turner in the front row and he and fellow prop David M Ball drove the visitors into the Mellish half, both nearly making it to the line.
sustained pressure Chris Young showed his attacking qualities by scything
through the home defence for a great try under the posts, which he easily
the ensuing kick off Young collected and again put up a high relieving kick
which the Mellish fullback and winger proceed to drop between them.
The number 10, following up at speed was able to scoop up the ball
one-handed and sprint, unopposed, under the posts.
He added the conversion making his total points tally for the match a
home team battled to the end but were unable to improve on their score.
Matlock 1st XV 27
Lutterworth 1st XV 26
Matlock entertained Leicestershire rivals Lutterworth in a friendly fixture on Saturday and performed just well enough to prevail by the narrowest of margins against strong opponents.
The warm-up game was played out over a number of periods to try to provide the respective coaches with the opportunity to have a look at their full squads for the forthcoming League campaigns. Matlock’s Chris Loeber would have been happy with what he saw for long periods of the game, but will also be aware that there certainly exists room for improvement in certain areas too.
Matlock looked lively throughout against a large, well-drilled team with Alex Powell in particular in excellent form and he was on hand to score a couple of tries.
Matlock’s other points came from Chris Young and Mark Rollinson tries, with Young adding two conversions and a penalty to the total.
Matlock seemed to relax having built up a 27 - 12 lead and allowed Lutterworth the opportunity to fight their way back into the match, but eventually the home team had enough points in the bag to win by 27 points to 26.
Matlock will now look to step up a gear as they travel to face Mellish in their first League fixture on Saturday.