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Lincoln 2nd XV 24
Matlock 2nd XV 7

As the glorious medieval architecture of Lincoln Cathedral cast its lengthening shadow over the Lindum Sports Ground on this crisp, late Autumnal afternoon, it looked down upon Matlock taking on their hosts last Saturday in this Second Team Pennant fixture.

Matlock could not contain the home team's well-drilled forwards and were deservedly beaten by 24 points to 7 in the end.

However, Matlock will take heart from the fact that they kept fighting until the bitter end and actually won the second half by 7 - 5.

Lincoln playing down the slope in the first half notched up three unanswered tries, as Matlock seemed dazzled by the sun reflecting from the looming stained-glass windows above.

Two came from rolling mauls, direct from line-outs and the other came when poor tackling from a restart allowed the home flank forward to surge untouched underneath the Matlock posts. Two of the tries were converted, making the score 19 - 0 at half-time.

After the break, Matlock had hopes of using the conditions in their favour to get back into the match, but were frustrated by a disjointed performance, interrupted all too often by the referee's whistle.

Midway through the second period, Lincoln broke free from the back of another line-out and again Matlock's poor tackling allowed the home team the opportunity to touch down for an unconverted try, increasing the lead to 24 points.

To their great credit, Matlock kept probing and eventually their pressure told when Tom Hooton scooted clear to touch down for a hard-earned consolation score. He converted his own try with the final kick of the game to give some respectability to the score-line.





Amber Valley 2nd XV 0

Matlock 2nd XV 59


Looking to bounce back from two consecutive defeats, Matlock travelled the short distance to Amber Valley for a friendly fixture.

Facing a team of only 13 players, Matlock took the home team apart at times, but really should have added more to their total and were frustrated by a combination of poor handling, the opposition and the referee on a number of occasions. 

Nevertheless, this convincing victory will help to rebuild confidence for some important upcoming Pennant fixtures.

It was all Matlock for the first half and they racked up 38 unanswered points, as their numerical superiority paid dividends and Amber Valley struggled to compete.

There were six tries scored by the visitors – Ian Shepherd with two, David Hart, Mark Evans, Tom Hooton and Ben Neville all crossing. Shepherd converted four.

Matlock should have added more points to their total, but on occasions looked to be trying too hard and the final pass did not quite go to hand, although it would be churlish to criticise their healthy half time lead. 

The second half did not flow quite as the first, as Matlock were frustrated by a number of factors.

Lending the opposition the marauding Danny Fletcher didn’t help and when the finely tuned hamstrings of Mark Evans – reminiscent of a Steinway Grand Piano – reached breaking point, the resulting uncontested scrums somewhat disrupted the pattern of the match.

As the penalty count against them increased, and Andy Shimwell was required to take a 10 minute spell on the sidelines for loitering with intent, Matlock came under real pressure for the first time, but managed to hold out without conceding.

They eventually broke free of Amber Valley’s shackles, to notch up three more good tries via Craig Wheeldon, Ben Neville and Richard Taylor.

Shepherd converted all three as Matlock took a comfortable enough 59 – 0 win.



Ashbourne 2nd XV 17

Matlock 2nd XV 5

From the sublime to the ridiculous in the space of a week, was this the same team that the previous week had beaten Burton seconds by 10 clear points?
It must be back to the drawing board for Matlock’s seconds after an abject display at Derbyshire rivals, Ashbourne.

The visitors were not at the races against a team that they have already beaten once this season, but the home team were worth their victory with a passionate performance which was in spite of one of their number being sent from the field of play.

Matlock simply did not compete in the first half as Ashbourne built up a comfortable 12 – 0 lead with two tries and a conversion. The visitors were starved of possession, as the home forwards dominated a strangely subdued Matlock side.

The frustration began to show on both sides after the break, with some inexplicable refereeing decisions adding to the air of confusion.

Ashbourne’s scrum half was sent off for use of the elbow, the magnanimous referee temporarily reduced Matlock to fourteen men for a sin-bin offence, but it was the home team that added to their tally, when their centre scrambled over near to the posts.

As the game wore on, Matlock started to come into it more as they finally got some ball to use, and Anthony Williams crossed for a smart try to close the gap to twelve points.

But it was too little, too late and Matlock could not get back into the match and did not deserve to, as Ashbourne took the win 17- 5.



Matlock 2nds 22

Burton 2nds   12



Matlock’s seconds played hosts to Staffordshire rivals Burton last week and produced another good performance against a strong team to take the victory.

The result looked in doubt right up until the last few moments of the game, when Matlock emerged from under the Burton cosh to break away and score a decisive late try and penalty.

Matlock should really have made the game safe prior to this point, as their first half showing had created them a 12 – 7 lead, but the home side took their eye off the ball somewhat and allowed their opponents the chance to come back into the match, as Matlock did not raise their own performance accordingly in the second half.

Matlock dominated the first half with some good, flowing rugby and worked their way over for two tries – the first came when Mark Evans wriggled his way over from at least 18 inches and the second followed when Dave Cooper was put into space after Matlock’s forwards had sucked in a number of defenders with a relentless assault on the Burton line. Ian Shepherd added one conversion.

Sandwiched in between the two Matlock scores, Burton managed to cross under the posts and with the simplest of conversions added, made the half-time score 12 – 7 to the home team.

The second half was a different story as the visitors raised the tempo and spent long periods entrenched deep in Matlock territory. Some resolute defending was required from the Matlock players and their tackling was immense with the omnipotent David Tate a particular thorn in Burton’s side all afternoon.

As time ticked on and with an equalising Burton score looking imminent, Peter Gailey managed to make a quick break out of defence to feed Ian Shepherd. He in turn found David Hart, who managed to elude the covering defenders and touched down for a relieving score. With Shepherd adding the conversion, Matlock had breathing space at 19 – 7.

Burton responded immediately with a try in the corner following a chip through, to narrow the gap to seven points, but Matlock had the last laugh, when Shepherd slotted home a penalty goal with virtually the last kick of the game to seal a splendid 22 – 12 victory for the hosts.




Matlock RFC 2nd XV 57

Spalding 2nd XV 0

Matlock’s seconds entertained a very young Spalding team last Saturday in their first Pennant fixture of the season and after an excellent, flowing performance ran out comfortable winners.

The score-line could have been even higher as time and again the home team discombobulated the visiting rearguard.
In the end Matlock had to be content with 11 tries, but only a solitary conversion – it seems that Matlock need some kicking practice!

It was one-way traffic throughout, as Matlock’s stronger outfit dominated from the word go and it was a thoroughly team performance too, as both backs and forwards combined superbly well.

In the first half, young winger Richard Taylor led the way with two scorching tries. David Ball, Ian Shepherd, Dave Cooper, Dave Tate and Tim Taylor, with his first ever try for Matlock, also crossed the line, with Tom Hooton adding a conversion.

Matlock added four more scores after the break, as they continued to dominate, but were frustrated at times by some sterling defensive work from Spalding and their own profligacy.

For the record, try-scorers in the second half were Dave Cooper, with two more to complete a well-deserved hat-trick, Ian Shepherd and David Hart.

To their credit, Spalding never gave up, but equally never looked like upsetting a Matlock team, whose increasingly confident performances see them improve by the week.



Matlock 2nd XV 5

Mellish 1st XV 12

Matlock’s second fifteen entertained Mellish at Cromford last Saturday and came close to causing an upset against a well organised side.
The visitors’ superior experience in key areas around the park was just enough to see off a determined performance from a young Matlock side.

Mellish underlined their capability in the first twenty minutes when they camped on Matlock’s line, but the home team held firm and eventually managed to clear their lines despite the pressure.

The game swung in Matlock’s favour as they started to dominate, but they were unable to get ahead, with two penalty attempts narrowly missing the target.

Against the run of play, Mellish broke away and crossed the Matlock line for a try that was enough to give them a 5 – 0 lead at half-time.

The second half was more disjointed, as both sets of forwards spoilt the others possession and neither team had a clean supply of ball to utilise.

Eventually, the visitors’ number 8 managed to exploit a lack of covering defenders to crash over under the posts and with the conversion, made the score 12 – 0.

With time running out for Matlock, they looked to throw the ball wide at every opportunity, with David Ball in particular making inroads.

The home team thought they had soon scored, when some wonderful handling saw Tom Hooton dive in at the corner, but the referee unbelievably decided that he had not grounded the ball properly and awarded a scrum to an equally incredulous Mellish team.

Matlock were not to be denied for long and after a quickly taken tap penalty, Hooton was again put clear and this time there was no doubt as he touched down for a consolation score, but time ran out as Matlock tried in vain to get back onto level terms.

However, Matlock can take heart from an excellent showing against a predominantly first fifteen, that last season had been playing at an equivalent level as the Matlock first team and this performance can now be built upon in the coming weeks.




Matlock 2nd XV 34

North Derbyshire 2nd XV 0

Matlock’s second fifteen entertained rivals North Derbyshire at Cromford last Saturday and saw a good team performance earn them a comfortable victory.

Racking up 6 unanswered tries, Matlock’s better mobility and quick handling saw off their lumbering opponents.

It took some time for Matlock to click into gear as the score remained at 0 – 0 for a good 15 minute period, but the play was all Matlock as they sought to break down the away team’s rearguard.

With the final pass often going astray, it seemed that a frustrating afternoon could be on the cards for the home team.

However, their total dominance was soon to see its reward with two tries before the break from Ady Wood and David Ball, one of which was converted by Tom Hooton.

Matlock were unlucky not to add any more points, but gathered momentum after the break and four further tries followed.

Richard Taylor crossed out wide following good handling, Eddie Bowness touched down and two more scores came for David Ball to complete an excellent hat-trick. David Hart added another conversion.

Matlock could not add any more points to the scoreline, despite the injection of some rare pace from Ian Shepherd, but they will be content enough with this solid showing as they look to build up steam coming into this season’s League fixtures.




Matlock 2nd XV 3

Derby 2nd XV 34

In particularly autumnal weather, Matlock’s seconds entertained an extremely strong and well organised Derby second fifteen last Saturday and were on the receiving end of a comprehensive defeat.

However, for much of the first period, the home team competed well with their opposition and went into the break at only 14 – 3 down and it could have been closer had they taken the chances that came their way.

As it was, the only reward for a sterling effort in the first half was a David Hart drop goal, following a period of concerted pressure on the Derby line.

Just before the break, Matlock were also held up over the line, when a try seemed a distinct possibility, which would have been a fair reflection on their competitive first half performance.

Derby’s points came from two converted tries after their hefty forwards had sucked in a number of the home team’s defenders and they exploited their advantage in numbers out wide.

As conditions deteriorated in the second half, Derby’s superior organisation and fitness levels started to show and the visitors notched up a further 20 unanswered points.

Matlock again held their own, but struggled to impose themselves and will now look to improve on this performance with a visit to North Derbyshire on Saturday.



Matlock 2nd XV 6

Ashbourne 2nd XV 5

Matlock’s second fifteen entertained a strong Ashbourne selection at a sweltering Cromford last Saturday and hung on for a hard-fought victory.
It was just about deserved on the overall balance of play and the young team’s sterling defensive performance augurs well for the forthcoming season.

Both teams struggled in the humid conditions, as the game at times descended into a turgid battle played out in the middle of the pitch with neither really gaining the upper hand.

Matlock’s first half display was slightly superior than the visitors’ and this was reflected in the half-time score of three points to nil, courtesy of a Seb Molyneux penalty kick.

Matlock should really have had more points on the board at the break, as they shaded the first half in terms of possession and territorial advantage, however the home team had to come to terms with the loss of skipper Simon Greer with a nasty looking eye injury, but replacement Ben Neville filled in manfully.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, but it was probably Ashbourne who shaded this part of the game.

Matlock defended resolutely throughout, but were breached by a forward drive as the visitors crossed for the only try of the game. Fortunately for the home team, the conversion was missed.

Credit to Matlock though for fighting their way back into the match, as a defeat looked on the cards with the score now 5 – 3 to Ashbourne.

The home team worked upfield once more, and Molyneux was on hand to convert his second penalty goal of the afternoon to edge Matlock back in front.

Chances were few and far between as time elapsed, although the outstanding Jason Molyneux saved Matlock’s blushes on two occasions with excellent try-saving tackles.

Matlock’s defence held firm for the remainder of the game and their triumph was completed by the narrowest of margins, six points to five at the final whistle.