3rd XV Reports
Matlock 3rd XV 5
Belper 2nd XV 5
In a League encounter last Saturday, Matlock’s thirds played hosts to local rivals Belper and the spoils were shared in an evenly balanced game. The Belper forwards dominated the first half, but Matlock's defence held firm for long periods, marshalled by the experienced Choc Lomas and with David Tate, Jim Mckinley and Will Fewkes also prominent. Matlock's young (ish!) backline were starved of possession throughout the opening period and only James Young and Ben Neville threatened sporadically, as the ball was kept upfront by the visitors. Eventually, Belper's forwards drove over to breach Matlock's rearguard towards half time to take a 5 point lead at the break, but Matlock with the wind at their backs in the second half, were confident that they could overcome this deficit.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, but this time it was Matlock that struggled to break down Belper's defences. Matlock tried to play the game in the right areas, but were often hindered by some last ditch Belper defending. But with the evergreen Andy Croft to the fore, notably threatening the Belper line whenever he got possession, Matlock’s equalizing score duly came midway through the second period. Following Lomas being held up inches short of the line, David Tate managed to force his way over for a try. Beeson narrowly missed the conversion and shortly afterwards, just failed with a penalty attempt brought about by incessant Matlock pressure.
As time elapsed, Matlock had other opportunities as the returning Hart attempted two drop goals in quick succession, but his efforts were wayward. Time ran out for the home team who will regret not taking all the points, but nevertheless, can also be proud of their stoic defence in the first half and a draw was a better return for the home team than a defeat against tough opposition.