Johnson: hard work paid off

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mATLOCK RFC coach Alan Johnson was understandably satisfied by his side’s display on Saturday as the first team notched up their first Midlands One East points of the season, beating visitors Kettering 22-10.

Matlock had started the campaign with three straight defeats but Johnson said in last week’s Mercury that the win was just around the corner – and so it proved.

As far as the coach was concerned, the win came as a result of carrying on the signs of recovery shown in the latter stages of last week’s game, and the players executing the game plan effectively.

He said: “The forwards played a lot better from the off and we managed to get the first score too, which was the first time we’ve scored first this season, and it just clicked from there.

“We worked hard and it started to come right. Often, it’s as simple as players making the right decisions – and they did.

“The forwards, as a unit, were superb, led by James Cooper. James Noble was also back in there and that helped bolster the pack.

“The backs attacked well and, just as importantly, they were improved in defence too. They were organised and they did what they were supposed to do.

“It feels good to get the first win, because we’ve worked hard for it.

“They are some very good teams in this league. I think it will be much harder than last year so each win will have to be earned.”

Next up, this Saturday, is a trip to bottom club Spalding, thumped 99-7 by Bedford Athletic Bedford Athletic at the weekend.

“I presume they had a few missing for that one, because that’s like a 16-1 loss in football, it’s pretty rare.

“We need to be on our guard and approach it in the right way because the last thing we want is to lose to a team that conceded 90 points the previous week, so I want more of the same from us.”