Matlock RFC 18
The sun was shining for this tough encounter with local rivals Paviors, and Matlock were looking for their first win and points of the season, boosted by the return of vice-captain James Cooper.
Matlock kicked off with a trademark hanging kick from fly-half Chris Young, which was dropped backwards by the Pavs second row, but Pavs gathered and an infringement by Matlock led to a penalty which put them into the Matlock half. Another penalty followed and was taken quickly, catching Matlock off guard, resulting in Pavs making the gain line before finally crossing the try line from quick hands out wide.
The rest of the first half carried on in the same fashion with Pavs generating quick ball, phase after phase.
Matlock at times defended well, with the back row of Coombes, Shooter and Cooper leading the charge.
However, a number of silly penalties conceded allowed Pavs to kick to the corner, which led to scoring drive by the larger Pavs pack. The conversion was again unsuccessful.
Matlock gained a scrum following the kick-off, which was driven forward, allowing scrum-half Tom Hooton to make a half-break, then offloaded to Shooter, who passed to captain Ben Neville, but the final pass just couldn’t find a supporting hand.
A Pavs infringement led to Matlock being awarded a penalty well within range for Chris Young to slot over, leading to three points.
Matlock then had their best play of the half. A penalty taken quickly got Matlock on the front foot and camped on the Pavs line, unable to break down the defence the ball was moved quickly wide to wing Henri Packard who went over for Matlock’s first try.
At 15-8, Matlock were well in the game, and looked to score again. However, a scrappy mistake gifted Pavs another try just before half-time.
The start of the second half seemed better, until a loose ball at a lineout let Pavs clear their lines, which was followed by Matlock mistake, allowing avs to re-gather the ball and run in for an easy converted try.
Another bright phase of play by the Matlock pack was soon forgotten as yet another mistake was punished by Pavs, scoring another converted try to make it 32-8.
Matlock were angry and frustrated and raised their aggression to take the game to Pavs.
Cooper picked up from a scrum and made 20 metres, which was continued on with numerous drives by Matt Goodall. Finally Ash Statham got his hands on the ball and there was no stopping him within yards of the line, leading to a well-earned try.
Matlock were the better side for a while. Chris Young stole the ball and released Packard who kicked ahead but was taken out late. The penalty was kicked to the corner, Matlock drove Pavs over the line for what seeemed a try, only for it not to be awarded and a knock-on decision was given.
Frustration got the better of Matlock and the referee gave Pavs a penalty for back chat. Pavs cleared their lines, and with time nearly up finished the stronger of the two with a number of scrums, finaly leading to quick hands in the backs and Pavs having the final say with another try.
The final score of 39-18 was slightly flattering to Pavs in what was a much-improved team performance from the past two games. Matlock man of the match was James Cooper.