League leaders Matlock batter Loughborough

Andy Carr is pictured in action for Matlock against Loughborough on Saturday. Photo by Colin Baker.
Andy Carr is pictured in action for Matlock against Loughborough on Saturday. Photo by Colin Baker.

Matlock produced a fine display to overcome Loughborough 48-3 at Cromford Meadows on Saturday and end the year in style.

Several changes were enforced with many Matlock players unavailable, but the hosts were soon into their stride , playing with pace and intensity.

Loughborough had to defend stoutly in the opening minutes to keep Matlock from crossing the line and with ten minutes gone the visitors then took the lead with a penalty kick against the run of play.

Within two minutes Matlock hit back with their first try, as Simon Wright ran the ball back. The ball was recycled and moved to Jack Ritchie who found Scott Robinson on his shoulder to break through two attempted tackles and score near the posts. Tom Morton added the extras.

Matlock’s pack were looking strong in both the set plays and in the loose and the backs were also looking sharp with ball in hand.

On 16 minutes Matlock extended their lead when Simon Wright crashed over for the second try and Morton again obliged with the conversion to make it 14-3.

With the forwards continuing to carry strongly this provided a great platform for the backs to attack with Nick Coombes making several strong runs and a brave Loughborough side were struggling to keep the home side at bay.

In the last ten minutes of the half Matlock scored two more tries from Lewis Richardson and Tristan Kawalek both following good build up and support play. Morton converted one of these to make the half time score 26-3.

The second-half began with Loughborough enjoying some rare possession and territory but this didn’t last long when only two minutes from the restart Chris Buckley intercepted in Matlock’s 22 before racing to half way and passing to the pacey George Whittaker to leave the defenders in his wake to score his first try. The conversion attempt was wide.

Ten minutes later Whittaker crossed for his second try after Wright picked up at the base of a scrum and Whittaker again showed the defenders a clean pair of heels. Morton added the extras again to take the score to 38-3.

A rampant Matlock finished off with two more tries. The first was a typical Matt Goodall try as he again showed his immense strength and deceptive pace to force his way over.

The second came following a scrum which Matlock won against the head. Wright picked up and drove forward and the quickly recycled ball was moved to Coombes who made a long miss pass for Kawalek to go over in the corner. Both conversion attempts were off target but a comfortable win was secure.