Matlock are relegated after Ilkeston defeat

Elliot Boam (with ball) looks to get in on the action against Ilkeston.
Elliot Boam (with ball) looks to get in on the action against Ilkeston.

Ilkeston 45 Matlock 7

Matlock’s time in Midlands One East came to an end on Saturday as defeat at Ilkeston confirmed relegation.

Ilkeston started strongly and took the lead with an unconverted try within minutes.

A depleted Matlock side reacted well and despite lacking their usual continuity soon found themselves in front. The ball was recycled quickly on the Ilkeston ten metre line and was shipped to Tom Hooton who timed his pass perfectly to Henri Packard who showed his opposite number a clean pair of heels to touch down in the corner. Tom Morton converted brilliantly from out wide to give the visitors a 5-7 lead.

That was short-lived as Ilkeston again took advantage of Matlock’s misfortunes to score two more tries and a couple of penalties before half-time.

In fact they could have been further ahead but for several crucial try-saving tackles by Tom Hooton whose positioning sense was impeccable and his safe hands and clever return kicks pushed Ilkeston back on a number of occasions.

Despite the effort put in by the whole team Matlock struggled to get any consistency in attack in the second-half and visibly tired, a buoyant Ilkeston side running in several more scores before the final whistle brought Matlock’s tenure in Midlands One East to an end.

Team manager Tony Hooton said: “We’ve had a torrid time with injuries and players moving away. The squad depth has been severely tested but on the bright side the injuries and unavailability of many first choice players has brought opportunities to others to force their way into serious contention.

“We have one more league match and the Derbyshire Cup to look forward to so the lads will be looking to finish well.

“After that the squad will have a short break before training starts for the 2014-15 season as we look to bounce back up.”

On Saturday Matlock are at home to Kettering, kick off 3pm.