Matlock on the wrong end of a league double

Matlock's John Statham in possession.
Matlock's John Statham in possession.

Matlock were leapfrogged into second place in Midlands 2 East (North) by Coalville after the visitors won 27-5 to complete the league double.

On the back of a convincing 74-0 victory over Spalding the previous week Matlock were looking for revenge for a disappointing defeat at Coalville earlier in the season, but they fell short of their usual standards.

Luke Howard moved to fullback in the absence of Alex Powell, Mike Gunter started on the wing, Jonny Bunting came back in at prop, Tom Morton started at scrum half and Tom Cruttenden, Rory Cookman and Dave Hartley were on the bench.

The first quarter of the match was played mostly in the Matlock half as the home side struggled to find continuity.

Coalville were eventually rewarded as they took the lead with a 23rd-minute converted try.

Matlock replied immediately from the kick-off and, after excellent play, Tom Wright broke clear 20 metres out to touch down.

The conversion attempt was wide to leave Matlock trailing 7-5.

The home side were having more territory, however, their usual fluency in handling and retaining possession through several phases was not as evident.

Coalville gained success at the breakdown area, winning a good amount of turnover ball that put them on the front foot and tested the Matlock defence.

The visitors were further rewarded for that area of dominance with a penalty and an unconverted try before half-time to lead 15-5 at the break.

In the second half Matlock paid the penalty for trying to play from too deep, rather than aiming for easier territorial gains.

They lost Charlie Jackson to concussion as the visitors remained in control for long periods.

However, the home side battled on and were unlucky not to score from a driving maul followed by a series of pick and drives that would have ignited an exciting quarter.

Coalville worked their way back up field and after Tom Cruttenden was unlucky to pick up a team yellow card, the visitors used the numerical and weight advantage to create an unconverted score from a driving maul off a lineout.

Trailing 20-5, Matlock were still in with an outside chance of rescuing something from the game.

But after an attack broke down, Coalville kicked from deep and hacked on. Dan Hooton was second best in the race to touch down and he tripped and brought down the Coalville player.

The referee awarded a penalty try and showed the unlucky Hooton a yellow card.

On Saturday Matlock are at Kesteven for a league fixture before they entertain Glossop on Wednesday, 15th March in the Derbyshire Cup, kick-off 7.30pm.