Matlock RFC begin 2022 with hard-fought win at Lincoln
Matlock travelled to Lincoln for the first game of 2022, coming away with a hard-fought 24-21 victory against well-organised and committed opposition
It is always a fine achievement to win away at Lincoln but even more so this year after a challenging week with the disruption of training due to snow and late withdrawals due to Covid, eight players unavailable in total due to illness and injury.
Both teams from the off tried to move the ball and despite Lincoln having the better of the opening exchanges, Matlock took the lead on ten minutes from their first foray into the Lincoln half when Sam Ball made the most of a bouncing ball to make an excellent break before passing inside to Harry Boyd who opened the scoring. Ollie Prince kicked the conversion and Matlock led 7-0.
During the next 20 minutes Matlock had more possession and following a number of penalties forced Lincoln to collapse a maul five from their own line leading to one of the Lincoln pack spending ten minutes in the bin.
From the resulting penalty Matlock opted to scrummage and seemingly were about to score before another penalty was awarded, strangely not resulting in a penalty try.
Despite this Matlock did add to their lead shortly after when Henri Packard exchanged passes with the ever lively Luke Howard to score and make it 12-0 with ten minutes to half time.
Lincoln had the better of the last throws of the half and they scored a well worked try of their own, superbly converted to bring the score to 12-7 in Matlock’s favour at the break.
Despite a positive start to the half from Lincoln who almost scored directly from the kick off, Matlock scored first when John Statham found himself at the back of a driving maul to make the score 17-7.
However, Matlock simply couldn’t shake Lincoln off and having gifted them possession found themselves conceding themselves shortly after which was again converted to reduce the arrears to three points.
However, Matlock then scored again through a carbon copy of their previous try with Statham again scoring from a maul. Ollie Prince was successful with the conversion and Matlock went into the last 15 minutes leading 24-14.
Lincoln though had other ideas and again threw everything at Matlock, aided by some poor discipline from the visitors who had both Simon Wright and Curtis Bolam sin binned in quick succession with 15 minutes to go.
With the two man advantage Lincoln did manage to score another converted try which led to a tense last ten minutes and some resolute defence and with a short penalty advantage right at the death the visitors saw the game out to win 24-21.
Lincoln deserve huge credit for their performance and may look back and think they had enough possession and territory to win the game, however, Matlock were also extremely clinical in the chances they did create and with the number of enforced changes will be delighted with this win.
Next weekend sees league leaders Long Eaton come to Cromford for what promises to be an exciting game between two of the league’s top three teams.