Matlock RFC secure another victory on the road as hosts Ashby are beaten
Matlock’s penultimate league game of 2021 saw them run out 36-12 winners at Ashby on Saturday.
In poor conditions and with Matlock forced to shuffle their pack due to having several absentees, both sides struggled to gain any momentum in the game during the first half hour.
It was, however, Ashby who made the stronger start and scored an early opening try to put a lethargic Matlock 5-0 behind early on.
Matlock then began to start controlling the possession a little better and their first score soon followed.
A solid lineout drill created a maul that steamrolled the Ashby pack back over their own line with captain Luke Croft dotting down. The conversion was pulled just wide to leave the score all square at 5-5.
Matlock were now beginning to establish some pressure and control the ball much better and were much more physical upfront, most noticeably from young Ben Poyser and George Whittaker who were really taking the game to Ashby.
This soon led to Matlock’s second score of the game. Some good backs play led to an attack deep into the Ashby half which culminated with Ben Poyser crashing over the line. The conversion was good from Harry Morton leaving the score at 5-12.
Matlock’s next score was something only normally seen on a football pitch. George Whittaker charged a clearance kick down which left the ball on the floor only for him to follow up and dribble the ball through the Ashby defenders before a tackle forced him to lay off to Henri Packard who scored under the posts with the conversion putting Matlock 19-5 ahead.
Further aggressive running at the end of the half saw Poyser crash over for his second try leaving Matlock 5-24 up at half-time.
At half-time, Matlock's coaches explained how they wanted more control and to get back to the basics in order to put the game to bed.
In order to do this stalwart Tim Taylor was introduced alongside Mike Emmerson to add some much needed energy and power replacing Chris Atkinson and Curtis Bolam.
The impact from the bench was noticeable with Taylor making his trademark big hits and strong carries and Emmerson as energetic as ever ensuring good possession from both the breakdown and lineout.
Off the back of this Matlock remained in control of the game and despite Ashby pulling one back the visitors were able to score a couple more quick fire tries through Luke Howard and Ben Neville and seal the result for the travelling Matlock side.
To Ashby’s credit they kept going throughout and made Matlock work hard for this victory.
This was not Matlock’s prettiest of victories but in years gone by this may not have been the same result. The squad is really starting to live up to their potential and this good run of form is proof of that.
Next week Matlock play hosts to Coalville at Cromford Meadows and will be looking to finish the year on a high with a victory to keep them fighting near the top of the Midlands 2 East North league standings.
Kick off 2.15pm.