Saturday 9 March
Midlands Two East North
Newark 20 Matlock 29
A fine first league try for colt Toby Taylor was a highlight of Newark’s wind-swept contest against Matlock on Saturday.
When Taylor, a second-half substitute, shot through the visiting defence Newark had hopes of a positive result as Matlock only led 22-20.
However, Matlock grabbed a further converted try in the later stages and managed to fend off a late Newark rally.
Here rugby chairman Tim Barker reports on a blustery afternoon at Kelham Road…
Newark made first use of a very stiff breeze at Kelham Road against Matlock and as a result enjoyed territory although never really got enough points on the board to be comfortable.
After sustained pressure Matt Cox kicked a penalty after 10 minutes but it wasn’t until the 20th that returning scrum half Findlay Tweedie broke free and sprinted 15 metres to the line to give the home side an 8-0 lead.
Considering the strength of the wind this never felt enough but the problem was compounded when the influential Rory Williams received a yellow card for hands in a ruck.
The visitors took advantage and scored in the corner just before half-time so that Newark turned round just 8-5 up.
Things went from bad to worse when the Matlock scrum half picked off an interception on the halfway line soon after the re-start and ran in for a converted try to give them the lead for the first time 8-12.
The visitors were pressing hard and Newark were defending desperately to try and get back in the game and hands in a ruck by Kent Birch resulted in another yellow card and a penalty in front of the posts. Matlock converted it to make it 8 - 15.
Newark’s injury list got longer with a nasty looking knee injury to prop Jordan Hempstead forcing him to leave the field and be replaced by Lewis Himsworth.
The home side emptied their bench with Jaymie Duncan coming on in the back row and youngster Toby Taylor going onto the wing.
Newark dug in and kept pressing with Birch, named Newark’’s man-of-the-match, making some typically strong runs and were rewarded with an excellent individual try from Cox with 20 minutes to go and Newark were right back in the game at 13-15.
Again, the home side could not consolidate and Matlock went over for a converted try just 2 minutes later.
To their credit Newark threw everything at Matlock and the ball went wide to Taylor who still had plenty to do but he cut inside beating 2 defenders for his debut 1st XV try. Cox converted to make it 20-22 with 10 minutes to go.
Clearly the next score was going to be crucial but unfortunately for Newark it went to the visitors when their centre stepped through near to the posts for a converted try to make it 20-29.
The home side had 5 minutes to try and salvage a losing bonus point or a try bonus point (or both) but it wasn’t to be and the visitors held out.
Newark team v Matlock:
Hunter-Shaw; Moore, Tate, Birch, Overland; Cox, Tweedie; Hempstead, Chapple, Coulam, Williams, Matthysz, Brogden, Seage, Garland.
Subs: Himsworth, Duncan, Taylor.
Tries - Tweedie, Cox, Taylor.
Penalty goal: Cox.