Matlock 1st XV 20 Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV 13
In a scrappy error-strewn encounter where neither side appeared to be at their best, Matlock snatched a dramatic win in the dying seconds.
The early stages of the game belonged to Matlock, the boot of fly half Chris Young keeping Rasen pinned in their own territory.
With 16 minutes gone Rasen were adjudged to have collapsed a scrum and a quick Matlock tap penalty was impeded costing the red and greens a further 10 metres. Chris Young took full advantage of this and slotted the kick to open the scoring.
Matlock continued with their kicking game, but an over-enthusiastic chaser was caught offside in front of the kicker to present full back Meehal Grint with his first kick at goal. The kick missed the target, but moments later number eight Dave Starling was taken out by a clumsy challenge from lock Adam Twyford and Grint was given another penalty chance. This time the kicker made no mistake and the two sides were level.
Matlock lost lock Tim Taylor for ten minutes, but managed to sneak back into the lead with another Chris Young penalty after Rasen were penalised for crossing.
As in previous weeks, Rasen were determined to punish the opposition for their yellow card and were awarded a penalty as the Matlock front row stood up under the pressure. The penalty was drilled to touch to create the position for the deadly red and green catch and drive. The Rasen forwards made no mistake as hooker Will Oliver set the juggernaut in motion with his precision throw and then finished off the move as his comrades drove him over the line. Grint added the conversion with the last kick of the half to put his side 10-6 ahead.
The score remained the same as the game entered the final quarter in fading light. Scrum half James Young’s yellow card presented Grint with another penalty chance, which he gratefully accepted to extend the Rasen lead.
However, this was the catalyst for a Matlock resurgence as they laid siege to the Rasen line.
The red and green line held firm, but was creaking and conceding penalties at an alarming rate. Inevitably the referee’s patience threshold was breached and Dave Starling received a team yellow card for persistent infringement. Matlock opted for the scrum and drove home their advantage as the Rasen scrum collapsed and the referee awarded a penalty try under the posts, giving Chris Young an easy conversion to bring his side level.
A minute later the referee was reaching into his pocket again for the yellow card, this time dispatching prop Chris Starling and fly half Chris Young to the touchline to play no further part in the game. Rasen had been awarded the penalty, but Grint’s attempt at goal dropped short as Matlock bravely decided to run the ball from their own line, instead of opting for the safety kick.
With time ebbing away James Young turned from villain to hero as he spotted a gap and dived over the line before converting his try to bring the game to a dramatic close.
Credit to Matlock who took the decision to keep the ball alive and gained the ultimate reward for their enterprise.
Next week, Grimsby travel to Willingham Road for a Lincolnshire Cup game with a 2pm kick-off.