U16s: Tigers 39-12 Matlock
Sunday 12th March 2017
Tigers U16s vs Matlock ... this season, Tigers have one won and drawn one against this steadily improving team and there were were some nerves before this late season fixture.
The match was played at the Tupton ground but the team went out in the Tigers strip.
The usual misfits and muppets who pass for parents were joined at the club house by Tigers’ first team lock, Aidan Leeming.
In the warm, early spring sun, Matlock kicked off. They gained possession and launched an early attack, which Tigers rapidly repelled. Penalty Tigers. From the 5 metre line out, Tigers attempted a driving maul but a penalty went Matlock’s way. Within moments, Jacob had ripped the ball back and grounded it over the line. The conversion was missed.
But still … 5-0 to Tigers within five minutes!
The restart was gathered by Adam who ran hard down the left wing, finally tackled off the field at the Matlock 10 metre line. Possession was quickly stolen back by Tigers who mauled the opposition back to 5-metres – whereupon Saul Hinchcliffe gathered the ball and thugged it over the line. Sam made the conversion and it was 12-0 to the home team.
So close! What looked like an excellent restart was caught mid field by Matlock but didn’t make the full ten metres. It was back for the scrum.
Confused play: Saul bolts from the back of the pack seemingly unaware that he wasn’t carrying the ball; the ball lost forward in a tackle; from the Matlock scrum, a determined attack down the blind right wing and a penalty at the home 22.
The visitors went for the corner but Tigers choked off the opposition and gained a penalty of their own.
Clearance was good but the following line-out was not thrown straight. No worries, Tigers turned over the scrum and a driving maul brought the home side back deep into the opposition half.
The ball went out wide but a shocking pass went straight to Matlock’s star turn, Danny, playing on the left wing. Tigers made amends and pinned Matlock in their own half with Jacob and others efficiently tackling Matlock runners into touch. Finally, turning the possession around, Jacob ran the ball home again. Sam converted to bring the score to 19-0.
Fumbles at the restart allowed Matlock’s much improved pack to start a driving maul and gain a scrum at the Tigers 22. It was now Matlock’s turn to hem Tigers into their own half. Tigers giving easy away penalties and wasting penalties and turnovers of their own. A brief counter attack on the left wing ended with Matlock scooping an unguarded ball from the floor. More scrappy play and an inconclusive Matlock penalty brought the game to half time.
Matlock possession from the restart was stolen by Tigers. But excellent scrummage allowed the visitors to win the ball back – Matlock’s number twelve made an excellent carry. A lack of support allowed Tigers win the ball back again but only at the loss of significant territory. Tigers scrum at their own 10 metres. Then Jacob ran the ball all the way back again! Matlock line out in their own half. They won that but Tigers efficiently shunted play over the touch-line.
Despite several changes of possession, Tigers again kept Matlock back in their own half. Even with some determined scrums, driving Tigers pack off the ball, there was little Matlock could do to break out. Finally, a penalty, tapped and run by Tigers set up another 5 metre attacking scrum. Saul did the honours - 24-0. The conversion fell short.
Almost immediately from the restart, Tigers’ Morgan Lewis gathered the ball from the ground and sprinted 60 metres to score again. 29-0.
A tricky conversion was missed.
The restart bounced out at the Tigers 22. A huge clearing kick and a messy counter attack brought the Tigers deep back into the Matlock half.
A brief exchange of scrums and Saul did the honours – a hat trick of hat tricks. Some feat.
Even without the conversion the score stood at a mighty 34-0.
But, as the game appeared to be drawing to its close, Matlock’s Danny, who had been efficiently marked for most of the game, finally broke free. Running running hard down the left wing, he shrugged off soft tackles as he went. An honour saving try. No conversion 34-5.
Waiting for a final whistle that never seemed to come, Tigers seemed to lose focus. Rob Watts was tackled out at the Matlock 10 metre line, Matlock passed the ball back out left, found Danny who promptly did it again! The try this time converted 34-12.
Extraordinarily, the game kept running just long enough for one last Tigers try – scored by Adam. The game ended 39-12.
It was muddy, it was scrappy and sloppy in places but the score line does not lie. It was a dominant performance. Matlock played well, all credit to them but, without question, Tigers end the season with the bragging rights.
Saul Hinchcliffe was man of the match but there was terrific play from Morgan, Jacob, Joe, Tristan … the list goes on.
Great game guys.
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