Elks winning run continues
By Lee Jones
Elks made it 4 wins on the trot as they comfortably beat Matlock 36-5 and moved up to sixth in the table.
Very strong wind made running rugby extremely difficult but the Elks coped much better to run in six tries.
Numerous mistakes littered the opening minutes as the strength of the wind took both sides by surprise, Elks were first to settle and from an attacking line out Sam Humphreys took good ball and Joel Haigh attacked, the ball was recycled and Haigh put Steve Quinn through a gap to take play to 10 metres out, quick ball enabled Hugh Smith to find space on the right and he finished strongly to squeeze in the corner. Haigh missed the difficult conversion to make it 5-0 after 7 mins.
Matlock responded well down the hill and had a line out on the Elks 22, Humphreys stole the ball and Elks cleared, Haigh was next to steal the ball at a Matlock scrum and attacked through Quinn, the ball was recycled and moved right into midfield Greg Taylor made good ground and fed Tom Pottinger who crashed through under the posts, Haigh with the extras making it 12-0 after 22 mins.
Elks came straight back from the kick off with a thundering run from G Taylor, the ball was moved to Smith and the attack carried on, Elks kept the ball well and the pressure eventually told when Haigh broke right, he fed Smith who was stopped just short, Jake Lamb was at hand to pick up and crash over, Haigh missed the extras making it 17-0 after 28 mins.
Credit to Matlock who had their best spell of the half using their forward to keep ball and maul up field, Elks were penalised and Matlock kicked to the corner, they took good line out ball and a trade mark catch and drive was executed well to enable them to score in the right corner, extras missed making it 17-5 after 37 mins.
Elks were soon back on the attack through G Taylor and Smith but after recycling the ball it was knocked on bringing half time. 17-5
Matlock made the better start to the second half but Elks defence was strong with Matt McGuire and Humphreys tackling low and strong. Elks responded with an attack in the left corner but a forward pass halted the move.
Elks began to link some good phase together and had a period of pressure in the Matlock 22, Haigh picked from a scrum and was stopped just short, the ball came back to Keiran Lang who crashed over from short range, Haigh with the extras making it 24-5 after 48 mins.
Matlock responded well and combined with some poor discipline by the Elks at the breakdown had a good spell of territory and possession.
Elks defence was still strong and Matlock could not find a way through, after weathering the pressure Elks attacked themselves and scored the try of the match when G Taylor made a break and Dan Taylor came on a fantastic line and at such pace he burst through and looked likely to score, he slightly lost balance and unselfishly fed Andor Benyi to finish off a great move under the posts, Haigh with the extras making it 31-5 after 70 mins.
Elks dominated the final ten minutes most of which were spent in the Matlock 22, the final score went to Matt McGuire who deserved his reward for an excellent all round game, extras missed leaving the final score at 36-5.
Both sides deserve credit for an entertaining game despite the strong wind, Humphreys and McGuire were excellent in the forwards and the Taylor brothers shone in the backs with some superb running, however Man of the Match went to Greg Taylor who not only shone in the backs but put some massive defensive tackles in to break up many Matlock moves.
Next week sees a visit to Newark and the Elks will be looking to continue their winning run as the Xmas break approaches, kick off 2.15