Ashbourne rule in second half
ASHBOURNE took control in the second half to overtake Matlock in the Midlands Two East (North) table.
Matlock led 19-15 at half-time but Ashbourne had all the answers after the break.
Tim Taylor touched down to give the visitors the lead but they were then reduced to 14 men when captain Simon Wright was sent to the sin bin and Ashbourne took advantage.
Rob Farr did the hard work and broke through the Matlock defence before offloading to Linesh Sriparam on his shoulder, who crossed the line with ease.
Farr converted the try and also kicked a penalty in the first half.
The home side were in the driving seat as Matlock struggled to deal with multiple strong runs from Charles Austin and he crossed the line for his first try in the Ashbourne first XV.
Matlock responded almost immediately, however, as sloppy defence at the ruck allowed them to break through and score under the posts.
At the end of the first half, Matlock again applied pressure on the scrum and the referee awarded them a penalty try for a 19-15 half-time lead.
Ashbourne started the second half well and the ball was shipped out to the right where Ollie Ruddock went over for an easy try in the corner.
The conversion was missed so Ashbourne’s lead was 20-19 but they soon extended it.
Ashbourne’s pack returned the pressure which was put on them earlier in the game and they bundled across the line after a strong rolling maul.
It would need an action reply to determine who actually touched down, a joint effort from Mark Maznenko and Lewis Robinson getting the credit.
Matlock applied a lot of pressure in the final 15 minutes but Ashbourne’s defence was immaculate to secure the 25-19 win.
“It was always going to be a hardfought game,” said Ruddock.
“Before the game they were third and we were fifth so we have leapfrogged them.
“There’s nothing sweeter than beating our local rivals, everyone wanted the win and that showed.
“The heart from all our players was brilliant.
“And a bonus point win for scoring four tries is vital as we are away to top of the league Melbourne next weekend.
“But if we show the same heart and want it as much as we did this weekend then there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t come away with a win.”
John Ford was a physical presence on the field all game for Ashbourne against Matlock. PICTURE: MICHAEL HOPE-SMITH, THREE SIX SEVEN NINE PHOTOGRAPHY