With a pitch resembling a quagmire, the rain once again intruding incessantly on proceedings and the visitors struggling with the referees interpretation of the game and a penalty count heavily against them, it was to their credit that they stamped their authority on proceedings particularly in the second half to secure the result.
Led out by Ryan Taylor making his 100th appearance for the first XV, the team were soon on the scoreboard when Josh Pearson spotted space down the blindside from a rolling maul and fed Robbie Locke for the opening try. Matters were about to get quite difficult for the visitors as they too often found themselves on the wrong side of the referees whistle. Nine penalties in a row were awarded against them and on this basis it was no surprise to see Paul Ryder sent to the sin bin, followed ten minutes later by James Mortimer. 14 men couldn't hold out and wing Harry Boyd levelled matters finding the space out wide on 28 minutes. The game then appeared to implode on 35 minutes as the referee penalised three robust tackles in a row with yellow cards, Tim Taylor and Tom Cruttenden being removed from the field for Matlock and Robbie Locke departing for Bedford Athletic. Paul Ryder kicked a penalty to steady matters for the visitors and on the stroke of half time with what by then was probably a one man advantage they sent a driving maul over the line for a try to Josh Pearson, converted by James Mortimer to give themselves a 15-5 half time lead.
In the second half possession was key and then that possession needed to be turned into territory. Fortunately Bedford Athletic were winning a steady stream of possession thanks to Rob Watkins monopoly of lineout ball on both the Ath and Matlock throws. This then allowed the backs to exploit the territory gained and first Charlie Darlow on 44 minutes and then Stephen Woodhead on 48 minutes broke the defensive line and finished the move with a try. Mortimer converted both and when Ben Reed went over the tryline at the back of another maul on 53 minutes the game was settled as a contest with Bedford Athletic leading 34-5. Matlock continued to try and make the most of the possession they had and although Watkins once again robbed them of the ball at an attacking lineout, the clearance was not effective and this time Matlock were able to capitalise with a 5 metre set scrum earning them a penalty try on 65 minutes. James Fairclough kicked the conversion but it was the visitors who finished stronger in the final ten minutes. Firstly a free kick at a scrum saw a quick tap and go with the ball spread accurately down the backline to Josh Cassell who
outstripped the cover defence for the sixth try. Mortimer converted this but not the seventh when Ben Reed once again touched
down at the back of a rolling maul.
Having survived the trip and banked the bonus point win, Bedford Athletic now take a 13 point lead into Saturday's game at home to
Newark at Putnoe Wood with a 2.15pm kick off.