Magical Mark Matthews scores hat-trick in Oaks win

Oakham RFC against Kesteven RFC. Photo by Andy Balmford
Oakham RFC against Kesteven RFC. Photo by Andy Balmford

Oakham fly-half Mark Matthews was the driving force behind Oakham’s latest Midland’s Two East (North) win scoring 27 points against Ashbourne at the County Ground on Saturday.

Matthews scored three tries, two penalties and three conversions in the 32-25 success.

However, it look a late try from Matt Dolton, two minutes from time, to win the game after Ashbourne had rallied to levelled the match at 25-25 with just ten minutes left to play.

Winger James Beanland was the creator, drawing two defenders with a burst of pace after patient play by the backs.

He released Bolton to 
beat the covering defender and score the game-winning try.

The final try also gave Oakham a bonus point for being their fourth of the afternoon. Head coach Tom Armstrong said: “It is not pretty at the moment but it is working, a bit like the Tigers this season.

“We got all the points that we could from the game and we played badly for 70 minutes. When they got their try to level it at 25-all, we started to play some good rugby.

“If we had played 80 minutes like we did in the last 10 we could have put a big score on them.”

Armstrong said his side’s defence and kick chase let them down at times but he is confident they will put it right.

A sign of the club’s health off the field as well as on was the fact that the thrilling climax to the game was played out in front of a sizeable crowd of about 200 spectators.

Armstrong said: “Oakham is by far the best supported club I have been involved with. It is a great atmosphere down there and it makes the players play better.”

With a win and a draw against the top two clubs in the league this month, coach Armstrong is very happy with the points his side have earned in recent weeks.

Oakham are currently in a defining spell of the season having played two of the top sides in the league. Following a break at the weekend, the Oaks face fifth place Bakewell.