Matlock secured their first win of the season in style on Saturday as skipper Kevin Leatherday’s century helped dispose of Sawley & Long Eaton Park.
Leatherday continued his form with the toss as he won and elected to bat first; after a better week the pitch looked flatter and would get harder to score runs on as the game developed.
The innings got off to a shaky start with Sawley’s Adam Swain claiming the wickets of Ed Lowe and overseas Vasili Orross as Matlock were reduced to 11 for 2.
Leatherday and Drew Mullaney, however, steadied the nerves of those who feared a repeat of the previous week’s collapse with a stubborn partnership.
Leatherday batted watchfully and punished the bad balls, with trademark sixes over extra cover. Mullaney held down his end until he was dismissed for 24 with Matlock at 97 for 3 - the valuable partnership had added 86 runs.
The rest of the team continued to chip in and assisted the captain as he went to a well deserved hundred. He finally fell trying to push the score along towards the end and was bowled, leaving Matlock with 217.
The batsmen had done their job and batted to a plan, rebuilding after wickets and allowing the tail to bat freely without worrying about how long they had to bat.
Chris Pemberton and Ed Lander took the new ball after tea and immediately began to find some movement off the surface. Lander struck first as he trapped Dave Eckersley on the pads and then had Gary Birley caught at first slip thanks to the safe hands of Orross.
The bowlers continued their good form as Lander finished on 4-35 and Pemberton 1-11. Mullaney 2-6 and Ashley Draynor 2-39 saw the innings through with Orross displaying his fine fielding skills with a direct hit to run out Matthew Rhodes.
The task was complete, Matlock took all ten wickets as Sawley only managed to reach 94. This lifts Matlock up to mid-table, confident with the knowledge that had things gone their way in the opening game, they could easily be up with the leaders.
This confidence must now be taken to Staveley on May 10, who are struggling and must be overcome if Matlock’s season is to reach its potential.