Matlock 2nds produced an impressive display to beat Ashover by seven wickets at Causeway Lane on Saturday and clinch second spot in Division 5N of the Derbyshire County League.
Matlock recovered from a poor start to achieve the win thanks to 70 not out from young Drew Mullaney.
Matlock chose to field first and applied early pressure with Luke Pressland and Andy Ogden making it difficult to score runs.
Ashover never really got going and only a dogged innings from Balstrige (47) and a steady 33 from Walker pushed the score along.
The fate of either sides’ spinners defined the contest, Matlock’s spin duo of Drew Mullaney and Rob Lowe restricted Ashover to less than three an over and it was Lowe who made the breakthrough, removing both batsmen at a crucial time.
Several of Ashover’s top and middle order played themselves in but no-one could push on to make a big score.
Matlock were then able to make inroads with Luke Pressland also chipping in with 2-40 off his spell and the reliable Andy Ogden picking up 3-48, meaning Ashover could only manage a modest 164-7 off their 46 overs.
The Matlock innings got off to a poor start when Balstrige had Mark Burton caught in the third over and Matlock’s hopes of overhauling Ashover’s total faltered.
But the hosts recovered well, thanks to a fine partnership from the in-form Mullaney and Lowe, who together put on a further 70 runs before Lowe was run out with a direct hit for 29.
Mullaney was joined at the crease by Luke Pressland and the pair were largely untroubled as they picked off the bowlers almost at will.
Pressland hit two sixes and three fours in his composed, unbeaten 34 while Mullaney was 70 not out at the end of a one-sided encounter.
Matlock claimed the scalp of one of the stronger sides in the division and continue their impressive form as they climb their way to the summit of the division.