A valiant effort as Matlock lose final

Matlock paceman Ed Landers took 1-24  in the Marston Smooth Trophy final against Swarkeston.
Matlock paceman Ed Landers took 1-24 in the Marston Smooth Trophy final against Swarkeston.

Matlock 200 all out [43.3 overs] lost to Swarkestone 238-4 [50 overs] by 38 runs

The eagerly-awaited Marston’s Smooth Trophy final was played on Monday in typical bank holiday weather and produced drama, excellent cricket and conflicting emotions in the ideal setting at Copper Lane, Denby.

Matlock, determined to leave their recent league form behind, were assembled by skipper Peter Camm for an early 90-minute training session.

The toss was won by Swarkestone, who decided to bat. The game thereafter can be divided into four sessions

The first 24 overs belonged to the Matlock bowlers, led by the economical Eddie Lander with ten overs for just 24 runs and the early wicket of danger man Jamie Guthrie, a first catch for wicketkeeper Harvey Hosein.

Hosein also took a diving catch off Ed Lowe to dismiss Tom Hamilton (21). Chris Fletcher then added a third wicket. Together with Peter Camm, the bowlers limited the score to 85-3 at a run rate to 3.5 an over, prior to the first rain interruption.

On the resumption, the Swarkestone batsmen upped their game, only losing one wicket in the session. Luke Thomas went on to complete his century and, together with Mike Scott (25no), spoiled the figures of the Matlock bowlers in a total of 238-4.

The rain interruptions had caused tea to be taken mid-session. A quick turn-round brought the tactical pairing of Chris Fletcher and pinch-hitting Ed Lowe to open the innings, a move which proved successful with 30 brisk runs on the board before the loss of Fletcher.

De Wett (16) and Lowe added 41 runs before de Wett became swing bowler Bruce Dilks’s second victim. From the 14th over, when Aspinall joined Lowe at 71-2, the game was Matlock’s for the taking. Lowe completed his 50 in 67 balls (seven fours and one six) only to be caught on the boundary attempting a second six at 124-3.

Even so, despite the double blow of losing Kevin Leatherday and then Camm at 150-5, there was no alarm as Aspinall had taken total charge, displaying ample time in choosing and making elegant shots all round the ground, the sign of a class batsman.

Now joined by Steve Pell, he completed his 50 and looked to be on course for a century. Together, they took the total to 189 with only five down and 11 overs left. Matlock were in the driving seat.

Enter the final session. The clouds were gathering, light rain was falling, and the light was failing. The depression was complete when Aspinall (71) was run out. This proved the crucial turning point.

Pell (16) was then bowled and Nick Rosling, having survived a run-out when slipping on the now wet wicket, was bowled by Scott. Minesh Keshwala was left isolated as first Lander was out lbw to Evans and then Hosein was bowled first ball by an 80mph-plus delivery from Evans (3-26) which he confessed he never saw in the dark.

The statistics prove Swarkestone as worthy winners but perhaps Matlock can be forgiven for thinking ‘what if that fatal run out had been avoided’?

The official Player of the Match was Luke Thomas for his unbeaten century.

A special vote of thanks was given to the umpires, scorers and groundstaff for their efforts in the adverse conditions.

Matlock now aim to retrieve fourth position in the league by returning to winning ways for their final four games, starting with the visit to Sawley & Long Eaton on Saturday.