Aspinall knock takes Matlock into semis

Clay Cross (10pts) 153-8 (H Wilmott 41*, E Lambert 4-26) drew with Matlock (17pts) 207 all out (M Keshwala 41, B De Wett 67, J Branson 3-40, H Wilmott 4-30)

Matlock were destined to spend the weekend at Sharley Park playing Clay Cross, on Saturday for a Derbyshire County League Division One game and on Sunday in the quarter final of the Marston’s Smooth Trophy.

Put in to bat on the lively Clay Cross wicket on Saturday, Matlock made a steady start until, 30 runs and two bruises later, Kev Leatherday was out for 15.

Undeterred, fellow opener Minesh Keshwala and number three batsman Burton de Wett put together a fighting partnership of 85, only to be broken when Keshwala (41) was the first victim of a series of well-held boundary catches.

Joined by Aspinall, de Wett continued to score freely until, with a hint of déjà vu, he was caught out for the second week running going for consecutive big hits, resulting in exactly the same score of 67 (his third innings of 67 of the season).

Aspinall (21) and Chris Fletcher (18) survived a couple of close run out decisions endeavouring to up the scoring rate but managed to raise the score to a comfortable 185-5 when they too fell.

With only seven overs left, Andy Rogers joined skipper Peter Camm for a last blast at a 200-plus target but they too were high catch victims, held just inside the boundary to shots that would been sixes on the smaller Matlock ground.

Clay Cross spin bowler Harry Wilmott (4-30) made his presence felt, taking the last three wickets and limiting the Matlock total to 207.

The Clay Cross reply could hardly have had a worse start. Eddie Lander removed Eyre in the second over and clean bowled Clarke next ball.

A hat-trick was avoided but a the third wicket fell again to Lander three runs later at 12-3. A 27-point victory looked probable.

Matlock doggedly progressed through the middle order but met firm resistance led by former Matlock player Joe Pyne (20) as Clay Cross reached a modest 83-5, but with only 20 overs remaining the lesser prize of a winning draw was looking more likely.

Again Harry Wilmott was to enter the arena, joining an increasingly aggressive David Greaves for a 64-run partnership.

Even when Lander (4-26) came to the rescue, having Greaves (28) caught, he was replaced equally determined Branson (12no).

Wilmott (41no) remained to resist the five Matlock bowlers to give a man of the match performance and the innings closed at 153-8. Matlock had to be satisfied with the winning draw

Clay Cross 186 all out (J Lemon 61, B Clarke 37, C Fletcher 3-58, B De Wett 3-29) lost to Matlock 142-4 (J Aspinall 79) on run rate

The Sunday fixture precluded any possible draw with the result depending solely on runs scored but complicated by “power plays” and bowling restrictions.

This time, roles were reversed, Matlock winning the toss and electing to field first but again Eddie Lander experienced success in his first over, having Hartley caught behind.

There was to be no immediate collapse however as Lemon (51) and Clarke (37) took the score 127-3, both falling to catches by wicket keeper Rogers standing up to de Wett (3-29).

With 33 overs gone, Joe Pyne upped the pace with a run-a-ball 27.

This time Saturday’s hero Harry Willmot was to be limited by Rogers’s fourth catch of the innings off the bowling of Lander (2-24). Peter Camm (2-28) and Chris Fletcher (3-58) finished off the innings for a total of 186

Then, down came the rain and the DCCL equivalent of the Duckworth Lewis System was brought into play during the elongated tea interval. Once the rain ceased and covers were removed, a revised winning total of 138 in 38 overs was declared.

Even this looked threatened when Keshwala was bowled by Greaves with only 11 on the board. Andy Rogers, entertaining as usual, then “walked” when appearing to glove a catch but returned quickly when given not out by the umpire, only next ball to be given out lbw.

With the score at 12-2, de Wett moved the score to 58-3 with a cameo innings of 28 in partnership with John Aspinall who went on to turn the game with a masterclass innings of 75 not out. Supported first by Leatherday and finally by Fletcher, a winning score of 142-4 was achieved with ten overs to spare.

Thus the weekend in Clay Cross concluded with Matlock gaining 17 points from a winning draw in the league match and a move up to fourth place in the league table.

The Sunday victory takes Matlock into the semi-final of the Marston’s Trophy, to be played on Sunday, July 24, having been drawn at home to Eckington CC.

Clifton and Swarkestone are the teams meeting in the other semi final.

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