by Derrick Taylor
Matlock were undone by two outstanding Ockbrook & Borrowash centuries as the visitors claimed victory at Causeway Lane on Saturday.
Batting first, Matlock made a cautious start against former Derbyshire bowler Kevin Dean and partner Trevor Smith but lost opener Chris Fletcher with only 24 runs on the board.
This served to bring Australian overseas player James Smith to the wicket to join in-form Kevin Leatherday for an impressive 122-run partnership until Smith ended a hard-hit 72 playing a false shot to be caught off Smith (2-53).
Leatherday continued the aggression on the easy-paced wicket with new partner Drage Thompson to add a further 72 runs, until Thompson was bowled by spin bowler Lian Wharton for 42.
With the overs declining, Peter Camm was moved up the order to continue the attack but he too fell to Wharton at 224-4.
Leatherday, now on the fringe of a well-deserved century and in the final over, fell just two runs short when caught at mid-wicket off the returning Dean bowling at the death. Josh Womble added five more runs,Matlock’s innings closing at 252 for 4.
The requisite scoring rate of five runs per over on this benign wicket proved to be insufficient.
Ed Lander had Ockbrook’s openers Matt Cassar and Alistair Dixon (20) parted at 56-1 but this was to be Matlock’s only success as Cassar went on to score 101 in 119 balls (eight fours and three sixes) and Derbyshire’s Jake Needham 111 at a run a ball (17 fours and two sixes) in the winning total of 255 -1 in 42.4 overs.
Matlock gained five points and Ockbrook 22.
Put into context, this defeat at the hands of an elite Premier League club who consistently challenge for the championship need not damage Matlock’s objective of avoiding relegation.
The next match, away to Spondon, will be equally testing.