Matlock 1sts 276 for 3 beat Elvaston 132 all out by 144 runs
The first success of the day was that play was made possible.
This was aided by the morning’s work by a squad of Matlock players in transferring play to a wicket with safe run-ups for the bowlers.
Steve Pell called incorrectly for the fourth consecutive time so Matlock were asked to bat on a very green wicket surrounded by a wet and soft outfield.
The experienced opening pair of Kevin Leatherday and Matt Cluer entered the arena with some trepidation, which soon dispersed as they attacked the Elvaston bowlers and runs began to flow so regularly that they were almost taken for granted.
The pace slowed while the wily Naeem Akhtar was bowling (0-33 in 11 overs) so it came as a shock when Cluer (91) fiercely drove a ball intended to go over the bowler’s head for four runs, only to see bowler Achin Chand stick out a hand to catch a very hot ball at 183-1.
Matlock’s overseas professional Devon Cameron was pushed up the order to maintain the momentum. While he settled in, Leatherday continued to attack until the nervous 90s, which sparked Conway into action with an array of shots only normally seen on TV including the biggest six hit of the day, but as the overs slipped away he charged down the wicket and was stumped off the bowling of James Bodill (2-66) with the total at 271-2.
Meanwhile, a rejuvenated Leatherday had achieved a brilliant and stylish century to the loudest applause of the day. He went on to bat through the 50-over innings for 118 not out, including four sixes and 11 fours, an innings to match the surprising sunny day.
Matlock only lost one more wicket in a last over scramble and finished with the very challenging score of 276-3, the best of the season.
Perhaps Peter Camm felt unhappy with his quick dismissal late in the Matlock innings for he opened the bowling with lightning pace, enhancing his reputation as the league’s fastest bowler.
He took the first three wickets of Randall, Cosford and Charleswoth, one bowled and two caught, the first by the ever-alert Chris Fletcher and the other caught by new wicketkeeper Mark Stokes to make it 21-3.
Not to be outdone, Fletcher (1-26 in nine overs) had number one batsman Nick Briers (25) caught by skipper Steve Pell. The score was 45-4 and victory was in sight.
This brought in the experienced and canny Naeem, a well-respected adversary who immediately led a resistance to seek a losing draw. His partnership with Chand brought about a double change of bowling to medium pacers Ed Lander and John Aspinall, the latter having Chand (15) caught by Mark Burton with the score at 65-5.
Akhtar was now beginning to farm the bowling and stand of 51 with James Bodill was threatening as the overs leaked away, making a draw the most likely until Camm re-entered the fray and immediately bowled Bodhill (15).
Off-spinner Conway trapped Lillie lbw to open the reopen the door of opportunity for a Matlock win with five overs left.
Akhtar continued to resist, indeed he looked comfortable, so firebrand Camm attacked the three remaining players, bowling two and getting the last man out LBW with just three overs to go.
The haul was a maximum of 27 points and the team will hope this is the start of a revival of Matlock’s fortunes, to be tested when they play Cutthorpe away on Saturday.