Matlock’s season began away at Duffield on Saturday in a typical low-scoring early season fashion, the home side winning by 25 runs.
Matlock’s Kevin Leatherday won the toss and put the home side in to bat, which looked to be a good decision as opening bowlers Chris Pemberton (2-47) and Ed Lander (5-52) found good movement both in the air and off the pitch as they tore through Duffield’s batting line up.
The home side’s captain Paul Bakel showed his players how to play at this time of year as he went to a well-deserved 53 before being called through for a single that wasn’t there, and was run out via the footwork of Pemberton.
Matlock should have closed in at this point, however the bowlers let things slide with too many extras and allowed Duffield to reach a total of 157 which, after being at 75-8, would prove to be costly.
Still, with 157 to chase, Matlock felt confident they could secure a victory as they went out to bat. This confidence was quickly set back when Leatherday offered no shot to Luke Webb’s first delivery in England and was deemed LBW.
This brought Vasili Orros to the crease who proceeded to bully the bowling attack, showing his potential to score runs for Matlock this season. He and Ed Lowe (59) batted well and had everyone relaxed as the visitors raced to 79-2.
Duffield turned to slower bowling with Jono Clare’s off spin and Adam Short who found plenty of seam movement to unsettle the batting line up. Orros (49) was given out LBW and Drew Mullaney quickly followed as he was unlucky to be caught behind to one he felt he hadn’t hit.
This set things in motion as Matlock’s middle and lower order collapsed quickly, perhaps offering too many shots to the turning ball when the game should have been won in singles.
Short (4-41) and Clare (5-43) did the damage and secured a win for Duffiled as Matlock finished 25 runs short of the target.
With a long season ahead, Saturday’s encounter shows many positives and also highlights areas to work on if success is to be found.
Spirits remain high as Matlock head in to their first home game as Stainsby Hall visit Causeway Lane this weekend.