Conway ton in vain as Matlock slip up

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Matlock 1sts 195 all out lost to Alfreton 196-7 by three wickets

AFTER the euphoria of two exciting wins, Matlock suffered defeat at the hands of local rivals Alfreton with just one ball remaining, a close and complicated result which requires explanation.

The visitors won the toss and put Matlock in to bat on a wet, green, grassy wicket which the opening batsmen described as “difficult”.

However, they put on 41 runs before Matt Cluer (17) was caught out in the 11th over, shortly to be followed by Kevin Leatherday (17).

There was no alarm as overseas player Devon Conway (having already scored two centuries in four games) was now at the wicket.

Alfreton’s new overseas player Bilawal Bhatti, having just arrived the day before the match, had taken one wicket and added three more, completly removing the Matlock middle order to make it 64-5.

Soon with the help of Alexander Mace (2-44) and Ben Slater (1-42), this became 76-7, of which Conway had got 25 not out.

Joined by a determined Mark Stokes, Conway commenced the fightback but when Stokes (17) was dismissed by the returning Bhatti and unlucky Drew Mullaney was out next ball to Bhatti, beaten by the best and fastest ball of the match, and possibly the season, Matlock were on a modest 114-9.

This lit Conway’s fuse. Ably partnered by Ed Lander and now 43 not out, he farmed the bowling and hit a further 66 runs (four sixes and nine fours) in eight overs.

He made 109 in 127 balls before he was caught by an outstanding leaping catch by Bhatti on the boundary, sending Conway to the pavilion having played one of the most exciting innings ever seen at Causeway Lane in recent years and providing Matlock with a competitive total of 195 all out.

The fact that Matlock were dismissed in 43 overs meant Alfreton received the unused seven overs, a crucial factor which was to increase the drama.

Alfreton got off to a poor start, losing Ryan Bramwell and captain Alex Mace to Peter Camm with only 15 runs scored but this only flattered to deceive.

Matlock took five more wickets but Gwatkin (24), Simpson (23), that man Bhatti (26), and Clarke (20) showed a consistency lacking in the Matlock innings.

Even so, at the 50-over stage, Alfreton were only 149-4, largely due to the tight bowling of Camm (3-52), Lander, Aspinall and Fletcher but this is where the seven overs took their toll.

The main bowlers had completed their allotted 15 and it fell to off spinner Devon Conway to bowl the final over with ten runs still reqired and with batsmen Pratt and Whitmore well set.

The first four balls went for one, six, one and a dot ball. It was now one to tie and two to win with two balls to go. The hush was shattered when Whitmore edged a ball to third man for two and it was game over with one ball left.