Lander and Fletcher swing it for leaders

Matt Cluer, Matlock CC
Matt Cluer, Matlock CC

Sawley & LE Park lost to Matlock by 9 wickets

MATLOCK CC 1sts remain top of Division One of the Derbyshire County League with four games to go after this latest victory.

They travelled to Division One strugglers Sawley & Long Eaton Park in confident mood on the back of a positive result against Cutthorpe the previous week. The weather was set fair and thoughts quickly turned to putting in a good performance and collecting the majority of the spoils.

Captain Steve Pell won the toss and elected to bowl first on a used, green looking wicket with the Matlock seam bowlers all wanting to bowl in bowler-friendly conditions.

John Aspinall and Ed Lander took the new ball and bowled economically early in the game with Aspinall looking threatening with late swing and variable seam movement.

Aspinall showed all his experience in his opening spell and was unlucky not to get the wicket he so richly deserved.

After ten overs, the hosts had reached 35-0, despite giving a number of chances to the visitors. On another day, Matlock could quite easily have had four wickets in this opening period.

Ed Lander continued to bowl very well and the newly introduced Devon Conway found drift and lavish turn to cause the hosts further problems.

The breakthrough came with Lander dismissing opening batsman Birley before the second-wicket partnership threatened to add further runs until Lander forced an indeterminate stroke from overseas player Kietzmann, who edged through to Cluer who made no mistake at slip. Lander added his third wicket and finished a fantastic spell of bowling with figures of 3-22 off 15 overs.

The dynamic Chris Fletcher came into the attack to replace Lander and soon found prodigious swing and, as with Lander, looked threatening from the outset. Fletcher bowled extremely well to decimate the middle order of the hosts who had slipped from 51–2 to 69-6.

With Conway patiently getting through overs at one end and collecting two wickets in the process, Fletcher continued to take wickets and eventually wrapped up the innings for 119 by removing the last tailender in the 46th over. A superb spell of swing bowling from Fletcher saw him return figures of 5–31.

At the interval, Matlock were very confident of victory and captain Pell sent out Devon Conway and Matt Cluer to open the innings with Pell having no intention of using the 54 overs available to chase down the target of 119.

Conway and Cluer dominated the early exchanges with both players looking in excellent form. After a good start, Conway was given out caught behind the wicket for a well-made 20 which led to Kev Leatherday joining Cluer at the crease.

The pair soon eradicated any hopes of a home win with a combination of resolute defence and a number of crisp attacking strokes and after just 22.2 overs, the target of 119 was reached with nine wickets to spare.

Leatherday finished on 29 and Cluer unbeaten on 56.