by Derrick Taylor
Runaway leaders Swarkestone took victory at home to Matlock on Saturday despite a fine century from the visitors’ Chris Fletcher.
The hosts won the toss and elected to field, which seemed a good decision when they removed top two batsmen James Smith and Kevin Leatherday for ten runs.
But Fletcher (100) was joined first in a 112-run third wicket partnership by the reliable Drage Thompson (45 in 80 balls), then a fifth wicket partnership with the aggressive Peter Camm (50 in 30 Balls) and the final total came to 228-6, Fletcher’s century featuring 13 fours and a six before he was Tom Knight’s fourth victim.
The game was turned on its head after the tea interval with an assault by Swarkestone’s opening pair, captain James Guthrie and partner Christopher Durham.
They were only parted when two runs short of a winning total, Guthrie (107) being run out by James Smith, leaving Durham (108*) to finish the job.
Matlock’s five batting points mean they are now 45 points short of the safety zone. However, a further 70 points from the remaining five games (14 points per game) might enable them to avoid relegation. They meet fellow strugglers Eckington in a must-win game at Causeway Lane on Saturday.
The second XI were also beaten as they faced Denby.
Denby won the toss and put Matlock in to bat, and the value of Matt Haywood was soon appreciated in a 25-run first wicket partnership with Phil Braund (9), then a second wicket 40 with Paul Chadbourne (17), but on completing his fifty he fell second victim to Stephen Bullock having given Matlock a good start at 103-3.
Bullock and Parkin then destroyed the middle order by taking four and three wickets respectively, the innings eventually closing on 134-7.
Denby replied confidently to prove the Matlock total inadequate, reaching a winning total of 136-4 to claim 22 points, with Matlock having to make do with just four.