A miserable batting performance against newly-promoted Derby Congregational has left Matlock rock-bottom of the Second Division after the first three matches of the new Derbyshire County League season.
Matlock felt the game was a good opportunity to get much-needed points on the board, and all looked to be going to plan when they dismissed the visitors for a modest 130. But in reply, they crashed to 75 all out against inspired bowling by the Congs duo of Haseeb Iqbal, who took 5-14 in 9.2 overs, and Amarjit Singh, who took 4-14 in 14 overs, nine of which were maidens.
After winning the toss, Matlock decided to rely on their strong bowling attack, inserting the visitors on a fair pitch, and it proved a good decision as both Ed Lander (2-22 in nine overs) and Chris Pemberton (2-23 in eight) found their rhythm early on.
Number three bat Faraz Shabbir started a fightback, playing watchfully and going on to make 27 (four fours). But support did not arrive at the other end, where wickets continued to fall. Pemberton and Lander made further breakthroughs and as the Congs innings wobbled, further pressure was applied by the first-change bowling of Drew Mullaney (2-34 in nine overs) and debutant Shaun Quilter.
The visitors slumped to 72-6 and only got into three figures thanks to late-order resistance from Mohammed Kaleem (20no) and Singh (18) before veteran Steve Haslam mopped up the tail with 3-23 from six overs.
Matlock felt comfortable at tea, having batted relatively well the week before. But opening bowler Singh had other ideas and continued his fine start to the season, having already claimed a six-wicket haul. He found movement both ways, which caused Matlock difficulties, while the pace of Kaleem at the other end was also threatening.
The hosts slid to 28-4, and when their last hope, Mullaney, who struck 24, smashed a drive straight to the safe hands of Omar Yusean at cover off Iqbal, they were soon heading for defeat. The last five wickets fell for just eight runs.