Matlock CC 1sts beat Stainsby Hall by eight wickets
Rain was unable to prevent Matlock 1sts claiming 22 points and gaining a 13-point lead at the top of Division One with an eight-wicket victory over fourth-placed Stainsby Hall at Causeway Lane.
In fact, it may even have helped as main rival Clifton were a victim of the weather.
Steve Pell put Stainsby in to bat on the now common slow green wicket, a strategy intended to remove the possibility of the visitors shutting up shop to gain a losing draw.
The pace of Peter Camm and the accuracy of Ed Lander gave Matlock an encouraging start, each taking an early wicket, but Stainsby’s captain Ashley Lynch (31) and longstanding thorn in the side David Smyth (44) took the score to a threatening 99-2 after 30 overs.
Devon Conway then made his presence felt, bowling dangerman David Smyth (44) and he then added the wicket of the resilient Ashley Lynch (31).
Rob Wood and Alan Worth took the score past the 100 mark with six wickets left but only ten overs to go.
Whether as an effort by Stainsby to accelerate the scoring rate or due to the return of the pace of Camm to the attack to accompany the off-spin guile of Conway, the ending was spectacular.
The next four overs accounted for the remaining six batsmen, giving a modest total of 114 in 44 overs.
Camm finished with 5-59 and Conway 4-16, the latter aided by some the slick wicketkeeping by Harvey Hosein who only conceded two byes.
The rain kindly restricted its return to the tea interval, after which Matlock openers Kev Leatherday and Matt Cluer faced up to the task of scoring 115 in 56 overs.
They were both to fall to the Smyth brothers, each having scored 23 runs out of a total of 56, leaving Dev Conway and John Aspinall to finish the job.
The mischievous rain had not finished toying with the game and was to make further interventions, the latter with only seven runs required.
After 20 nervous minutes, play was resumed and Matlock’s eight-wicket victory was assured by Aspinall (18 not out) and top scorer Conway (39 not out).
The phenomenon that is Devon Conway is now the league’s highest scoring batsman with 673 runs including five centuries.
He has now entered the arena as a successful bowler too, all within the abnormal and completely foreign cold and wet British summer.
Add Peter Camm as the division’s leading wicket taker both led by an enthusiastic captain in Steve Pell, and Matlock’s objective of a return to the Derbyshire Premier League must be feasible.
The main obstacle is Clifton CC, who lie 13 points behind but with a game in hand.
They visit Causeway Lane this Saturday for an eagerly-awaited game which could be a classic.