Matlock end campaign by drawing with champions

Matlock went into their final game at Eckington on Sunday knowing they were safe and hoping to end the champions’ unbeaten record - but ultimately having to settle for a draw.

The pitch looked damp and so Matlock skipper Kevin Leatherday was surprised when his side were asked to bat first.

Chris Pemberton and Ed Lander found the wicket to be lively but also found the batsmen swinging hard early on to see edges flying to the boundary and runs quickly accumulating.

Lander finally found a delivery that found the edge and was well taken by Steve Pell at second slip.

This did little to stem the flow of runs, however, as Snookes and Lee played aggressively at every opportunity.

It took a well-disguised googly from Drew Mullaney to make the breakthrough as Snookes fell for 45. But with Matlock still needing wickets it was Dave Lander who really made inroads with 4-49, which would have been five had he not taken a wicket with his front foot over the line.

This left Ed Lander (3-73) and Pemberton (1-45) to close out the innings as Eckington finished with 213, a solid yet achievable total.

In reply, Mark Burton was joined by Mullaney and they proved a formidable partnership, both racing into the 30s before Mullaney missed one off his legs and was deemed LBW.

Captain Leatherday then joined Burton as Matlock continued to push towards the target. Burton reached his 50 before lifting one to mid-off bringing Harvey Hosein to the crease who played himself in before dismissing an over for 11 with Matlock edging towards victory.

However, with what felt like a replay of the previous week, Hosein was run out by Leatherday (46) who was then caught shortly after.

The Lowe brothers did their best to overcome Eckington’s unbeaten season, but when Ed was caught trying to sweep, Matlock settled for the draw, seeing them finish comfortably above the drop zone.

A challenging year then for Matlock who took on Division One with a young side, most of whom have come through the club’s junior ranks. With that in mind it was a fine effort and a season that has seen players really step up their game to ensure Matlock’s survival, and prove that they can compete at this level.