With Saturday’s game at Quarndon postponed, Matlock did eventually see action on Sunday at Causeway Lane as they took on Ilkeston in the Marston’s Smooth Trophy.
Ilkeston won the toss and put Matlock in to bat on a pitch that looked favourable to the bowlers.
Matlock’s openers were undeterred as the captain Kevin Leatherday was well supported by Ashley Draynor who’s showing his ability as a top order batsman week after week.
The pair had put on 31 before Leatherday (21) lofted one that stuck in the pitch to mid-wicket.
Draynor (41) continued to bat steadily as he and Pell built the base of Matlock’s innings.
Pell (11) was then through one too early and caught by David Smit in the covers, before Drew Mullaney and Ed Lowe were both out cheaply, the latter unlucky to be run out at the non-strikers end after looking solid early doors.
When Draynor (41) was finally dismissed, Matlock were at a shaky 92-5. The tail needed to dig in and find some runs, and they did not disappoint.
Rob Lowe struck the ball well from the off with consecutive sixes over midwicket as he reached a quick 38 before he was caught at backward point.
Dave Lander followed where Lowe left off and found the rope early on with several well timed blows as he reached 23 off just 12 deliveries.
Mark Burton batted well throughout this and held the tail together with a well deserved 34 as Matlock closed on 184.
As the players left the field for tea the rain began to fall causing a lengthy break which changed the game. Ilkeston, via the run-rate rule, required 155 off 42 overs, a target that perhaps didn’t do justice to the efforts of Matlock’s lower order.
Chris Pemberton and Ed Lander began well, keeping the visitors below the required rate and picking up early wickets. When Luke Marriott was trapped in front by Pemberton, Ilkeston were 24-4.
Smit batted well with Darren Cundy as the run-rate was threatened however the breakthrough came when Dave Lander had Smit caught on the square leg boundary. Dave Lander (4-32) bowled well and was at one point on a hat-trick.
The visitors though, who had control over the pace of the game, were up with the rate and some fine batting from Aiden Smith almost saw Ilkeston over the line until Dave Lander managed to find the top edge which was taken by his brother, leaving the score at 154-9, but despite a nervy finish Ilkeston managed to secure the final run ending on 155-9.
Matlock were left disappointed as a full length game would have surely gone in their favour and they were arguably the better team throughout.
A fine spectacle of cricket sees the end of Matlock’s cup run.
Efforts must now be concentrated on the league as an improving young side seem to be growing in confidence each week.