Matlock (20pts) 262-3dec (B De Wett 124, J Aspinall 75*) drew with Elvaston (3pts) 144-9 (C Ault 31, E Lowe 3-18)
Saturday morning saw a period of frantic and successful activity by players and ground staff in order to combat the early heavy rain and get the Derbyshire County League Division One match against Elvaston played.
The umpires passed the ground as fit but the lost time caused the match to be reduced from 50 to 37 overs per team.
Matlock decided to bat first and opener Ed Lowe responded to his captain’s demand for a brisk start by despatching the new ball into Hall Leys Park’s boating lake, never to be retrieved.
The enterprise, however, was short lived as he was bowled for 19 with the score at 31-1. Kevin Leatherday (29) continued to attack until he too was bowled at 69-2 in the 14th over.
The remainder of the afternoon belonged to Burton de Wett, who reached his first century for the club and John Aspinall (75) who remained unbeaten in the 70s for the second week in succession.
Forcing shots were made with almost monotonous regularity against a wilting Elvaston attack. Eventually, de Wett (124) was bowled by the persevering Ian Hall (2-67).
Peter Camm made a brief entrance before making a tactical declaration at 262-3 with one over to spare.
The rain interfered again during the tea interval but on resumption the totals were allowed to remain unchanged without complex run rate adjustments, requiring Elvaston to get 263 to win in 38 overs at seven runs per over. Matlock needed to take all ten wickets to gain maximum (27) points.
The Elvaston batsmen showed a real determination to survive, suggesting a draw as their target.
Camm made the first breakthrough at 31 and the introduction of Aspinall to the all-pace attack accounted for the departure of Briars (27), stumped by Andy Rogers, and Ault (31), leg before wicket with the total at 65-3.
Win prospects improved when Ed Lowe ran out Archer with a direct hit from the boundary, only to slowly diminish as the Elvaston batsmen dug in, using up valuable overs, starting with a fifth wicket partnership of 47.
When the hundred came up with just four wickets down, only ten overs remained.
The exciting climax, when it came, was unexpected.
Firstly Chris Fletcher (1-21) bowled Lewis (20), then the recalled Lowe took the sixth and seventh wicket in two balls.
Camm chipped in to with an lbw decision at 138-8 and Lowe then bowled Hall with four overs remaining. Could Matlock get an outright win after all?
No, was ultimately the answer as, despite the most aggressive bowling of the match by Camm (2-29) and Lowe (3-18), numerous appeals and lots of “oohs” and “ahs” as the ball hit pads, whistled close to the stumps or was blocked by Blaver (1no), playing his first game for the Elvaston first XI, or the experienced Birch (6no). There was to be no tenth wicket – just a winning draw as Matlock got the lion’s share of the points.
This Saturday, Matlock visit second placed Clifton for a “must-not-lose” game if the promotion ambition is to be maintained.
On Sunday, they are at home to Eckington for the semi-final of the Marston’s Smooth Trophy.