by Derrick Taylor
Matlock battled hard to secure a losing draw against fellow promoted side Eckington on Saturday.
Currently third from the bottom of the league, Matlock went with a determination “not to lose” and to capture more points than Eckington, lying at the foot of the table.
So when captain Matt Cluer won the toss he invited Eckington to bat, but the opening pair were not separated until 55 runs were on the board when the persistently accurate Steve Chapman had Spence(13) caught by James Smith.
Runs continued to be accumulated but the introduction enabled Smith to take 3-59 in a 15 over spell of spin, aided by catches from Cluer and Drew Mullaney and a stumping via the quick hands of wicketkeeper Drage Thompson.
Opener Nicholas had closed in on a century but was foiled when caught and bowled by athletic pace-man Peter Camm for 90 at 166-4.
Contributions by Mussewhite (17) and Bridgeman raised the score above the 200 mark and West and Adam Leonard batted out the 50 overs for a total of 224 for seven wickets.
In-form Kev Leatherday opened the Matlock innings with Chris Fletcher facing a feasible strike rate of 4.5 runs per over, but the task increased in difficulty when Kyle Heyns bowled both for five and four respectively and Matlock were in early trouble at 31-2.
Fletcher and Thompson set about a recovery until Heyns intervened again to bowl Thompson(19) and Adam Leanord removed Fletcher (31)
At 77-4 with 174 needed it became a backs-to-the-wall innings. Josh Womble and Mullaney each resisted Heyns for 19 balls and Cluer scored a defiant 18 in 37 balls before becoming the seventh wicket to fall.
Camm (20) and Steven Chapman were still undefeated but the partnership ended when Heyns caught and bowled Camm then Ed Lander(6) to finish with 6-70.
At 150-9 one wicket remained to be saved or claimed. Enter Alex Lawson, playing his first ever batting role for the 1st XI.
He did not score a run but partnered by the experienced Chapman (21) played out 12 balls to secure a losing draw.