Matlock CC 1sts v Cutthorpe 1sts by ten wickets
Saturday arrived with the now inevitable problem of combatting the weather but, due to the determined efforts of the groundstaff, players and sympathetic umpires, the elements were defeated and it was game on.
Matlock travelled to Cutthorpe, won their first toss of the season and seized the opportunity to invite Cutthorpe to bat on a wicket suffering from water seepage under the covers and rescued by the liberal application of sawdust, and boundaries selectively shortened to protect the players from the more boggy areas.
The cold damp atmosphere did not deter Matlock’s opening bowlers Peter Camm and Chris Fletcher from wrecking the stumps of the Cutthorpe opening pair with only nine runs on the board.
A stubborn partnership between Rob Plested (27) and captain Andrew Thompson (40) looked to be a rescue act until Ed Lander entered the attack to bowl both of them and the replacement of Camm with John Aspinall resulted in O’Neill being brilliantly caught by Drew Mullaney in the outfield.
Camm, fresh from a seven-wicket haul last week, decided one victim to be insufficient so took three more to finish with figures of 4-27.
Lander then bowled the two remaining batsman to finish with the best figures of 4-18 in 10.5 overs, leaving Cutthorpe with an all out total of 87 in 33.5 overs and Matlock the task of scoring 88 in 50, plus 16 forfeited overs.
Following an early tea, Kevin Leatherday (37 not out) on the back of his 108 not out last week, and Matt Cluer (30 not out), returning to his former club, scored the 88 runs without loss in 20.5 overs, admittedly aided by the 21 extras, which included 14 wides, two no balls and five penalty runs given when the ball hit a helmet placed behind the wicketkeeper.
This did not give credit to the excellent bowling of Steven Chapman, who bowled seven overs for 14 runs.
The end result was an early finish with 22 points to Matlock, who move into fifth in the league.
Matlock 2nds drew with Codnor
Meanwhile, Matlock seconds entertained Codnor at Causeway Lane, which had also responded to the “water hog” treatment well enough for Codnor to choose to bat, a task they were to enjoy.
Wooley (72) set about the Matlock bowlers, starting with a 41-run first wicket partnership followed by a second of 94 with Colledge (40) a start of 135-2.
Later contributions by former Premier League player Sparham (42 not out) and Wood (24 not out) built a formidable total of 234-6. Best bowling figures were returned by off-spin bowler/batsman Rob Lowe (3-57).
Victory required Matlock to score at a rate five runs per over. That prospect disappeared with the loss of their opening pair for 13 and after a period of aggression from Matt Haywood (13 including one six and a four) and Rob Lowe (18 – one six and two fours) a draw became the only option. This they did with undeniable determination, only losing two more wickets to accumulate a modest 84, having lost only six wickets. The heroes were 15-year-old Philip Braund, who scored seven, and seemed to bat forever surrounded by a ring of close fielders, and team captain Paul Chadbourne with a temporally strapped-up broken finger, gained during fielding and following treatment at the Whitworth Hospital.
Matlock need to strengthen their team for next Saturday’s visit to Sandiacre, a tough call when they have lost the services of previous captain Mark Burton, and Drew Mullaney to the first XI, leading wicket taker Steve Haslam and last year’s top batsman Luke Pressland
Fortunately Sunday’s Wright Cup match was conceded by Wootton Sports Club. There are opportunities for ambitious players from outside the club looking for a new challenge. It is worth noting that Harvey Hosein, now with the England Development squad, started his career at Matlock.
The third team match was cancelled by agreement between the captains due to their concern for the safety of the junior players in the prevailing conditions.