Matlock returned to league action with a six-wicket defeat at home to Rolleston on Saturday.
Friday night’s rain meant that batting first may be challenging and Rolleston looked to take full advantage of this as they won the toss and put Matlock in to bat.
Kevin Leatherday and Ashley Drayner managed to negate any early movement and looked as if they had set themselves well as the home side reached 40 for no loss.
This changed when a Luke Nelson delivery found the outside edge of Leatherday’s bat and keeper Mat Ford’s appeal was enough to gain the decision, despite the Matlock skipper’s disagreement.
Drayner quickly followed when he was bowled leaving Matlock 40-2.
Consecutive wickets brought Rob Lowe and Steve Pell to the crease. Pell, as has often been the case this season, steadied the innings whilst Lowe (33) played his natural game and scored quickly as Matlock reached 97.
Muhammad Zaroob had looked fairly innocuous in his opening two overs however he found a good ball to have Lowe LBW. The delivery had a catalytic effect on his spell as he ran in with confidence and made heavy inroads into Matlock’s line-up.
Zaroob finished with six wickets and prevented Matlock’s lower order from scoring, despite Ed Lowe’s lusty 26.
The innings closed on 162, a score that would be hard to defend, especially given that the pitch appeared to be improving over the course of the game.
Pemberton looked to get Matlock’s response off to a perfect start as Mark James mis-judged an inswinging delivery that knocked back his middle stump.
The hosts’ elation, however, proved premature as the two left handers settled in, keeping out the good balls and picking up any stray deliveries well with no pressure on the run rate.
Matlock bowled well with little luck and despite creativity from the captain, who even bowled two overs himself, couldn’t find a way through.
Dave Lander worked hard for ten overs as he looks to be finding his rhythm at this level, and was the only bowler other than Pemberton (3-54) to claim a wicket before Rolleston reached Matlock’s 162 for the loss of just four wickets.
Next week Matlock will travel to Elvaston where conditions will be different and the opposition even stronger.