by Derrick Taylor
Matlock struggled to recover from a poor start at home to Lullington Park on Saturday and ultimately fell to defeat.
Lullington win the toss, put Matlock into bat and opening bowler Graham Dent took the wickets of captain Matt Cluer (4-1), overseas professional James Smith, a century maker in the earlier encounter(16-2) and Kev Leatherday (32-3).
Steve Pell brought defiance to the wicket for the second week running and found a kindred spirit in Chris Fletcher (17 runs in 42 balls).
The entry of Paul Dawson into the attack accounted for Fletcher, Drew Mullaney and Matt Haywood and when Daniel Gough gained a controversial lbw decision against Pell, 71 for 3 became 71-7.
Seven runs were added before Peter Camm became Gough’s second victim and Steve Chapman was to resist for 27 balls but his quick call for a single surprised the inexperienced Ed Fletcher who was run out.
Chapman went on to remain unbeaten but the innings closed at a meagre 87 in 38 overs.
Lullington used four bowlers, wicket takers being Dent (3-46), Dawson (4-10) and Gough (2-7)
A winning target of 88 at 1.8 runs per over hardly seemed a challenge but a critique of the behaviour of the wicket, claimed as underprepared, was already a topic of the tea interval.
Lullington’s start followed a similar profile to that of Matlock, losing Walters and Doherty to Camm (2-34) and Goodwin to Chapman (1-10).
However Sam Eaton (17), Richard Green (13) and Thomas Caron (26) battled to put their team ahead of the required rate and when Drew Mullaney (2-28) had Caron caught by Pell the game was virtually over at 86-7.
The delaying of Ed Lander, Matlock’s regular opening bowler now demoted to fifth choice, thus limiting him to one over but taking 2 for 2 provided one mystery, the other being 17 wickets falling in 66 overs for 177 runs as Lullington won by three wickets.
Matlock’s only gain was a precious three points and a continued stay at the bottom of the Premier League, now to joined by Chesterfield in the fight to avoid relegation zone.