Positive start fades as Matlock miss out

Matlock 222-6 (K Leatherday 60, A Rogers 53*, P Burgoyne 3-50, J Greenhalgh 3-58) lost to Denby 223-5 (S Bhatt 77, C Durham 42, J Greenhalgh 36, E Lander 3-52) by 5 wickets

Matlock 1sts suffered a five-wicket loss at the hands of Denby on Saturday in Division One of the Derbyshire County League.

Matlock won the toss and decided to bat first against a very strong Denby side who had won their previous three matches.

The opening pair of Kevin Leatherday and Minesh Keshwala made a positive start until Keswhwala (23) nudged a catch to the wicketkeeper at 76-1.

Leatherday soon reached his 50 and, with Matlock’s overseas player Burton de Wett, put on a partnership of 58 before de Wett (20) was caught with the total at 119-2.

The slower bowling of Greenhalgh and Burgoyne was beginning to cause problems and Leatherday’s fine innings of 60 ended when he was caught on the boundary trying to up the run rate, soon to be followed by John Aspinall (13) and Peter Camm (9), with Matlock slipping to 146-5.

Andy Rogers, returning to form, then hit a superb 53 not out in 37 balls and, aided by the quick running of Chris Fletcher (18), took the score to 220 and the innings ended at a respectable of 222-6, but with a suspicion it might just prove to be 30 runs short of a par score, due to the efforts of slow bowlers Greenhalgh (3-58) and Burgoyne (3-50)

Denby openers Sunhil Bhatt and Chris Durham made a tentative start against Matlock’s strike bowlers Camm and Lowe.

Bhatt survived a confident appeal in the first over but their confidence grew and the first wicket did not fall until the total reached 81 when Durham (42) skied a catch to Leatherday off Eddie Lander.

The hoped-for breakthrough did not materialise, despite the mean bowling of Lander.

Bhatt now joined by Greenhalgh in a 69-run partnership, only broken when Burton de Wett trapped Greenhalgh (36) with the score at 152-2.

Liam Glenn (11) became de Wett’s second victim but Denby had already reached 182 and still seven wickets remained.

So was it game over? Not quite! Eddie Lander was brought back and, with his first delivery, tempted Bhatt (77), the backbone of the Denby innings, to play at a wide ball he did well to reach, only to be caught by Steve Pell to make it 195-4.

Runs became harder to get and the tension mounted as the overs dwindled.

A respectable draw seemed feasible until Peter Burgoyne (21no) was joined by former Matlock player Stuart Poplar (11), the latter making the unfriendly gesture of hitting a six out of the ground, leaving just four runs to get.

The tension peaked when Poplar was bowled by Lander (3-52) only for it to be dispersed when, with only one over remaining, David Burgoyne hit the winning boundary, and was almost caught en route, although it was not to be.

Denby won by five wickets.The result gave Denby 22 points and a position as league leaders, limiting Matlock to six points, a midtable position and a roasting from skipper Peter Camm about their catching and ground fielding.

This Saturday, they travel to play Stainsby Hall.