Five wickets for Drew Mullaney, followed by an unbeaten half-century from Andrew Paulett, combined to tee up a rare victory for relieved Matlock in their fight against relegation.
Taking on fellow strugglers Ambergate in the Second Division of the Derbyshire County League, Matlock emerged with a convincing six-wicket success after rolling out the visitors for just 122. And the 27 points they gleaned from the triumph lifted them well clear of the bottom two in the table with five matches to play.
Matlock now have 153 points, 21 in front of next-to-bottom Walton-on-Trent and 26 clear of bottom team Holmewood. Indeed they are now only 13 points behind the team they defeated on Saturday.
Ambergate elected to bat first after winning the toss, but were soon in trouble and lost opener Joe Beveridge, who was caught by Chris Pemberton off the bowling of Edward Lander (1-42 in 11 overs) for just one.
Number three bat Tom Holmes followed soon afterwards for a duck and so did Ehtsham Yaqob, trapped lbw for eight -- both victims of Pemberton (2-16 in nine overs), who shared the new ball with Lander.
The visitors were only held together by defiant opener Stuey Edgar and, for a brief time, he found a willing partner in Rob Heath in a stand for the fifth wicket. However, Matlock really turned the screw once change bowlers Mullaney and David Lander were introduced. The latter bowled Heath for 20 en route to figures of 2-35 from ten overs before Mullaney polished off the rest of the Ambergate batting line-up, including Edgar, who was bowled for 56.
Mullaney removed the last four batsmen too, including Sam Beveridge, who was stumped by Paulett for 16, and went into a deserved tea with figures of 5-26 from 9.3 overs.
Matlock’s reply did not get off to an ideal start as they lost opener Mark Burton for a duck and then David Lander for 16 and Edward Lowe for 17. But Paulett was in inspired form and eased his side to their victory target by the 39th over. Dominating the innings, the wicketkeeper fired an undefeated 70 and ensured there were no further alarms for the home side, despite a return of 3-33 in ten overs from Ambergate’s most effective bowler, Matt Ball.
This Saturday, Matlock travel to play Morton Colliery.