Satisfying end to an action-packed season

Swanwick 1sts V Matlock 2nds, matlock bowler Tom Watkinson
Swanwick 1sts V Matlock 2nds, matlock bowler Tom Watkinson

MATLOCK Cricket Club rounded off their first season back in Division One of the Derbyshire County League with the annual presentation dinner, held in the Matlock Town FC Social Club at Causeway Lane.

Sixty guests were welcomed by chairman Jed Lowe to a buffet meal, followed by a review of the season’s fortunes, concluding with a presentation of awards to star performers.

The first XI, led from the front by Peter Camm (winner of the Matlock Mercury Sportsman of the Year Award) had experienced an exciting roller-coaster ride of a season. They don’t do boring.

The aim of an immediate return didn’t quite happen as they finished in fifth. Fourth place was on the cards at one stage but the last two fixtures had to be played without overseas player Burton de Wett (825 runs and 34 wickets) who returned to Cape Town early and the last game with the already relegated Clay Cross was abandoned due to torrential rain.

In between times, the team reached the finals of the Derbyshire leg of the National Premier 20T Cup, en route achieving a famous victory over the mighty Sandiacre before losing to Rolls-Royce Leisure. They also reached the finals of the Derbyshire County League’s own 20T Competition played at the County Ground again only to lose to the eventual winners.

Matlock were losing finalists against Swarkestone in the Marston’s Smooth Trophy played at Denby, but what if John Aspinall (76) had not been run out when batting superbly and then having to bat in the late evening dark and rain in a momentous game?

Promotion will again be the aim for 2012.

The second XI, the selfstyled “Stallions”, led by the free-scoring Mark Burton, sought a second successive promotion, this time to Division Four, an ideal base from which to support a potential Premier League team, but finished fourth.

The third XI lived dangerously at the overspill ground in Stonebroom but were rescued from a rocky start by replacement captain Guy Roberts. The aim to establish stability in Division Nine following promotion was accomplished without a real scare.

The return entry into the midweek Longstone League gave a Wednesday evening opportunity to players not regularly selected for the County League teams.

Finishing midtable, captain Ed Lowe’s improving team managed to frustrate the championship prospects of Ashford with a last ball one run victory thus giving Elton yet another title. Matlock then took a cross section of their playing strength to Elton to win the prestigious Orme Shield again.

In the Junior Section, the under 14s batting trophy was presented to Harry Stephenson and the bowling trophy to Ed Blackburn by team manager Tim Braund. The under 15s batting trophy went to Tristan Kawalek and the bowling trophy to Harry Stephenson.

Players from these junior squads are recommended for training with Derbyshire Dales District Cricket from which they can progress to represent Derbyshire Dales and/or Derbyshire Cricket Board teams, the entrance to the “talented player pathway”. A striking example is 15-year-old first XI wicketkeeper Harvey Hosein.

Already having advanced from Matlock CC through the DCB age groups, he graduated to the County Mini-Academy and then to the full academy.

This season, he represented the Midlands at the Bunbury Festival, picking up the Best Wicketkeeper Award, was one of four picked to train with the England team and placed on the four-year England Development Programme. This can be represented as a pyramid with a bottom layer for elite players aged 12-16, who can progress to the second year layer as a member of the Development Squad, leading to a third Year with England Lions and so to the peak, the national squad.

Players who satisfy the requirements each year are ultimately expected to be world class by age 25. This Development Programme started for Harvey on October 20 at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough.

At a local level, Harvey has played several times for the County 2nd XI and half this season with Matlock 1st XI where his best performance was a masterclass in batting and wicket keeping against Eckington.

The trophies and replica plaques awarded by Matlock CC awards come in three categories.

Firstly, each team’s best batting and bowling averages, secondly player’s player awards dependent on the votes of teammates and thirdly, special awards for Most Improved Player, Most Promising Player and Clubman of the Year, as nominated by the Club Management Committee

This year the recipients were:-

1st XI – Lycett Cup for Batting: John Aspinall; Loveday Cup for Bowling: Nick Rosling; Players Player: Chris Fletcher

2nd XI – Russell Cup for batting: Luke Pressland; Drabble Cup for Bowling: Steve Haslam; Player’s Player: Luke Pressland

3rd XI – JL Wood Trophy for Batting: Steve Webster; Lodge Cup for Bowling: Andy Hawkmoon; Players Player: Steve Webster

Most Improved Player – Tom Watkinson for his fiery fast bowling with the 2nd XI

Most Promising Player – Ed Fletcher having represented the 1st XI in the fury of a 20/20 game

Nominated for Clubman of the Year were Jed Lowe, filling the breach as chairman following the resignation of Peter Stapleton, groundsman David Ramsden for averaging 94 per centwith the pitch assessment, Tim Braund for taking a lead in the Junior Section , and Judy Mullaney for unlimited work behind the scenes, but the trophy was given to Andrew Neill for his efficient work as fixture secretary and his inspired innovation in raising income through outfield car parking at holiday weekends.

Preparations are now underway for next year’s season which starts in April following the NatWest Cricket Force make-over weekend. Winter training will start pre-Christmas.