Seconds lose a nailbiter

Matlock 2nd XI 88-9 lost to Belper Amateurs 2nd XI 89-8 by 2 wickets

The weather had made attempts to play the game on a grass wicket impossible so the umpires agreed it would be transferred to the artificial wicket.

Belper won the toss and asked Matlock to bat. The surface proved slow with irregular bounce, causing batsmen to play early and get under the ball.

Matlock batsmen found it difficult, captain Paul Chadbourne top scoring with 21 when he too was deceived by the slow bounce and was caught at deep mid-off.

Drew Mullaney and Ed Blackburn were the only other batsmen to reach double figures, Ed’s contribution including the only six of the innings.

The 46-over innings closed at 88-9, the value of which would only be ascertained when Belper batted after the tea interval, and so it proved.

The first wicket fell at 15 to Rob Lowe. The second wicket followed two runs later and at intervals of 15; 14; 11; 12 and 4, with a score of 73-7.

Chadbourne rotated his bowlers, mixing pace (Tom Watkinson and Tom Coey) and leg and off spin (Drew Mullaney and Rob Lowe respectively).

The eighth wicket fell at 85, a prelude to a nervewracking conclusion.

Runs were scarce and catches were dropped.

The final over arrived with two runs required for Belper to win.

A hurried single put the scores level and, with two balls remaining, Rowton hit the winning runs.

This was the battle of the teams in the relegation zone and changes nothing but Belper’s 22 points will be more comforting than Matlock’s four.

This Saturday, Matlock visit Langley Mill, who are currently lying second in the league.