MATLOCK CC 2nds approached their final game of the season – against Ashover – needing only four points to gain a top four finish in Division 5N of the Derbyshire County League.
The omens were good for Matlock, winning the toss and putting Ashover into bat on what looked like a difficult wicket.
Young Edward Blackburn opened the bowling well and picked up the wicket of Ashover skipper Darren Parkin, turning in a good spell and finishing with figures of 1-40 off nine overs.
What followed was a master class of running between the wickets from Kevin Godfrey (71) and Ian Miller (52) who pushed the Ashover total past the century mark.
The fluent and reliable Steve Haslam brought up four wickets for 23 runs off his final spell of the season and with two clever run outs Matlock ensured they got the bowling points needed to finish in the top four, as Ashover finished 189-8 leaving Matlock to chase 190 runs for the victory.
Matlock’s reply began steadily until a mini-collapse left them 41-4. Roger Bolstridge trapped Mark Burton (28) LBW while Richard Hosein was out for a valiant 30, trying to push the score along. Matlock were unable to withstand the Ashover attack and were bowled out for 111, comfortably beaten by their local rivals.
Matlock skipper Mark Burton paid tribute to his side after they secured a top four finish in their first season in the division, their promotion challenge failing at the final hurdle of the season.
With some thrilling wins over the likes of Denby and newly-promoted Ambergate, they have no doubt established themselves as potential promotion candidates next season and, with the development of young players such as Drew Mullaney, David Lander and Tom Watkinson, the side can only go from strength to strength.