Signs of improvement by bottom-of-the-table Matlock

Matlock batsman Jonathan Ford who was progressing nicely when rain forced an abandonment.
Matlock batsman Jonathan Ford who was progressing nicely when rain forced an abandonment.

Determined Matlock showed enough promise against Derby Congregational to suggest that their season shouldn’t be written off yet, even though they remain bottom of the Derbyshire County League’s Second Division.

The match was eventually abandoned because of rain, but not before Matlock had looked a decent bowling unit, restricting their opponents to 193-8, and then showing improved form with the bat to reach 65-3 in reply.

Ed Lander’s troops started well, keeping the lid on, and Chris Pemberton (2-55 in 14 overs) took a couple of deserved early wickets, with the usual acrobatics at gully from ‘trapeze artist’ Drew Mullaney helping things along.

Although the wicket was fairly easy to stay in on, run-scoring was more difficult and with the introduction of leg-spinner Mullaney (2-57 in 11 overs) and fairly slow bowler Steve Haslam (3-40 off ten overs), Matlock continued to apply the brakes.

As they reduced Congs to 86-6, the visitors could even sense a rare victory, so it was a shame that the initiative was seized from them by a big stand for the seventh wicket that salvaged the hosts’ innings.

Amarjit Singh was the key man with a whirlwind innings of 62 (six sixes and fours) from just 41 balls. Gable ends and chimney pots ducked and weaved in his most brutal knock, which was ably supported by his captain, Anuj Jari, who made 32 (one six and 32 fours) in a partnership worth 89.

With dodgy weather always predicted for later in the day, it looked as if Singh and Jari’s runs had also sabotaged chances of an outright result -- and so it proved because only 23 overs could be bowled when Matlock replied.

Singh (1-25 in ten overs) proved he’s no mean bowler either, removing opener Joe Pyne for eight, before Ed Lander was castled by Mohammed Kaleem (2-18) in ten overs) for nine and Mark Burton fell for 12 to a much-debated leg-side catch. But Matlock were in the process of recovering nicely, thanks to David Lander (13no) and Jonathan Ford (11no), when the drizzle became heavier, and the match was halted.