The temperatures might have been soaring in the heat -- but it was Matlock’s batting that wilted as they suffered a disappointing defeat to one of their main promotion rivals in Division Three of the Derbyshire County League.
At a scorched Causeway Lane, Matlock welcomed fellow high-riders Brailsford and Ednaston, but left themselves with too much to do after sliding to 152 all out and lost by five wickets.
Asked to bat first on a bouncy, green track, the hosts got off to a respectable start and the top four in their order all got into the 30s or 20s, with Andy Paulett making 33, Mark Burton 30, Jonathan Ford 26 and Drew Mullaney 21. But none of them could go on any further and of the rest of the batsmen, only skipper Ed Lander (17) could even make it into double figures.
The in-form visitors duly cashed in, led by third-change bowler Danial Zaheer, whose fine return of 5-20 from just eight overs was a reward for good lines, variable pace, a little spin and one or two regrettable strokes by batsmen and tail alike in the Matlock camp.
Wickets also fell to Brailsford’s other four bowlers, with Matt Dowling taking 2-32 from 14 overs, Tom Deane 1-27 from 5.3 overs, Duncan Player 1-29 from eight overs and Muhammand Ismail 1-38 from nine overs.
In reply, the visitors’ skipper, Daniel Bould, survived the most confident of lbw appeals, first ball, but then went on to show a dedication to occupation of the crease that none of Matlock’s players have managed for a while.
Opener Bould went on to strike 53, which guided his side towards their target, with the help of 29no from Mitchell Coxon, 26 from veteran Stewart Edge and 14 from Rupert Sanderson.
Matlock’s attack kept plugging away, most notably Lander, who took 3-49 from 13 overs, and there were wickets too for Mullaney (1-25 in eight overs) and Chris Pemberton (1-43 in 8.4 overs). But Brailsford ran out deserved winners as early as the 35th over, leaving Matlock to ponder that they need to improve in all departments if they are to maintain their promotion push.
The defeat dropped them to fourth place in the table, three points behind their conquerors, 14 behind second-placed Spondon 2nd and 25 behind top dogs Marehay 2nd.