Denby (22pts) 228-8 beat Matlock (9pts) 226-4 by 2 wickets
The start of the clash between Derbyshire County League Division One league leaders Denby and fourth-placed Matlock 1sts was delayed by a rain shower and rescheduled as a 47-over match.
Matlock batted first and so started a game of changing fortunes which was only to be decided in the last over.
Starting cautiously and occasionally living dangerously when facing a lively new ball attack, the opening pair of Chris Fletcher and Kevin Leatherday built a 46-run partnership in 17 overs before losing Leatherday (17) lbw to first change bowler Ahtesham Yakoob.
Confidence grew as Fletcher and Burton deWett scored at three runs per over until the second wicket, de Wett (43), fell at 127 to Joe Greenhalgh with 33 overs gone. Efforts to quicken the scoring rate led to Fletcher’s (43) demise with only two runs added when he was bowled advancing down the wicket to Peter Burgoyne.
The scoring rate was more successfully addressed when Steve Pell joined John Aspinall to add 17 runs in three overs with quick running between the wickets until Aspinall (13) became Greenhalgh’s second victim at 145-4.
With only 11 overs remaining, acceleration became an explosion when skipper Peter Camm (52 in 31 balls) joined Pell (28no) for an unbroken 81run partnership, the innings closing at 226 with only four wickets down.
Doubts as to the fitness-for-purpose of the Matlock total dissipated when Camm applied the treatment to the early Denby batsmen, first tempting Chris Dunham to hook a rising short ball to Andy Roberts at square leg, then having the dangerous Greenhalgh caught by Fletcher before running out Mitchell with a direct hit. At this point, Denby were 43-3.
Sunhil Bhatt was about to change all that. Having survived a catch off an Ed Lander no-ball, he went on to build a 76-run partnership, first with Peter Burgoyne (41) and then David Burgoyne (20) before becoming Camm’s third victim at 169-6 with nine overs to go.
With four wickets to get, or 57 runs to defend, the prospect of a Matlock win or winning draw looked feasible.
Resistance to that aim by Stuart Poplar and Yakoob was halted by Camm (4-50) and Ed Lowe (2-66) respectively.
This made it 194-8, with 34 runs required and five overs remaining.
The sting, however, was in the tail for, despite the combined pace of Matlock’s man of the match Camm (four wickets, 52 runs, one run out and two catches) and Lowe, batsmen number nine Greg Cork (13no) and ten Paul Allen (19no) picked off the required 34 runs in style with only three balls remaining, giving Denby a two-wicket victory and 22 points to retain league leadership.
The Matlock share was nine points, which dents their aspirations of promotion but, with seven games still to go, they need to return to winning ways, starting this Saturday with the visit of Stainsby Hall.
For club details, go to www.matlockcricketclub.com