Tough start to the season for Matlock in league and cup ties

Matlock began life back in the Premier League with a four wicket defeat at Lullington Park on Saturday.

The visitors were put into bat, made a slow start and lost their first wicket with only eight runs on the board, opener Chris Fletcher.

Kevin Leatherday and Aussie James Smith then set a firm foundation of 82 runs, broken when Leatherday was lbw for 34.

Smith, now on 43, was beginning to dominate, taking the score to a respectable 148-3 with Drage Thompson (22) until Thompson became the first of three stumpings by the slick Richard Green .

The late introduction of spin wizard George Graham was also creating real problems with a four wicket haul (4-33).

Once Smith reached his century he set about the bowling with a series of sixes but was stumped by Green on 119 when advancing down the wicket to the third ball of the last over, and three balls later a final score of 205-7 had been sealed.

Lullington’s response of a 60-run opening partnership made Matlock’s score look inadequate but the removal of Martin Walters (28), caught by wicketkeeper Thompson off Ed Lander (1-27), brought about the team’s first success.

Smith then showed he can also bowl by removing Andrew Goodwin (21) and Green (9), Peter Camm ran out James Doherty two runs short of 50 and Ed Lowe ran out Jonathan Shales (11) to make it ‘game on’ at 145-5.

Overs were slipping away and scoring was slow, then the tenacious Sam Eaton (24) was caught behind off Camm and it was 172-6 with six overs left.

The last over arrived without further wicket loss and three runs required, and three dot balls then a six off the fourth ball enabled Lullington to win the exciting and entertaining game by four wickets with two balls to spare.

On Sunday, the first XI were defeated again, this time in the National Club Championship at West Indian Cavaliers.

The rules prevented the inclusion of overseas professional James Smith, and limited overs to nine per bowler.

Batting first, Cavaliers made a solid start of 46 for the first wicket before Ed Lander (4-38) settled in.

Edward Lowe (3-43) slipped in with one wicket and at 85-5 Matlock’s expectations were high.

Dominic Williamson (80*) and Patrick Gada (61) had other ideas and put on 124 for the sixth wicket, and although Lowe had two catches taken by wicketkeeper Drage Thompson the total reached 257-7 in the 45 overs.

Quick runs did not come for Matlock and although 36 were scored before the first wicket they were well below the required rate.

Leatherday (12) and Thompson (59 in 57 balls) took the score to 101 but then the innings became a single figure procession, only captain Matt Cluer (11) reaching double figures as Matlock closed 101 runs short.