Matlock CC 1st XI 226-4,
Denby CC 228-8
Fourth-placed Matlock batted first against Division One leaders Denby in a match of changing fortunes which was only to be decided in the last over.
The opening pair of Chris Fetcher 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.
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 81-run partnership, the innings to closing at 226-4.
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 changed 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 – 194-8, 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 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.