Matlock won the toss and made what turned out to be a wise decision to bat on another wet, green, soft Causeway Lane wicket in a fixture which matched brothers Martin and Peter Camm on opposing sides.
Chris Fletcher and Ed Lowe continued their recent successful opening sequence until Lowe (17) got a leading edge to a ball from Mills and was caught at gully.
Burton de Wett, making his last appearance before returning to South Africa, had hopes of another high-scoring innings dashed when he was bowled by Martin Camm for 12.
But progress was hardly interrupted as Fletcher, now growing in confidence with shots all round the ground, built a 100 run partnership with Kevin Leatherday (43) and a further 73 with Nick Rosling (43) to ease the score to 227-4.
Change was ignited by the departure of Fletcher (88 – lbw) to left arm pace-man Dean Mills just 12 runs short of his century.
Mills (2-61) immediately repeated the dose to Minesh Keshwala with what must rank as the best ball of the match. This gave promoted second-team captain Mark Burton the privilege of facing the hat-trick ball, which he survived indeed to the last over of the innings in which he pushed a single to give strike to partner Peter Camm in aggressive mood to hit three successive sixes, attempt a fourth which had the height but not the distance only to be dropped by the retreating bowler during which the batting pair scampered the final runs in a total of 259-6.
The opportunity to put adequacy of this total on a wicket giving little help to pace bowlers was given to Marehay’s openers Waldo Lategan and Martin Camm (scorer of a big century in his last outing).
Lategan (12) looking to mount an early attack had the misfortune to be given out caught behind by wicket keeper Harvey Hosein off Eddie Lander following a period of deliberation.
With only 14 runs on the board it was left to Martin Camm and Andy Walters to overcome the early setback, successfully achieved until Martin Camm (15) having been tied down skied a catch to brother Peter off Ed Lowe to end a 50 run partnership
At this point Marehay were ahead of the run rate and Walters continued in the same vein with Matthew Bailey as partner until the spin bowling of Burton de Wett and Nick Rosling (1-43) was introduced. Rosling was successful with his very first delivery when Walters (29) misjudged the change in pace to give a simple catch to Peter Camm at mid-on. Not to be out-done, de Wett (3-65) trapped Lee lbw, had Jonathan Bradder caught half way to the boundary by David Lander and bowled James Kyte, all in a period when only 17 runs were scored. At 99-6 and 20 overs remaining Matlock’s earning maximum points (27) looked probable.
Batsmen Bailey and new partner Tom Burke had other ideas, scoring with increasing confidence as the slow bowlers used up their allocation, in increasing gloom and the threat of rain. With eight overs left and score at 161-6, the pace attack, less Peter Camm suffering from an injury sustained during fielding, was re introduced but with no success until the final ball of the game when Bailey’s match saving innings of 65 was ended caught by Rosling off Lowe (2-30).
A finishing total of 213-7 left honours even but with 17 points to Matlock and ten to Marehay and putting Matlock joint fourth in Division 1 of the DCCL.
Next weekend brings a double header finale to the season, a visit to Eckington on Saturday and at home to neighbours Clay Cross on Sunday both starting at the earlier time of noon.
l Matlock (17pts) 259-6 [50 overs] (C Fletcher 88, K Leatherday 43, N Rosling 43) drew with Marehay (10pts) 213-7 [50 overs] (M Bailey 65, T Burke 59*, B De Wett 3-65).