Saturday was the first game of the second half of the season in which Matlock hosted the return fixture against Duffield.
Although second in the Derbyshire Division One table, Matlock remembered how they should have beaten the visitors earlier in the season, and so they could be overcome.
Kevin Leatherday used this confidence as he won the toss and elected to bat, hoping a reasonable target would put pressure on Duffield’s batsman later in the day.
The ploy started well with Leatherday dispatching his second delivery over mid-wicket for six and continued to punish the bowlers with shots over extra-cover, an area well utilised by the captain throughout the season so far.
It was this shot that brought about his undoing as a miss-timed effort found the hands of Tim Williscroft on 43. Rob and Ed Lowe have both been in good touch recently but this week they were unable to push on from Leatherday’s start as Matlock were reduced to 88-4.
Rebuilding was needed and came in the form of a solid partnership between Pell (63) and Mullaney (30) who batted sensibly and accumulated well. This was followed by another cameo from Roberts (15) who has found success coming in near the end of the innings this year.
Together this, along with 51 helpful extras, saw the hosts reach 233. Leatherday was pleased with how his side had responded to the plan and Duffield knew that their work would be cut out after the break. A fast outfield and relatively friendly wicket however meant a win was far from certain. Pemberton, who has bowled without luck in previous games, found life out of the pitch and caused Duffield problems early on.
He managed to break through and, in a similar fashion to the first game of the year, Duffield’s batsman fell fairly readily with both Pemberton (4-20) and Lander (3-37) making inroads.
Duffield never threatened the total and were seven down by drinks. The wicket, however, was becoming easier to bat on and Matlock knew the final three wickets would be tough to come by.
Drew Mullaney hit good areas along with Dave Lander and Ashley Drayner and built up pressure against the visitor’s lower order. In doing this the trio each managed to pick up a wicket and with Drew Mullany finding the edge of Thomas Roe’s bat, the young leg-spinner secured 27 valuable points for Matlock.
The result sees further consolidation of Matlock’s mid-table position importantly gives the side momentum going through into important games over the next few weeks. Next Saturday Matlock will travel to Stainsby, looking for a result against side who sit at the bottom of the table.