Matlock 135 all out
Swarkestone, probably the strongest squad in the County League, won the toss and put Matlock into bat to rule out the possibility of a tactical losing draw in their drive for promotion.
Matlock’s Chris Fletcher, however, went straight into attacking mode driving the first two balls for four on a lightning fast outfield .
The joy was short lived when John Aspinall, newly-promoted to opener, became Swarkestone’s first victim in the next over.
The in-coming Burton de Wett was undeterred and joined Fletcher in taking the score to 80-1 in just 50 minutes giving rise to predictions of a target score of 260 until a misunderstanding between the pair caused Fletcher to be run out for a cultured 35.
With Kevin Leatherday batting down the order at No 4, optimism remained high until pace bowler Mark Scott (5-36) and left arm spin bowler Tom Knight (3-41) were brought into the Swarkestone attack.
The wickets of Leatherday and Pell were lost before the 100 came up, initiating a procession with six wickets falling for 36 runs.
Only De Wett showed sustained resistance top scoring with 63 runs (five fours and two sixes) in an all out total of 135 with 12 overs remaining and too early for scheduled tea interval to be taken.
The quick turn round gave opportunity for an early strike by the Matlock bowlers but openers Jamie Guthrie and Luke Thomas ran up 55 runs in the seven overs before tea.
Hopes were raised at the restart when Thomas (32) advanced down the wicket to Fletcher (1-24) only to be clean bowled.
Neither the rotation of the bowlers or the occasional threat of rain could save the day for Matlock.
The incoming batsman Tom Hamilton (30 no) scored the lion’s share of the remaining runs including a six off the penultimate ball, leaving the coup de grace to Jamie Guthrie (67no) to attain the winning score of a 138-1.
The game ended with a nine-wicket victory and 22 points to Swarkestone and just one to Matlock – a haul which damns Matlock’s hopes of promotion and puts Swarkestone 21 points behind Clifton who currently occupy the coveted promotion position with five games left to play.
Matlock’s last chance for glory is on Bank Holiday Monday when they meet Swarkestone in the final of the Marston Smooth Trophy.
On Saturday they entertain the improving Staveley Welfare to Causeway Lane .
The match presents a real opportunity for Matlock to regroup and rebuild their confidence.