After a week off Matlock were eager build on some positive early-season performances and produced a winning display at home to Clifton on Saturday.
Despite the setback of Vasili Orros deciding to head home after struggling to settle in to English conditions, the team were set on proving that they could manage without him.
Kevin Leatherday won the toss and put Clifton in to bat on a wicket that had seen plenty of rain over the preceding weeks. Openers Chris Pemberton and Ed Lander found the conditions to their favour and soon had the ball moving around.
Lander (3-33) struck first with one that jagged back before removing the main threat, James Barnes, thanks to a remarkable catch by Dave Lander which left everyone in disbelief.
This piece of fielding lifted everyone’s confidence as Matlock produced a fine display of fielding with Mark Burton clinging on to one that batsman Tom Hilton must have thought would land safe.
Tidy bowling from Pemberton, Draynor and Mullaney (2-9) backed up by superb fielding saw Clifton reduced to 98 for 7.
This left Dave Lander (3-5) to clean up the tail which he did with aggressive short pitched bowling, ‘bouncing out’ the last two batsmen who couldn’t control their hook shots and could only find Pemberton’s safe hands at square leg.
Matlock felt confident after tea looking to chase down Clifton’s 116.
Leatherday, who has looked in good touch of late, opened up with Ashley Draynor who battled through the new ball and looked to pick of any poor deliveries without taking any risks.
The pair did this well as it wasn’t until Matlock had reached 79 that Draynor was dismissed by Max Manley.
Mark Burton and Harvey Hosein were both victim to Manley’s bowling as he hit good areas.
This, however, was only delaying the inevitable as the captain saw Matlock home with a solid 78 not out, taking him to 235 runs for the season so far.
A fantastic result sees Matlock jump past Clifton in the table to fifth place.
On Sunday, Matlock were beaten by Marehay in the Premier T20 Group B semi-final.
Matlock put Marehay in to bowl first and the home side scored 131-8, James Kyte their main contributor with a lively 72 which included six sixes in his 57 balls.
Dave Lander took 2-14 for Matlock with Chris Pemberton and Ed Lander taking a wicket each alongside two run-outs.
Matlock’s reply started badly with Ed Lowe and Andrew Roberts both out early to leave them 2 for 2 before Kevin Leatherday took hold and hit 46.
Once he was out Matlock collapsed to 86 all out with no other batsmen able to reach double figures.
The second XI travelled to Ambergate where they desperately needed a win to get their season started.
Ambergate won the toss and put Matlock into bat on the greenest of wickets.
The openers struggled with the variable pace and bounce and bowling of Whiteley (4-19 in 14 overs), Osborne (0-8 in eight overs) Patterson (1-22) and Mustafa (4-18) to the extent that the Matlock had lost their first six batsmen for 36 at the 25 over drinks interval.
Rehan Shah exploded into action on the resumption hitting three sixes and three fours in 36 precious runs, aided and abetted by an equally aggressive Andy Hawkmoon (32), Rory Simpson and skipper Guy Roberts.
He was last out but not before the score had reached three figures at a more competitive 108.
Ambergate’s openers, needing a mere 2.3 runs per over, made a comfortable steady start against lively bowling until deceptive medium pace bowler Ed Blackburn (3-22) made the breakthrough with three consecutive wickets - 26-3.
Number four batsman Tomlinson looked well set and threatening but his partners were unable to get the ball off the square against some exceptional Matlock fielding.
Hawkmoon (3-20) made his presence felt by hitting the stumps of Beveridge, Armistead and Osborne.
Tim Braund (3-5 in 7 overs) applied the killer punch in removing Tomlinson and the Ambergate reply closed at 78 all out, a 22 points victory by 26 runs to Matlock in what had been a sporting nail biting game of cricket.