South African star Devon Conway returned with devastating effect for a one-off appearance in Monday’s delayed 2012 season T20 Final against Marehay at Alfreton.
In a match held over from last September due to poor weather, a large crowd was in attendance to enjoy the Bank Holiday sunshine.
Matlock batted first and the innings was dominated by the returning Conway.
He hit 1,500 runs, six centuries and took 23 wickets in 2012, but missed the T20 finals due to having to return to South Africa.
Having flown in especially for this game, Conway scored 151 not out in 65 balls (15 sixes and eight fours) – 69 per cent of the 20-over total of 218.
He returned to the pavilion to a standing ovation.
Needing 219 at 10.95 runs per over Marehay needed a dynamic start and got it in the form of Chris Bradder who hit 20 runs off the first over, including three fours and one six.
The normally mean Ed Lander kept the runs down to 12 off the second over but calculators were out showing that at this rate the total could be reached in with 12 overs to spare, so there was some Matlock relief when Chris Fletcher bowled Stephen Lee.
The rate slowed down a little when Bradder was off strike but only seven overs had gone with the total at 70-2, the required run rate being maintained when young leg spinner Drew Mullaney was introduced to the attack and relief when he turned the game by taking four wickets for 23 in his 4 consecutive overs, which included two slick stumpings by Mark Stokes.
The aggression of Bradder and his ability to retain strike still kept Matlock supporters nervous continuously recalculating the required run rate, never more so than when he was partnered by Richard Wood (16), a former Matlock hero and only removed by an acrobatic Conway catch.
Two late wickets to Peter Camm meant with two wickets left Marehay needed 35 runs but with Bradder still present having just completed his century.
In 20/20 cricket anything can happen, but it wasn’t to be as gallant Marehay fell short by 23 runs despite Bradder carrying his bat for 101 not out - the end to a memorable and exciting game.
The cup was presented to Matlock captain Matt Cluer and the Man of the Match award went to Devon Conway, but must have been closely challenged by Bradder.