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Sat 20th Aug – 6th XI v OD Cuaco

DULWICH 149-8 (40) lost to OD Cuaco 179-4 (40) by 30 runs

Scorecard

There are still parts of London that have no specific name – the pocket between West Wickham, Beckenham and Elmers End is just such a place. It does, however, boast a Toby Carvery. Your correspondent revisited this hostelry on Sunday and enjoyed a pint of Cattle Shed Pale Ale and a mixture of Honey glazed Gammon and Lamb Rump with the usual trimmings. The Cricket the previous day did not have such a sumptuous feel to it, however. Dulwich offered thin gruel in this bottom of the table winner takes all clash.

In many ways, the pattern of the game resembled many previous 6th XI games this season. It is no exaggeration to say the team relies heavily on a SuperHero if it is to maintain parity with its opponents in the highly competitive Divison 2C South of Thames League. On several previous occasions, the Bat Silhouette in the sky has been answered with the arrival of Sajkan (104), SuperRees Williams (95) or Alec "Robin" Evens (69 not out). Though none of these batsmen wore their underpants outside their Lycra tights while scoring these runs, their efforts were far more than the other mortals of Gotham City had a right to expect.

In an unusual twist, Jabagyl Jumagul was late for the start of the game and Dulwich took the field with 10 men. It is a matter of conjecture as to why Jabagyl Jumagul arrives late every week, but then the White Rabbit in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was not a great timekeeper either. To be fair to Jaba, he was earlier than he has ever been before (15 minutes late) and he was trying to find a place with no name with no A to Z (see previous paragraph).

Dulwich bowled adequately without ever threatening to bowl CUACO out for a modest total. The 20 over drinks break produced an animated discussion between  Captain Colin Tucker and the rest of the team (with one notable exception). Tucker announced that the veteran finger spinner Gibson would be bowling next in order to pierce CUACO'S hitherto unbroken opening stand. Nine members of the team expressed severe doubts as to the wisdom of this decision and the hapless Gibson returned to his specialist mid-on fielding position. In many ways, Gibson is a perfect example of a Stoic: a person who subscribes to the school of philosophy founded by Zeno, and refuses to be be moved by adversity, joy or grief. CUACO scored 179 for 5 from their 40 overs. Justus Van Lare took 3 for 27 and 9 byes were conceded. Dulwich left the field in a less than enthusiastic state. Although 205 were scored last week, it must be said that 179 in 40 overs was a big ask for a team without at least one icon from the pages of DC Comics in their batting line up.

Gibson, who may best be described, in this context, as the beleaguered Police Chief of Gotham City, was asked to open the batting. Gibson is a man who believes in truth, justice and the American Way, but, it must be said, lacks some of the resources to restore Law and Order without "back up". Gibson's Gunn & Moore bat does actually bear the legend "3 star Super Hero", but there all similarities end. Nevertheless, First lieutenant Owen and Chief Gibson set about their Herculean task with resolve and diligence. Boundaries were struck, singles were scampered. Martin Couch (an old adversary from Surrey Championship days, when Couch was playing for Mitcham) bowled left arm over dibly dobblies but with scant success. At the other end 15 year old Will Black fired in some precociously fast and straight deliveries, one of which struck the Chief of Police on the pad, who was surprised when an appeal was made. His surprise doubled when Justus Van Lare (presumably filling the role of Judge Dredd here) raised his finger and the Chief was obliged to return to his desk at HQ. Tucker and Owen then proceeded to bat with some elan and it looked as if Gotham City PD might not need to persuade the likes of Clark Kent or Bruce Lane to remove their trousers and replace them with jeggings of primary colours.

Then the Joker weaved his evil spell: Owen, clearly affected by the mind drugs which the evil Joker had slipped into his tea, set off for a lunatic single which sadly left the hard hitting Tucker run out on 41. The ebullient antipodean is, I understand, shortly to return to the Convict Colony and we will all miss him, his partner, and his swashbuckling batting. More wickets fell and despite some forthright batting from the solicitor Griffiths and Van Lare, both of whom briefly looked as if they might restore the City of Gotham to its former glories, but then, alas, fell victim to the leg breaks of Ariez Mehta. Jabagyl Jumagul and Kushal Patel struck some mighty blows at the end, but the overs were running out and a gloom fell over the city of Gotham as the match ended with yet another defeat for Dulwich 6th XI. They remain above bottom placed CUACO, but must hope for better things next week.

Sat 20th Aug – 4th XI v Woking and Horsell

DULWICH 338-7 (45) beat WOKING AND HORSELL 41 (24.3) by 297 runs

Scorecard

If last week’s dreary victory against the dogged Reigate Priory was the cricketing equivalent of a British seaside holiday, this win against Woking was the full Las Vegas pool party with unlimited cocktails and a hot tub of admirers.

With a dodgy weather forecast giving skipper Dixon a few Friday night nerves, a chance rendezvous with Chris Reardon in the booze aisle of the East Dulwich Co-Op was enough to convince him to request a last minute move to the main Burbage Road ground and the security of a covered wicket.

Having bowled Woking out for 62 earlier in the season, this game was seen as a 20 point banker, especially with a strong line up of bowlers to call on. Keen to avoid any complacency, the team talk focussed on doing the basics well, playing to our strengths, blah, blah, blah… Ok, forget it it lads, attack them and win the game.

Winning the toss, the W&H skipper spotted Knighty lurking menacingly, (impossible to miss in a garish red top) and remembering how he destroyed their team in the reverse fixture, decided to bowl, with the resigned attitude of a man whose batting wouldn’t stand up to the Dulwich test for long.

After 25 minutes of play, his decision looked totally vindicated with the top three of Peters, Irvine and Chaudhry all back in the dressing room with only 24 on the board and the skipper on his way to the middle to join Will Cooper. 

Cooper making only his third Dulwich appearance of the season and using a borrowed bat and some pads from 1992, that Matt had dug out of his loft that morning, was imperious from the start. Using his diminutive stature to pull anything slightly short, he and Dixon attacked the Woking bowlers forcing numerous changes. Running well between the wickets, the pair accelerated to 145-3 by drinks, with the skipper starting to find the middle of the bat after a season which had brought him few runs.

Powered by orange squash and sensing the Woking team were struggling to contain the flow of runs, Cooper and Dixon turned on the afterburners and scored 70 in the next seven overs, flaying the bowling all around the ground, taking plenty of chances with the security of plenty of batting to follow. Cooper was first out, stumped for a pugnacious 87 that contained 5 sixes, a great knock. If he is able to play more regularly for the club more next season, he’ll be a massive asset to the higher teams. 

Cooper and Dixon had added 184 in 22 overs and had set the attack, attack, attack, tone for the rest of the innings. By this point, the Woking fielders already believed Dulwich had won and so the question was how many runs they could get. With this in mind, Prasanna was promoted to join the skipper and he carried off from where he left in his last innings at Sinjuns – mainly the mid-wicket and cow corner areas of Burbage Road.

Matt had swept to a streaky but valuable 73 before finally being dismissed, leaving Prasanna to be joined by Swainey, in his new role of head of the tail. Freed from the shackles of his innings making any difference to the result, he and Prasanna (47) gorged on the shell-shocked Woking bowlers, powering past his previous 2016 best of 8* to end up with a red-inker of 55.

The innings came to an end with a blob from Knighty and a classy cameo from Ben Lester, to finish on a mighty 338-7. A holidaying Julian Dean toasted the innings with an extra portion of Carbonara in Rome and the skipper spared the team the ‘don’t take victory for granted talk’.

After a delicious tea, the Woking batsmen faced a mammoth task. This was not helped by their non striker, Michael Walsh running himself out of the first ball of the innings, trying to steal a sharp run to Alex Irvine who threw the stumps down – his second direct hit in two games.

More wickets followed. Scourge of Woking, Knighty extracted bounce out of the track to see off the number 3, gloving a catch to Dan Peters and then the opener Kumar who was snaffled by an uncharacteristically good one handed dive by Matt. Sunil got in on the act, proving too slow for Thabrew, who dollied to the skipper at mid-off and he then bowled Lumby soon after. Woking were 8-5, with their skipper tweeting about a club record 300 run plus loss.

Knighty picked up his third wicket, smartly caught by Ben Lester at point to rapturous applause from his watching family and dogs – his mother swinging her cerise pashmina scarf above her head in delight.  Such adoring crowd pressure prompted Dixon to immediately introduce him into the attack and he soon dislodged the impatient Khedekar, stumped by Dan. New bat Styles quickly followed, easily caught by Zeeshan at mid-on. Prasanna wrapped up the final two wickets and victory was achieved by a significant margin with a clear message of intent sent to next week’s opponents Wimbledon.

Despite the margin of victory, much credit should go to Woking who remained engaged and acted impeccably throughout the day, even scoring their innings in the Dulwich book. Their skipper has much to be proud of, even in defeat. They look to be safe from relegation the league and we look forward to playing them next season.

Back at the club, the team celebrated heartedly, although the skipper was slightly miffed to learn that James Hirst had toppled him as worse fielder in the club, after a particularly cack-handed afternoon for the 2s. 

Two games left and 21 points needed for the league title. The team now entertains defending champions Wimbledon at home. Whilst it is likely to be a much sterner test, this Dulwich side, full of confidence, camaraderie are capable of beating anyone in the league. On the day the 2nd XI won their league, we are determined to do the same.

Many thanks to Chris Reardon for umpiring.

Sat 20th Aug – 2nd XI v Old Whitgiftians

DULWICH 130-7 (40) beat OLD WHITGIFTIANS 133 (44) by 3 wickets (rain affected)

Scorecard

After The Chaos Engine had single-handedly seen off second placed Cranleigh last week, Dulwich entered the final three games requiring just one win to secure the Division 2 title.

First up a trip to Old Whitgiftians, who had inflicted a rare defeat on the Doggies earlier in the season. This was a chance to put that right – a fact that captain Bridgland was keen to emphasise as the 2nd XI left Dulwich at 6.45am for the 30 minute trip to Croydon(1).

As the team entered their fourth hour(2) of intense fielding drills, it was clear to see that this was an outfit at the top of their game. Not a catch was dropped nor a throw mis-directed; a theme that would surely continue throughout the day. With confidence high, the team were buoyed when Bridgland won the toss and, as ever, chose to field.

With most of the regular squad present – but Paddy George missing, whinging about how much he does for the club in sunnier climbs – it seemed like an ideal time to take the team photo. A league winning photo can proudly adorn a bar wall for decades and our readers will be pleased to see that it went as well as the rest of the match:

The Sam twins opened up tidily, well supported by this exceptional fielding side. Runs were hard to come by as the pair restricted Old Whits to just 18 runs off the first 10 overs.

Sam Saleem (7-0-10-1) was the first to strike, frustrating the opener into chipping straight to the experienced Ferguson at mid-off.  The very next over, Sam 'McLovin' Ellison, who had bowled a typically penetrating line, found the edge. Moving quickly to his left, Jonty Hirst executed a miraculous palmed stop to save 4 runs.(3) His effort did not go unrewarded as Bridgland – in anticipation of the leg stump line he intended to bowl – promptly swapped his gun(4) fielder to the specialist catching position of square leg.  Wicketless maybe, but McLovin put in a fine shift, bowling tighter than a[REDACTED](5) as he returned figures of 7-2-15-0.

After the strong opening, Old Whits threatened to make use of a flat batting track and boundaries began to flow. However, the Dulwich fielder had different ideas. The Old Whits opener flicked medium-pacer Hansie Cronje Matt Quaife(6) up to Hudson, who produced an exception two-handed diving slap-stop at mid-wicket to save three.(7) The very next ball, Fleming Quaife trapped the number three LBW.

Buoyed by the breakthrough, Bridgland and Hirst paired up to produce the standout cricket of the season so far. Bridgland, correctly identifying the batsmen's weakness as the leg-stump half volley, probed an accurate line. At square leg, Gary Pratt James Hirst put the batsmen under severe pressure.(8) First – a sprint round to mid-wicket to bring down the ball quickly in order to attempt a run out. Second – a flying leap to his right to save three. Third – he grasped in vain as he flew through the air like Simone Biles to get a finger tip to a thunderbolt. Inspiring stuff.(9)

At the other end, Butcher Quaife was on fire. So much so, that Bridgland allowed him to bowl all 10 of his spells at once. Attacking the stumps at a terrifying pace, he ripped through the top order. Another LBW and two bowled as he finished with an excellent 4/22.

With Dulwich on top, Thirsty and Fergie took up the reigns. The bowling may have changed, but the fielding was still tip-top. Some excellent chest-work from Julio Inglis save two certain boundaries whilst Quaife, anticipating his likely role with the bat, wisely saved his energy when the ball looped six inches in front of him. Housewives-favourite(10) Ferguson saved another 4 above his head(11), before showing his class with the ball as he found his way through defence after defence to finish with 5/30. As you can imagine, he looked delighted as he left the field! What an effort from the Doggies, keeping Old Whits to just 133/20 on a good batting track.

With a rain-adjusted total of 130 needed for the title, Playboy Raj Tulsiani and Enrique Inglis(12) began in belligerent mood; boundaries flowed and the target was soon down into double figures. No title is easily won though, and three quick wickets fell. First, the Asian Hugh Hefner was adjudged LBW for 20, quickly followed by Nick “Screech” Hudson (0) and the Spanish Sledger (19) as Dulwich tumbled to 40/3.

Cometh the hour, cometh the (ladies) man. Dulwich felt safe in the gentle hands of McLovin (24) as he caressed the ball around, even stroking it a little harder now and again as he lifted it over the top. At the other end, elder statesman, Zakir Rostami (29) bludgeoned the ball to all parts like a man half his age.(13)

But again quick wickets fell, bringing last week’s match-winning partnership back together at the crease. Steve Patankar eyed the legside boundary greedily. So greedily in fact, the Old Whits skipper swapped the young colt positioned at deep mid-wicket for a man with extra height. But Big Steve was not perturbed by the skipper’s mind games – “Lad. You’re the best keeper batsman in the league!"(14) he repeated to himself under his breath as he bludgeoned the ball in that direction. It was high – higher than The Prince on a Friday night. It was handsome – more handsome than the DILF himself. It was straight to the man. Gone for 2.

At the other end, Fergie had his game face on. This would be his first title since being crowned Most Eligible Bachelor 1989 by Nottinghamshire Weekly and he wasn’t going down without a fight. He nudged and nurdled, he flicked and forced his way to 19, but then – disaster! – he nicked off!

Dulwich only needed 20. But 20 seemed a long, long way off. The tension was palpable – Thirsty went to his trusty leg-side shuffle(15), Quaife showed off his lofted leave(16), Bridgland delivered his best Houghy impression as he paced the boundary.(17)

Then a four! The shovel connected. Then another! The lofted leave morphed into a lofted drive. A squirt through the slips and Dulwich were home with three wickets to spare. Victors! Champions! And what a way to do it. A faultless performance.(18)

EDITOR’S NOTES

(1) There are a number of inaccuracies in this article. Apologies to readers, and we hope that these footnotes provide sufficient clarity for a true reflection of the day’s events.
(2) Although the quality of the warm up was high, its length has been exaggerated. Exaggeration of length is not acceptable to this editorial team.
(3)There is no evidence to suggest that the looping, waist high edge to second slip would have even carried to the boundary. Furthermore, the name “Jonty” does not appear to be a widely accepted shortened version of “James”
(4) Like a potato gun perhaps. Or a faulty water pistol that leaks everywhere.
(5) This was deemed unacceptable to the high-brow readership of this weekly publication. Both Sams’s’s did indeed bowl well.
(6) Despite years of rumour and speculation, there is no evidence that Quaife has ever successfully fixed a test match
(7) There is no evidence to suggest that the slow, leading edge would have made it off the square, save for the momentum imparted by Hudson’s Schmeichel-esque diversion
(8) This is misleading. The dictionary defines pressure as “persuasion or coercion to make an individual behave in a certain manner”. The only coercion visible this weekend was to “keep chipping the ball in the air to square leg mate because there is no chance that ginger bloke will catch it.”
(9) Are we really going to publish this paragraph in the public domain? There have been fewer inaccuracies in the entire season of third team match reports’ description of G. Hough’s bowling. This looks like it was written by that chap who was the Iraqi minister of information, proofread by Bernie Madoff, and translated into doublethink by Richard Nixon. Ignorance really is strength.
(10) This is an evidence-based claim that we support fully.
(11) This probably would have gone for four, but the time it took the gentle(man) bowler to put enough strapping on his limbs to extend an arm fully, the chance was gone.
(12) “Would you dance, if I asked you to dance? Would you run (miss a straight one, get bowled), and never look back?
(13) So youthful is Rostami, and assured is Ellison, that it was often difficult to tell these two apart.
(14) This is an evidence based assertion. We’ve got the best keeper batsman in the league. We’ve got the best keeper batsman in the league. We’ve got the best keeper batsman. Best keeper batsman. Best keeper batsman in the league.
(15) Get on one knee and slog across the line.
(16) Close eyes, lift head, and swing hard.
(17) Bridgland was not being swept for four through midwicket. We’d like to assert that Houghy has never been swept for four.
‚Äč(18) As faultless as this match report is a reliable and trustworthy account of the day’s events.

Sat 20th Aug – 1st XI v Epsom

EPSOM 211-4 (50) lost to DULWICH 212-6 (42.1) by 4 wkts

Scorecard

Dulwich returned home for the first time in four weeks, but continued their winning ways by securing their fourth win in succession in their Travelbag Surrey Championship Division 2 match against Epsom.

Epsom chose to bat in exceptionally strong winds, and were indebted to an unbeaten century by South African overseas player Godfrey Stevens, who batted throughout the innings for 111, off 147 balls. Jon Lodwick bowled a probing opening spell with the wind, conceding only 17 runs off eight overs, but Kamran Munawar struggled to bowl into the wind. Leon Sealy also took time to adapt to the conditions, but it was he who took the first wicket with the score on 56 in the 16th over, and he then tightened up to complete a seven over spell with 1-26.

Spinners Alex Gledhill and Salaar Waqar both started with a wild first over while they worked out how to bowl in the conditions, but then imposed their usual control. Skipper Gledhill bowled an eight over spell for 1-24 (12 of which had come from his first over), while Waqar bowled his ten overs straight through for 1-36. Richard King also bowled tidily, conceding 27 runs off nine overs, and the score had advanced to just 142-3 after 43 overs. Stevens and skipper Phil Edwards then launched an assault on Sealy and Gledhill that saw them concede 34 and 26 respectively off their last two overs. Gledhill was rewarded with a second wicket, having Edwards caught on the boundary off the penultimate ball for 39, but 69 runs had come from the last seven overs to take Epsom to 211-4 after their 50 overs.

Tom Savill returned to the side after three weeks out with injury, and resumed his successful opening partnership with Ed Stolle. They needed just 7.5 overs to post their sixth opening stand of 50 or more in eight attempts. Stolle made most of the early running but was the first to go, bowled by Stevens for 30, off 30 balls, to make it 53-1 after nine overs. King now joined Savill, and they continued in similar vein, adding 41 in 6.5 overs for the second wicket before two wickets fell in five balls. King, having made 20 off 19 balls, was brilliantly caught by that man Stevens, who followed it up by bowling Ed Towner in the next over. Savill reached his fourth 50 in eight innings before becoming the fourth wicket to fall with the score on 121, having made 54 off 58 balls.

The innings now hung in the balance, but Will Bancroft once again dug in effectively in a supporting role, this time in company with keeper Ed Hopkins who continued to push the score along. The pair had reached 177 when Bancroft was lbw to the last ball of the 33rd over for 17, off 41 balls. With 35 wanted off 17 overs Hopkins and Waqar had time to consolidate, and had added 10 in 5.2 overs when Waqar was caught behind for 6. Sealy now joined Hopkins, and the pair saw Dulwich home with 7.5 overs to spare. Hopkins finished unbeaten on 67, his best knock of the season, off 74 balls.

Dulwich thus completed their second victory of the season over Epsom and rise one place to fourth, two points behind their opponents who slip from second to third. Dulwich can still secure promotion if they win their last two matches and other results go their way. They start with a difficult home match against Esher, who are level with them on points and who will therefore have similar aspirations for a successful end to the season.

Sat 13th Aug – 6th XI v Dartford

DULWICH 207-5 (40) lost to DARTFORD 208-3 (37.4) by 7 wickets

Scorecard

For Dulwich 6th XI this game resembled nothing more than an M.C. Escher work of art: improbable towers and battlements full of steps and turrets, but, ultimately an optical illusion where the top is never quite attained. For three quarters of the match, Dulwich appeared to be following all the right staircases and passages only to discover at the end of the game they were back where they started. This season has not been the most successful for this team and they now find themselves second bottom of Div. 2C of the Kent Regional League.

Dartford's Oakfield Park pitch has a certain municipal charm. The whole ground resembles a rather shallow salad bowl. (I have actually seen a smaller version of this particular shaped bowl in the Purley Way branch of IKEA). To hit a boundary in any direction, the batsman is forced to hit the ball uphill. The ground would be a perfect place to stage an open air production of Verdi's celebrated opera "Aida", but not necessarily the best place for a cricket match. Despite the obvious limitations, 415 runs were scored.

Williams and Gibson opened for Dulwich and soon discovered that the uphill gradients in all directions were more than compensated by the fast outfield and boundaries started to flow. Gibson's innings, in particular, had a certain plodding familiarity to it: for the third time in his last four innings, he has found himself reaching a score between 18 and 23 only to find himself unable to progress any further: either running out of partners or accompanying another player batting at a slightly faster tempo than Gibson to win the game. On this occasion, (after scoring no less than 3 boundaries) he curtailed his innings in a more conventional manner by playing over the top of a viciously in swinging fast yorker bowled by the talented seam and swing bowler, pony-tailed 14 year old Chelsey Rowson. Gibson's batting this season has been not dissimilar to that of the "jobbing actor": never in the limelight, but offering the odd crucial line, here and there, to move the plot along. It was something of a surprise, therefore, to discover that, in the course of his long career, Gibson has actually hit more 6s than Don Bradman! Gibson has hit no less than five 6s while the slightly more eminent Australian only ever hit four! They also share the same last letter of their surname! Gibson does not, however, have a career batting average of 99. But I digress:

Williams was not phased by Gibson's departure nor by his replacement: the solicitor Griffiths. This batsman played even more prosaically than Gibson and was eventually caught by Rowson off the bowling of 13 year old leg spinner Callum French. It was not until the arrival of Captain Moore at No. 4 did the innings look like achieving the 200 target. Williams and Moore played aggressive, bludgeoning aerial shots to most parts of the lip of the bowl and Williams was finally bowled for a commendable 95. Moore scored 45 and Comerford blasted 3 fours in 3 balls in the final over. Nick Rochford and Tracy Latimer also batted.

Dulwich sat down at tea in a state of high elation. For a team that failed by 50 runs to reach a target of 130 in their last league match, a total of 207 for 5 was no mean achievement. The solar panels on the roof of the pavilion were a great encouragement to the team; it was assumed the post match showers would be more than adequate on a sun-filled day like today.

Their optimism was misplaced, however, when it became clear that Dartford's tall and uncompromising Lanning would need to be dismissed in good time if Dulwich were to defend their hard won assets. Eventually, Lanning presented a gift of a catch in the no man's land triangle between mid off, cover and bowler, any one of whom might have held on to the chance. Sadly, with the politeness of three doormen at Claridge's, none of these players took up the chance and the ebullient Lanning continued on his unimpeded way until he was finally dismissed by the tantalisingly accurate Nava for 58. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Rowson and French batted with commendable correctness, but the scoring rate was slowing all the time. When Rowson was finally dismissed caught behind off Morton, the feeling was that Dulwich would prevail. 80 runs were still required and what looked like only a handful of overs left to be bowled. At this point, Dartford's Ian Rossiter entered the fray. A player who has, apparently, led a glittering career with the 1sts, 2nds and 3rds and was now captain of the 5ths. Rossiter proceeded to flay all the bowlers with a remorselessness which had a chilling effect on the Dulwich side. The youthful French also found his scoring touch and the pair wrapped the game up in the 38th over with 57* each. Dulwich made their way back down the A2 with only 4 bonus points and an uneasy feeling that the game was theirs for the taking, but they somehow got lost going up the third staircase on the fourth level of the second ivory tower. Castles in the sky, indeed.