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Sat 23rd July – 5th XI v Orpington

DULWICH 149-5 (40) lost to BEXLEYHEATH 150-5 (34) by 5 wickets

Scorecard

Another fine sunny day, a rather good looking track, as strong side and a winning toss.

However the 5th XI managed to turn a whole set of positives into a close loss in a tight game and continued their struggle for points in the Kent Regional League 1B Metropolitan Division

On a hot day Simon had agreed with their skipper that there would be two drinks breaks and that we would bat following a good toss to win. Unfortunately several players were late getting to Orpington and this meant Simon had to shuffle his order somewhat. Whether this impacted the result we will never know but it certainly put unnecessary pressure on the skipper.

Tim Brown and newly drafted opener Colin Tucker opened up and played steadily for the first period. Together they put on 59 for the first wicket with Tim trying to be aggressive but not really timing the ball and Colin mixing solid defence with some clean hitting of boundaries. The opening bowler from Orpington bowled a pretty tight spell and managed to get Colin Lbw for a fine 38. Alex Irvine came to the crease and set off with a majestic square cut, however he also found the pitch a bit trickier than it looked. Another decent partnership followed although possibly lacking a few more singles to push the scoring rate along. Tim was caught off a top edge pulling for a dogged 28 and we were 96 for 2 off about 27 overs. This could and should have been the base for a decent score but the the next period saw Orpington bowl well as Woodsy decided to stay umpiring to watch a good young orthodox left arm spinner bowl a really good spell.  Shok and Alex weren’t really troubled but had a few scares running and struggled to lift the tempo.  Alex then got out for 36 when we were 126 for 3 but with only about 5 overs left. A short cameo from Nick Rochford involved a close but unfortunate run out of Shok for 22 and a lovely straight drive. Harry Chathli came in and hit a quick 11 but we were at least 30 and perhaps 50 short when we finished our 40 overs on 149 for 5. James Worley having asked to go down the order was padded up but unused.

We realised we were going to have to bowl well and field well after tea. Luke Howard made the mistake of telling us that he’d bowled 20 plus overs this season for 18 runs and despite settling into his spell was a bit expensive to start with. Kanak bowled well although the opposition did manage to score runs off him this week which was a bit different to his great spell the week before. Orpington got off to a flyer and were 49 before they lost their first wicket in the 11th over. We had made it hard for ourselves with a couple of hard chances going down. Simon brought himself on instead of Luke and decided to bowl Kanak through is spell. Kanak need uo with 2 for 30 off 10 including a tough catch by Nick Rochford. Nick nonchalantly remarking afterwards that all he could think of as the ball was coming towards him was David Wood’s cravat!

We tightened the game up with Simon getting 1 wicket for 33 in 8 and Woods, as he replaced Kanak, bowling 7 overs 2 for 36. Orpington remained aggressive though and Rob their skipper did hit the ball to cow just as Shok predicted in a run a ball 29 before trying the big hit once too often and falling to the experience of David Woods. They were always ahead of the rate and we kept just keeping ourselves in the game, Simon tried a last throw of the dice and Luke returned but with wickets in hand and ahead of the rate they eased to a deserved victory.

We are in 7th place in the league despite a record of won 3 lost 8 and 2 abandoned but have played one more game than everyone else so we need to arrest the losing streak to avoid slipping into a relegation spot. We have been playing some good cricket at times but in too few games this season have we all turned up and kept our focus for the full 80 overs. Our running could be better, our intensity whilst batting could be improved, our catching certainly has let us down at times and we could turn up on time. The two biggest issues though are pretty fundamental we haven't being getting enough runs to put pressure on the opposition (with many batsmen getting in and then getting out rather than hitting a big score) and we haven't being getting enough wickets to stop the opposition feeling they are ahead of the game!

JL points 
3 – Colin Tucker for his aggressive hitting and top score of 38
2 – Kanak – our best bowler on the day
1 – Alex Irvine for his 36 with some fine shots

Sun 24th July – Development XI v Cheam

DULWICH 193-9 dec (38) beat CHEAM 148-9 (40) by 45 runs

The Development Team returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory over Cheam in an incident-filled match at HQ on Sunday.

Dulwich won the toss and elected to take first knock. James Chudley was quickly into his stride, plundering 14 off the first over, which included hoisting a short-pitched final ball high over the boundary and onto the railway embankment. Ball lost! And after just six deliveries! Fortunately, another new ball was available and after a short delay play resumed. But not for long. A Cheam player discovered a ‘deposit’, left by a local fox – not one of the Leicester City variety! It was on the square too, close to where he was fielding. Bravely the visiting fielder volunteered to remove the offending mound, but he was only able to do so after a lengthy delay to find a shovel or something. Well done to Noreen, who produced an old dust pan.

Undeterred by this attempt to disrupt his concentration, Chuds continued to put Cheam’s attack to the sword and he raced to 59 (ten fours and the above mentioned six) before holing out to mid-wicket with the score on 66 after just ten overs. Opening partner Dylan Brook had been content to play second fiddle to the virtuoso Chuds, but he too perished without any addition to the score, neatly pocketed at slip for 6. Third wicket pair Julian Dean and U14 Felix Gilbert then advanced the tally towards the century mark before the youngster was bowled for a quick-fire 19, which included three boundaries. Henry Shine then arrived at the crease and batted as if he had a train to catch, thumping five fours and a six in a whirlwind 29. But the later batsmen could not maintain the momentum and faced by accurate bowling from Cheam’s third and fourth-change bowlers, the score advanced at a more sedate rate. Julian Dean held the rest of the innings together with a watchful knock of 31 and he received good support from U15 Mario Lambette who made 19. With just over two overs of the scheduled 40 remaining, JL decided to declare with the score on 193 for 9, confident that his team had enough runs to play with. Or was he just exhausted after a long umpiring stint and desperate for an infusion of tea?

Seb Connor and Gus Davies opened the Dulwich attack after tea. Seb was well below his best, probably still recovering from jet-lag following his recent holiday in Menorca, but Gus bowled at a lively pace and with far more control than in recent weeks and he proved a real handful for the early Cheam batsmen. He bowled both openers with cracking deliveries and later had the number three caught at slip by Julian Dean, the ball lodging conveniently between his upper arm and chest! Gus’s 3-35 had ripped the heart out of the Cheam innings and they never really recovered. Henry Shine chipped in with a wicket, then the medium pace of Felix Gilbert (2-15 off 6 overs) and the off-spin of Spencer Daws, who returned the remarkably economical figures of 8-5-6-1, reduced the opposition innings to virtually a snail’s pace. Seb Connor bowled a better second spell and picked up a couple of wickets to finish with 2-29. A late flurry of runs by the last pair, at the expense of the luckless Cormac Meade, who had two catches dropped and might have had a caught and bowled, saw the Cheam innings advance to 148-9 at the end of their 40 overs. So Dulwich won by 45 runs. Unfortunately, the victory was marred by a late injury to Chuds who split the webbing between his fingers attempting to take a catch in the final over. A trip to KCH was necessary and three stitches inserted.

Summing up, this was a good all-round performance by a Dulwich side including eight teenagers. The Young Man of the Match award went to Gus Davies who showed his best form of the season. Shame the skipper had a senior moment and left the prize at home!

Sat 23rd July – 6th XI v Bexleyheath

DULWICH 104 (24.2) lost to BEXLEYHEATH 324-3 (40) by 220 runs

Scorecard

It is customary for this particular match reporter to utilise a leitmotif on which to hang his account of what took place.

Who can forget his account of the Dulwich 3rd XI victory against Old-MidWhitgiftians in 1993? In this game, Dulwich clinched the Surrey Championship. The report was subtly interwoven with Shakespeare's "a Midsummer Night's Dream". Then there was Dulwich 6th's last ball victory against Ilminster on their 2008 tour: a paean to "Henry V". Such match reports are indelibly printed on the nation's collective memory.

However, on this occasion our reporter struggles to find a suitable literary metaphor: so abject was one team's performance. "Titus Andronicus" springs to mind: in this play the eponymous hero is invited to eat a pie made of human ears, but, as this is all your correspondent actually knows about this seldom performed play, he has decided not to utilise its potential.

Instead, one's mind wanders down memory lane to the halcyon days of the 1960's and the ubiquitous Cinemas that could be found in every town: Gaumonts, Astorias, Regents, Pullman Classics were in abundance complete with rain sodden queues and a Commissionaire with a double breasted brass buttoned overcoat and a stentorian voice offering "Seats In All Parts". For one shilling and nine pence one could be transported to every part of the world and every period of history. Who can forget Tony Curtis sitting on a horse, clad in a suit of armour, uttering in his best Brooklyn accent "Yonder lies da Castle of my Fada"?  At this point, the reader may be forgiven for asking "what has all this got to do with Dulwich v. Bexleyheath?" The fact is, in searching for a suitable parallel to yesterday's game, I have come to the conclusion that this game resembled nothing more than one of the Hammer Horror Movies that were popular amongst cinema audiences at the time. These films usually starred Christopher Lee or Vincent Price as a Svengali like character (Dracula?, Frankenstein?) hell bent on inflicting misery on his fellow human beings. Bexleyheath produced just not one, but three such characters in the form of Darren Kempson (103 not out), Bashir Khan (66) and Bashir Popolzai (84). These 3 relentlessly drove a stake through the heart of Dulwich's attack, with a blistering assault of strokes. None of Dulwich's 7 bowlers were spared and Bexleyheath duly arrived at the not inconsiderable total of 324 for 3 at the end of their 40 overs. It must be said that Dulwich were responsible in some ways for their own plight: too many balls were wayward, short-pitched and loose.

At the tea interval, skipper Gibson felt like a chaste Susan George or Britt Ekland: helpless while Vincent or Christopher had his wicked way with her. Gibson decided to fight fire with fire by placing a number of attacking stroke makers at the top of the order. Each one of these batsmen briefly flailed away, and, at one point, it looked as if the clean hitting Warriss would be the Messiah with some lusty 6's hit in the direction of the pre-school Portakabins behind long-off.  Van Lare and Williams had a less spectacular but nevertheless, effective partnership but this was curtailed, with the winning total of 325 still a distant and clearly unattainable destination. The Dulwich innings paddled around in mid Atlantic, like Donald Crowhurst's ill fated solo voyage and finally succumbed to the waves when Josh Nava holed out to the bowling of Charlie Monk and Dulwich were dismissed for 104.

There are few extenuating circumstances to explain this overwhelming defeat. Jabargyl Jumagul (apparently a victim of the unpredictable and unreliable train service that Southern Rail fail to provide these days) did not arrive until 2.45, which meant Dulwich fielded with 10 men for the first hour and a quarter. But the fact remains Dulwich were outclassed in every department of the game and various items of hosiery need to be pulled up before next week's derby game against the "auld enemy": Streatham & Marlborough 1870.

Sat 23rd July – 3rd XI v Ashtead

DULWICH 194-9 (47.5) beat ASHTEAD 193 (52) by 1 wicket

Scorecard

The 3rd XI won a thriller by one wicket off the penultimate ball on a roasting day in the depths of Surrey. Credit must go to both teams for one of those games that, whilst nervy, was a pleasure to play in, played in a good spirit and made the long journey worthwhile.

Playing at Dulwich you get used to rather annoying away trips but for our longest away trip of the season we were greeted by the beautiful architecture, surroundings, pitch and ground of Box Hill School. The delightful ground and setting would put many first team grounds to shame – how lucky Ashtead are to have such a facility as their second ground.

The much changed team once again gathered pretty much on time, except for (post-graduate student) Sam Hunt who had gone to the wrong ground!! First sight of the wicket resulted in a unanimous verdict that it was a road. This fact, plus the heat, did not stop skipper Graeme Hough choosing to field having won his 10th out of 11 tosses this season. In any case it did not get any cooler. Whilst Dulwich’s senior citizens initially made the most of the shade and watched an always youthful Ashtead side go through their warm up, match heads were soon switched on.

Jeremy Jones and young left-armer Rordon Daws opened up. Daws, quickly settling in to a good rhythm, made the first breakthrough with an in-swinging beauty to castle Ashtead’s captain Wint. Meanwhile, at the other end, Jones bowled what he would readily admit as being one of his worst spells for many a year. He did, however, manage to surprise the other opener with a good length ball on off stump and induced a regulation catch to keeper Dan Peters. The expletives of frustration became louder and stronger from Jones, but not as strong as those that the skipper was muttering to himself as he contemplated bowling changes at a very early stage. But in the ever increasing heat, second spells from seamers later in the day were a risk and so Jones was persevered with in the hope that it could only get better. Suffice to say it didn’t, and with Daws having bowled his allowed quota (1-21 off 7) a double change was made with off spinners Hough and Ben Lester entering the fray.

Now the above may sound a bit harsh on our ‘Jezza’ but that is only because we have been so used to his consistency. This was a very rare off day and Jez will be back next week to put things right no doubt – he remains one of the best opening bowlers in the league.

Back to the game, Hough settled in to his usual miserly line and length at one end and Lester offered his usual F&G with skipper Hough kindly letting him have use of the slight slope in his favour – a level of charity not usually becoming of the captain! Lester struck first bowling the no. 3 with a flighted beauty, Hough trapped another plumb in front and Lester induced a catch to mid-off. 69 for 2 had quickly become 81 for 5 and Dulwich scented blood. All through this Ashtead’s young no. 4 Ben Sidwell was holding things together and it was clear at an early stage he was a class act and was going to be difficult to budge. However, wickets were snaffled at the other end – another LBW by Hough and James ‘The Pickler’ Pickles got an excellent caught behind by Peters in his first over having replaced Lester (2-39 off 10).

At 122 for 7 a score of below 150 was on, but Sidwell continued to toy with bowlers and fielders. Without taking the bowling apart at any point his placement was excellent and skipper Hough was even forced to utter (very reluctantly of course) a couple of ‘good shot’ calls to him. Ashtead’s young tail wagged well as the heat took its toll on the fielding Dulwich team. Wickets were eventually gained through a third Hough LBW (had the heat got to umpire Chris Reardon? Were bribes involved? No, they were all just plumb out), a run out and another wicket from ‘The Pickler’. But Ashtead had moved well to 193 all out off 52 overs. Sidwell remained at the end on 82 not out in an innings of maturity, patience, concentration as well as skill. A rather tired Hough toiled through 19 overs for 3-41 and special mention again to Sam Hunt for some energetic and athletic fielding.

In such sumptuous surroundings it was no surprise that the tea was to match. After feasting and hydrating well, Guy Woodgate and James Chudley strode out with 48 overs to chase down 194. Things quickly took a turn for the worse as Woodgate miscued a pull shot second ball and Chuds surprisingly missed a straight one soon after. At 14 for 2 the target of 194 seemed some way off. The increasingly ‘Bearded Wonder’ Andy Cornick joined Julian Dean to begin to repair the damage. The openers were seen off and they were beginning to look comfortable as the score was moved to 43 for 2. Enter JD’s nemesis – any spinner in Surrey! The exotically named left arm spinner Marcus Caprano-Wint entered the fray – who, by the way, had figures of 16-11-8-3 the previous week. He is only 15 but had bowled well in the first match earlier in the season. Anyway, JD had a good look at him… well for two balls… then launched the third in to orbit… end of. 43 for 3 quickly became 55 for 4 as Dan Peters was bowled having played his shot seemingly in a different time zone to the ball – in his defence it was there to hit but kept on the low side.

Sam ‘I’m a keeper really’ Hunt joined Cornick who by now was unleashing some pleasingly timed drives for which he is known when on form. Sam Hunt is one of those who commentators would describe as a ‘busy cricketer’ and they began to build a good partnership and increase the run rate. Cornick cleanly lofted the spinner over the top a couple of times and Hunt showed a liking, as well as a skill, for the sweep shot which spinners generally do not like. Having serenely moved to 47 Cornick then attempted to go over the top again, missed and was stumped as he lay in a crumpled heap on the ground – 96 for 5 and game in the balance.

Lester joined Hunt and they upped the run rate as it was the turn of Ashtead’s bowlers and fielders to feel the heat. Hunt punished anything short with aggressive pull shots – this included a comical bit of fielding from Ashtead as a full blooded pull shot rebounded off deep square’s knee almost back on to the pitch… ouch! Lester also struck a monstrous 6 – well that is what he is telling everyone who wasn’t there as it was really a push for two followed by four overthrows! Having moved Dulwich in sight of victory at 163 for 5, Lester eventually perished to a good catch on the boundary showing his inability to hit a proper 6! ‘The Pickler’ joined Hunt and they moved the score up to 179 when Hunt was run out in a mix up for an excellent 65.

Dulwich nerves were beginning to increase, not helped by Jez Jones’s day not getting any better as he eyed a quick single… from a push straight back to the bowler – another run out and 185 for 8. This quickly became 187 for 9 as Pickles was cleaned up for a handy 12. So it all came down to the last over – 7 to win with Daws and the cool, calm and collected (not!) captain Hough. A couple of singles were followed by a couple of lusty Daws blows for two runs each. Scores tied and two balls to go. As Daws offered incredibly helpful advice to his captain to ‘just run fast’ (little chance) the penultimate ball thudded in to Daws’ pads. Whilst Ashtead appealed in vain for LBW they forgot about the ball and the victory was sealed with Hough thankfully not having to run that fast at all to make it home.

An excellent match, made better by news later in the evening that leaders Wimbledon had lost against Spencer. 7 points now separate four teams at the top – GAME ON!

Captain’s man of the match for the John Lawrence Award was Sam Hunt for his batting and fielding, with Andy Cornick second and Rordon Daws third.

Sat 23rd July – 2nd XI v Woking & Horsell

DULWICH 103-3 (20.5) beat WORCESTER PARK 101 (31.1) by 7 wickets

Scorecard

Dulwich travelled to deepest darkest Surrey to try and leave the narrow defeat of the week before behind. In fact they started off by leaving their leading run scorer and criminally under-bowled Zaki Rostami behind. Possibly an ageist thing – but more likely that, since his Beatles revival haircut, nobody recognised him at the club for the two hours he was there before the meet.

That said, the team assembled and got into some complex fielding drills courtesy of our own Level 2 coach Ian 'Straight Trippin'" Toppin – advanced throwing and catching was followed by the two lines drill. Matt 'Two Times' Balch – disrespected by not being in charge of the fielding drills or even being the one hitting the ball – proceeded to challenge the pro's drills. Suffice to say the quality of our warm up fielding was pants – which kind of explained how we caught everything and fielded well all day.

A lost toss meant we took the field on what felt like the hottest day of the year. The heat was evident from both ends. Samer Saleem playing his first Dulwich game of the year post terrorising the school circuit, terrorised the opposition's opening batsman with a good spell of fast bowling, grabbing a caught behind and adding to his reputation as a top prospect during his 6 over spell before succumbing to being a bit hot. 

At the other end skipper Quaife  bowled two foot out side the off stump and got a premeditated, instantaneous lbw with his only straight ball before succumbing to the heat after a lionhearted 3 over spell down hill.

At 9-2, despite the double change and obsessive sledging about footwork from Euan 'The Prince' Johnson things were looking good. A small partnership was broken by Trippin' Ian getting the Bailey-sized number three caught at slip off an attempted cut shot.

Their number four hung around for 45 balls for 18 which, constantly moving his feet towards Bauchy at square leg which only encouraged The Prince's efforts to coach him -  including a two over chat about keeping a strong base when attempting to hit the ball (see Johnson dismissal later). 

Wickets continued to tumble – generally all caught behind the wicket on the cut or chipped up to the ring with the batsman camped on the back foot.

The only other incident of note, as they were dismissed for 101 with Ian and Zaki taking 3 each, was our very own Mr Smiley 'Happy Face" Hirst throwing an absolute benny. After talking himself on for the cheap wickets, Happy took his customary wicket straight away – caught on the cut by Andy 'Baggy Pants' Inglis – and then settled in to bowl his customary line and length before being promptly taken of to allow skipper Quaife his 6th spell. He was later brought back, spitting feathers, and took a wicket caught on the drive with his first ball back. In between his two spells few were spared his wrath and liberal use of very rude words generally pointed at the captain and anyone else bowling, fielding, batting or in the vicinity of the ground. Dark side indeed.

After tea Dulwich had a shakey start with long on and long off posted back from the first ball. A single saw them brought in immediately much to the disappointment of opener Julio Inglis – who departed for a sparkling 6, all through point, taking issue with his dismissal by reluctantly trudging off after a humongous inside edge to the keeper.

Playing his 65th game of the year, run machine Zaki clearly was still angry at being left at the club so decided that evey ball should be played through mid on. After being missed at slip playing to mid on and then getting lbw doing the same, he walked off nodding his head in agreement with umpire Bridget's pre meditated instantaneous decision. 

At 16-2 some jitters may have started to surface, as we had 6 of the 3rd XI side soundly whooped by Wimbledon a couple of week, before and more importantly The Prince was on his way to the wicket – a one man chaos engine.

The Prince proceeded to get hit on the pad, play and miss and get all the sledging in a short innings that one might expect in a 100 over Croydon Derby. Much was made of his own 'Come Dancing' footwork – roundly scoring zero from the judges. An authoritative clip through mid on for four was followed by him telling the bowler that he could hit him there all day every day, for ever and ever. This increased the sledging until the ex captain of the colts and proud wearer of his 2007 London schools kit simply could take no more and finally folded with a tame chip to mid of – a shot which was he later  described, after smoking 18 of Hirst's fags and drinking liberally from the multiple jugs, as a mistimed hit for six brought on by the non-striker Tulsiani laughing uncontrollably when the oppo were calling him Elton John (still not sure why). #talkedoutprincey

This brought 'Skin Up' Skinner PhD to the crease, who played well for 21 not out including some lovely timing through midwicket. In the end the final result looked easy, Tulsiani finishing on 55 not out and also being the only person staying for a beer with the opposition – although that may have been to complain about something.

Dulwich enjoyed another win without some of our best players. With 124 points to play for, and Cranleigh and Old Whits still to play, the season has a long way to go.

Nice to be top though!