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Sat 4th June – 7th XI v Bank of England

DULWICH 175-7 drew with BANK OF ENGLAND 207-0 dec

Pitch 3 at the sumptuous Bank of England facility in Roehampton, is found in front of a substantial four square office block, built in 1903, and resembling nothing more than Louis XIV's Palace in Versailles: the ultimate symbol of aristocratic decadence and extravagance. A monument to despotism. The Bank of England's sober but, I suspect, unwitting imitation clearly has a different purpose. It is there to remind the Bank's employees of the institution's permanence. The phrase "too big to fail" oozes out of every brick. At the top of this building, in the centre, is a large ornate clock with gold leaf Roman numerals. When the big hand was on 9 and the little hand was on 6, the first wicket finally fell in this curious game: Dulwich's charismatic talisman – the hapless Gibson bowled off his pads for the second time this season. But let us not linger for too long over Gibson's dismissal, no matter how fascinating the reader may find the gruesome details. 

The entire game was played in a strange time warped 1960's sort of way. Limited overs were jettisoned in favour of an old fashioned concept which involved one team batting first and then stopping (declaring, in this case) to give themselves time to bowl the opposition out for less runs than they had scored themselves. Many readers may struggle to recall this type of Cricket, but, believe it or not, it is still played in a few more enlightened parts of the country, such as the Test Grounds.

Smith won the toss and "inserted" the opposition. Dulwich's problems began to appear very early in the Bank's innings. Not for the first time this season, that prolific run scorer: Extras was making his presence felt in the shape off 33 wides, 2 leg byes, 22 byes and 1 no ball, making a total of 58 extras. In addition S Hussain (102 *) wasted no time in setting about the wayward and profligate Dulwich bowling. Hussain even succeeded in placing the ball through one of the windows of the Versailles palace with a mighty 6. The ball was seen nestling on the sunlit desk of an employee of the Bank and presumably will be collected on Monday morning. Hussain was ably supported by Peter Andrews, who nudged and nurdled his way to 47*. 

In the 32nd over, as Hussain reached his hundred the Bank's captain decided enough was enough and both teams repaired to the Bank's excellently appointed pavilion to eat tuna and cucumber sandwiches. Like all other banks, the Bank of England does not exhibit any signs of contrition or humility for the misery the financial industry has inflicted on the rest of humanity. Rather, it is business as usual (with the notable exception of Lehman Brothers). Should Mark Carney himself read this epistle, he will, no doubt, explain in incomprehensible multi syllabic words how the Bank of England itself was not responsible for the 2008 debacle and was, indeed, actively engaged in propping things up. The silk tongued mandarins of Threadneedle Street have mastered the art of self-justification with consummate ease. 

Somewhere, in the darker recesses of my mind I can hear the reader asking what all this has to do with Dulwich 7th XI's titanic battle with the Bank's 3rd XI. To which I can only reply: no man is an island. The world is full of uneasy contradictions which cannot be simply ignored for the sake of a Match Report. 

However, for the sake of brevity, (a word which I freely admit is not always attributed to these reports) I will return to the post-tea "action". Skipper Smith decided to gamble on the recklessness of youth with his opening pair of Gibson (first match for DCC 1963) and Rice (1958). Through judicious shot selection and careful running between the wickets, the pair were able to see the opening bowlers off and hoist 47 runs on the board in their quest of overhauling the Bank's formidable, but not unattainable, total of 207. As described above Gibson departed for a modest 13 but Rice, ably supported by Rochford, arrived at a carefully crafted 58 which included a number of fine onside lofted boundaries. With the exception of a swashbuckling innings of clean hitting by Warriss, the rest of the Dulwich batting was relatively prosaic and the game did not really catch alight as Dulwich completed their final and 51st over on 175 for 7. So that old fashioned result of a tame draw was how the game ended up. In this era of ersatz entertainment and instant manufactured excitement, perhaps it is as well that we occasionally remind ourselves that this wonderful, fragile but always intriguing game called cricket cannot always produce a "down to the wire" finish. To coin a relatively new but already well worn phrase: It is what it is.

Sun 5th June – Development XI v Leatherhead

DULWICH 189-7 dec drew with LEATHERHEAD 171-9

With several youngsters missing due to school exams, the Development Team that lined up at Leatherhead on Sunday bore more of a resemblance to a Dad’s Army parade. Only Harry Chathli (U15) and Cormac Meade (U14) were younger than Corporal Pike!

Dulwich’s Captain Mainwaring won the toss and elected to bat first in a time game that was as rare as the warm and sunny conditions. Leatherhead’s picturesque ground boasts a good batting surface and the Dulwich opening pair of Julian (Private Walker) Dean and Sakib Rashed got off to a confident start. The score had moved along to 36 before Sakib was unluckily run out – your scribe hastens to add that this was not due to Julian’s calling, but the fact that Sakib slipped over in mid-wicket and couldn’t make his ground in time. Zakir Rostami then joined Private Walker, but the latter departed soon afterwards, holing out at cover for 22. Had he given his wicket away deliberately? Or was it just a coincidence that he was seen shortly afterwards attempting to sell silk stockings to the females among the small crowd soaking up the sun on the pavilion boundary?

Anyway, back to the real action. Harry Chathli Junior came in at number four and settled down nicely against some fairly testing bowling from a generally young Leatherhead attack. [Captain Mainwaring had already enquired of the opposing skipper why the home side were able to field so many young players in their team – he never did tell us the answer, but do the younger generation not take exams so seriously in the leafy suburbs?]

But Zaki and young Harry gradually got on top of the bowling, even if their slow-left armer did pose particular problems, and with a fair sprinkling of boundaries they put on over a century stand before Harry was caught at slip for 25 with the score on 157. Harry Junior was then replaced by eleventh hour replacement Harry Senior, but Dad fell victim to a blinding one-handed catch at backward square leg – that’ll teach him for picking out the tallest player on the opposition! Zaki marched on towards his century, but fell six runs short, well held at cover point off the slow left-armer. Cormac Meade hit a solid boundary as the declaration approached and after a clatter of wickets Captain Mainwaring decided to call a halt after 43 overs with the score on 189 for 7. Trevor (Private Godfrey) Griffiths was next in when the declaration came. Rumour has it that Mainwaring thought Godfrey has gone off to spend a penny, but in fact he was padded up and ready to bat and a trifle miffed that he didn’t get in. Surely that was no way to treat the joint leading wicket-taker on the 7th XI’s recent tour to Somerset. Mainwaring will surely have to explain his actions at this week’s selection committee and is likely to be severely censured.

The way the Leatherhead innings started suggested Dulwich’s total was not enough. The two openers took full advantage of anything loose, particularly when Cormac Meade dropped it short, and had 43 on the board inside eight overs. But paceman Jaba Jumagul then ‘timbered’ both of them and the introduction of Graeme Hough ensured that the run rate decreased at one end at least. After a lengthy period of little bowling due to his shoulder injury, Tony (Sergeant Wilson) Ebert joined Graeme in an all-spin attack which quickened up the over rate and kept the home side interested in pursuing their target. Although Sergeant Wilson generally bowled well, he was prone to bowl the odd four-ball which the tall man on the opposition summarily despatched into the hedge around the square-leg boundary. Whenever this happened, Mainwaring at slip was seen to raise his eyebrows to the heavens as if in despair. He really should have more faith in his trusty second in command! But ‘Wilson’ still grabbed a couple of wickets, as did the ever reliable Mr Hough at the far end. The second of the latter’s victims was neatly pocketed by Private Godfrey, just a few balls after he had reluctantly joined the close catchers. The home side continued their chase, but would probably have got much closer if they had put the Dad’s Army fielders under more pressure. In the event, Jaba replaced the tiring Sergeant Wilson and captured two more wickets, but Dulwich could not force a victory and the home side closed on 171-9, the ninth wicket falling off the last ball of the 40th and final over. So the match was drawn. Jaba finished with figures of 4-37, Graeme with 2-43 off 16 overs, and Sergeant Wilson with 2-57.

Harry Chathli received the Young Man of the Match award for his innings of 25 which suggests that he is now returning to the form he showed last season.

Sat 4th June – 4th XI v Banstead

DULWICH 132 (44) lost to BANSTEAD 146 (41) by 14 runs

Scorecard

The 4th XI stumbled to a “disappointing” defeat (my words, as the skipper’s more prosaic and accurate Anglo-Saxon description is best left in the changing room) at the hands of themselves Banstead on Saturday. As ever “squad rotation” led to five changes from the team that came third at Streatham and Marlborough the week before, although the captain professed to being happy with the team looking good on paper. Sadly, that judgment was badly misplaced as we were apparently playing on grass not vellum!

For the second week running Matt defied probability by persuading the opposition captain to call wrong and duly inserted the opposition. With the teams lined up to start, the skipper finally appeared having done battle with the lock on the changing room door for 15 minutes and took his position at mid-on. Thirty seconds later, the skipper vacated said location to go and look for a match ball, firstly in the back of his old man’s car and latterly back in the changing room before finally the game started.

The opening attack of Swain and Rutherford used their contrasting styles to good effect. Jack “skip to me Lou” Rutherford gently kissing the batting surface on the cheek and extracting movement in the humid air and off the seam and Swainy, charging in from the top end, clubbing the pitch over the head with a baseball bat. It was Jack who made the first break-through, the opener totally unimpressed by Jack’s pace mistimed a sweep which lobbed into first slip’s hands. Then a collector’s item. A genuine LBW that both batsmen and bowlers agreed upon giving Jack a deserved second wicket. This was quickly followed by another LBW that met universal Dulwich approval but sadly not with the man that matters, the umpire, which prompted Jack to be removed from the attack for bowling too well. 

The skipper rang the changes which saw Lawrence Taylor (who looks a little like Andy Bailey’s bigger brother) make his bowling bow for the 4th XI. Lawrence’s first ball drew appreciative purrs from the keeper and slip cordon being fast, full and well directed prompting a repositioning of the cordon a further three yards back. This unusual method of attack (unheard of at 4th team level) brought two quick wickets with middle stump uprooted. Sadly the promised fireworks from the newly acquired IPL style bails turned out to be more like sparklers on a wet bonfire night. At the other end, it was dibble time. The Vicar finally persuading the opening bat to stop using his pads in front of middle stump and use the bat instead lobbing the ball to cover. At 80 for 5, the innings was in the balance. The number seven was given an early life when Lawrence induced an edge that Julian could only parry into his face and then drop the rebound (better just to bowl at the stumps Lawrence!). He then defended extremely well in support of the left-handed number four bat who made a very useful 40 odd whilst hitting the ball adeptly to places you would never dream of putting a fielder and in some cases don’t have a name.

The introduction of Jonny “Pebbles” Stone led to the breakthrough with 120 on the board. Persuading the left hander to give him the charge, he was adeptly stumped by Ben “where’s my jumper” Trembath. Speaking of which, if anyone has seen a well-worn “fisherman’s style” cable knit cricket jumper then please contact Ben who is in mourning. The rest of the innings passed quickly the highlight being Will “Richard Hadlee” Burgass’s perfect run up, him running through his full repertoire of 27 different slower balls and Swainy returning to club a few more seals. The innings ended somewhat farcibly with the opposition skipper being given out caught behind with half of the Dulwich side believing he hit it but opposition skipper, wicket keeper and first slip equally convinced that he didn’t get within 3 feet of the ball.

After the as usual decent Turney kitchen fare, Pebbles and Julian “Bam Bam” Dean opened up proceedings. Dean flirted with the opposition fielders lobbing the ball just out of catching range twice in the first two overs before deciding a bit of long handle was required in taking 20 from the next two overs. With the score on 30, Pebbles got a leading edge which lobbed to mid-wicket to bring in James “Gressingham” Read to the crease. James has looked in fine form all season. The trouble being that he has been getting out first and second ball. Once again he looked in fine fettle and cruised into the 20s with minimum effort with the score ticking into the 70s with 15 overs gone. Taking a liking to the young leg-spinner, James played one glorious lofted straight drive before running past one trying to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Still at 73 for 2 with 34 overs left there should still have been only one winner.

Ben entered the fray hitting his first ball sweetly for 4. However, bereft of his jumper all his magic batting powers deserted him and he departed the scene somewhat meekly in the next over. The skipper didn’t last long too top edging a pull off the opposition’s skipper (or was it a sweep!) and 73 for 1 had become 80 for 4. The opposition bowled a nice tight length and line and extracted just enough movement from the surface to make batting uncomfortable. Swainy dug in and Julian nudged nurdled and moo’ed in his normal style to take the score to 110. Julian survived a strong LBW decision having immaculately middled a forward defensive and being accused of not playing a stroke, before chaos ensued. What happened next is the subject of debate. The authors view is that the ball was to the right of the fielder who had to move a fair distance to it, that Swainy was slow in responding to the call and not backing up properly and that Guy would have got there easily, Swainy’s view of it was @@!!@@@. Nonetheless, 5 down but with less than 40 required. Steve “not a Villa Fan” Walker arrived and went being completely bamboozled by a straight one leaving the Vicar to join Julian. 

Julian somewhat becalmed and not sure whether to stick or twist, picked up the returning opening bowler for a trademark extra cover drive heave over cow corner to bring up his well constructed and attractive 50, the beneficiary of at least four lives, to take the score into the 120s. With the introduction of the sixth bowler and with overs starting to become an issue, it was a time for cool heads and a measured approach - two things for which Julian is renowned. The opposition skipper, 40 overs in, now realising that the off-side field was a waste of good man power, posted a man to deep cow, who Julian promptly found whilst trying to push the ball gently to mid-off for a single smack the ball out of Surrey. The Vicar (whose nickname had somewhat confused Steve earlier) offered up a prayer for salvation. Sadly if he hadn’t been doing this whilst facing he may not have got bowled and we were down to Jack and Will.

Jack has pretensions to being a batsman (much like Gilo!) and with Will who gives the ball a good biff we still had a chance of getting close. Jack played the most immaculate clip off his pads second delivery, making sweet contact and sending the ball sailing towards the mid-wicket boundary. Sadly, the flight of the ball was rudely interrupted by the mid-wicket fielder who didn’t have to move. Enter Lawrence. A couple of ball survived and Will surmised that it was up to him to win the game and do it quickly. A few lusty blows took us to within striking distance but the need to farm the strike proved too much, with Will only able to lob the ball so short mid-off.

A disappointing end to a game that we were always going to win, until we lost and a salutary lesson from the opposition in never giving up, executing your skills to the maximum and building pressure.

Sat 4th June – 3rd XI v Malden Wanderers

DULWICH 207-4 (40.1) beat MALDEN WANDERERS 206 (52.3) by 6 wickets

Scorecard

The 3rd XI’s unbeaten start to the season continued with a comprehensive victory away at Malden Wanderers who were in second place at the start of the game. The team gathered in timely fashion, except for Messrs. Peters and Morris who once again showed poor cross-London navigational skills. Overnight stays will be booked for the lengthier trips to Reigate and Ashtead.

With captain Graeme Hough in particular still bearing the scars of the heavy defeat and his own bowling statistics from last year’s fixture (not helped by constant reminders from keeper Andy Bailey!) the bowlers eyed the incredibly short boundaries with trepidation, whilst the batsmen were licking their lips. The pitch was damp after the midweek rain but looked good, and the first part of the game plan went well with DCC’s skipper winning the toss and inserting the opposition.

Jeremy Jones and David Knightbridge opened up and quickly found a good rhythm. Knighty struck early when one of the four keepers in the team, Andrew Inglis, took a blinding catch at second slip without gloves on. After this, patience was in order as Malden’s batsmen settled in, with their captain showing a particular liking for the pull shot which DCC’s opening bowlers began to increasingly feed. Sam Hunt replaced Knightbridge and bowled a jaffa first up to take the second wicket, followed by what felt like five full tosses! Sunil Isaac replaced Jones with the captain very nervous about introducing spin with batsmen set. Malden’s opener was proving obdurate and their number four showed an interesting technique but could hit the ball. With the score now over 100 with just two wickets down time for some F&G.

Captain Hough replaced Isaac and stuffed keeper Bailey first ball down the leg side for four byes – that will teach him! – but he quickly settled in to a rhythm and took the 3rd wicket bowling Malden’s captain. Dan Peters had entered the fray by this time with his full toss count and ratio well down on last week, but he still tested law 42.6 every now and again. Yes, reference to law 42.6 is getting boring now but people should read and understand it and, even better, stop bowling high full tosses !! Comedy moment of the day was a full toss no ball from Peters, catch at long on, batsmen sets off for a run, run out completed. All part of a Peters’ cunning plan!

145 for 3 quickly became 178 for 9 as Hough and Peters turned the screw aided and abetted by an excellent fielding performance (which does not get written often!). An annoying last wicket partnership took Malden’s score to 206 all out – Hough four wickets and Peters with two.

After tea, John Morris and James Chudley strode out with 48 overs to chase down the total. Some tight early bowling saw just 7 runs off the first 6 overs. With a good pitch and small boundaries no need to panic you would have thought, though the captain needs little invitation so was beginning to. He really should have more faith as Morris and Chudley began to unleash the ball to all parts – Chudley strong off his legs, Morris on the pull shot. But shot of the day was a booming 6 from Morris over long off from their young quickie who, it turned out after, had begun to rile Mr Morris – not a wise move.

The partnership moved to 100 before Chudley was dismissed for a valuable 37 – he must have been getting a bit tired the poor soul! Morris continued plundering boundaries and was joined by Sam Tennant who quickly got in to his stride and played some pleasing shots before he was out for 33 with the score on 159. Not over and still plenty of time for a ‘Dulwich wobble’. Although Inglis came and went and Morris eventually departed for an excellent 76 – a previously thought of impossible run 3 on such a small ground maybe tipped him over the edge – Hunt and Bailey saw Dulwich home with 8 overs to spare.

Whilst the team downed a well-earned post match drink, Malden thanked umpire Chris Reardon by inviting him to down three shots which he did with consummate ease – legend!

Five out of five wins, top of the league so the excellent start continues. No time for let up, however, as testing fixtures at Spencer and Reigate loom. Standards, confidence and team spirit are high with the strength in depth of the Club clearly evident giving genuine competition for places. What is most pleasing to see is that valuable contributions to victories are coming from different players and there is less reliance on a handful of key players with bat or ball.

Sat 4th June – 2nd XI v Beddington

DULWICH 81-0 (13.5) beat BEDDINGTON 77 (32.2) by 10 wickets

Scorecard

After winning three of the first four games of the season, the 2nd XI surged into a promotion spot and second place in the league with a convincing 10 wicket win over Beddington.

The first timed game of the season began with an extensive warm up, with newcomer Henry Hazlewood showing particular prowess on the football pitch to lead caps to a gritty 3-2 victory over their hapless hatless colleagues. There were early signs that the kickabout might be the top-order’s only exertion of the day, as ex-Beddington skipper Raj Tulsiani engaged himself in a rambunctious kickboxing warm up, highlighting his motivation to prove a point to his former club.

The disappointment of few low-flying aircraft was tempered by Dulwich being put into the field in overcast and humid conditions, a decision comparable Hussain at the Gabba. Skipper James Bridgland opened from the Sewage Works End and put in a devastating spell of medium-fast bowling from which Beddington never recovered. At 0 for 1, 9 for 3 and 11 for 5 the opposition top order was demolished in fine fashion by Bridgland, supported by Chris Hope (2/18) and Matt Quaife (1/10). Not to be kept out of the game Tulsiani took two excellent slip catches, whilst the Dulwich bowling performance was only tainted by a failure to convert any of three hat-trick opportunities.

A hint of resistance was provided by a partnership between the Beddington captain and keeper, however, Patrick George showed Aristotelian cunning to break the partnership through a sharp stumping by Ajmal Patanker behind the sticks. Bridgland returned to the attack for a third spell, removing his fourth off-stump of the afternoon to finish with the talismanic returns of 12.3-6-19-6.

Despite being required after just 33 overs, tea was a well prepared affair with a good hot and cold selection including crowd pleasing roast potatoes and a choice of doughnut. Determined to get their match-fees worth, the middle-order tucked in as heavily as the bowlers, whilst openers Tulsiani and Nick Hudson strode out past an expletive-filled Beddington huddle who seemed determined to not go down without a fight.

For the second week in a row, Tulsiani smashed the first ball for four and set the tone for the innings. At times floating like a butterfly (though only to farm the strike), the Croydonite was ruthless in an innings of 56 from 53 balls. Ably supported by Hudson (14 from 31), the opening pair broke the resolve of the opposition before calmly seeing Dulwich home without loss.

As news came in of successes elsewhere for Kamran Munawar and birthday-boy John Morris, the 2nd XI headed out for a team-building trip to East Dulwich with the heady scents of success and positivity in the air. They say that a strong 2nd XI makes for a strong club, and there are signs that success in the first timed game of the summer will set the bar for the rest of a promotion-chasing year.