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Sun 7th Aug – Development XI v Catford & Cyphers

DULWICH 175-3 (39.4) beat CATFORD & CYPHERS 172 (37) by 7 wickets

An unbeaten century from Chris Stone guided a young Development Team containing nine teenagers to a fine win against a fairly experienced Catford & Cyphers eleven at the DSG on Sunday. The margin of victory might appear convincing, but the winning runs were scored with only two balls to spare.

The visitors won the toss and elected to take first knock in this 40 overs a side contest. Dulwich’s opening attack was rather wayward and Catford, despite losing one of their openers for a duck, had 37 runs on the board inside five overs. Gradually the Dulwich bowlers exercised greater control and wickets fell at regular intervals. However, their number four bat posed a real threat with a series of fine attacking strokes and so long as he was at the crease Catford were on course for a sizeable total. But U13 off-spinner Ben Hoffmann had the danger man caught at long on by Pat George for 59 and despite a frustrating ninth wicket stand, Dulwich eventually dismissed their opponents for a total of 172 in the 37th over.

U16 medium pacer Oscar Osmond captured the first two wickets and returned to take the last two as well, finishing with figures of 4-37. Robbie Matthews took 1-25, whilst the remaining wickets were shared by the three spinners, Jonny Stone (2-30) Pat George (2-32) and Ben Hoffmann (1-30).

Dulwich’s reply could not have got off to a worse start. Jonny Stone was bowled by the first ball of the innings, dashing any hopes of an opening stand with his elder brother. But Chris dug in in his usual solid style and found a more than useful ally in U14 Cormac Meade. Chris dominated the early scoring as the pair built a platform for victory but Cormac blossomed as the partnership grew and the run rate increased. Chris punished anything loose and glided past his half-century, whilst Cormac followed suit and hit seven boundaries before being caught behind for 44. Together they had put on a second wicket stand of 132, leaving Dulwich just 41 short of victory with ten overs remaining. Mario Lambrette hit a quick boundary but perished soon after, 136-3. Pat George then joined Chris Stone and the two 19-year-olds kept the score ticking over nicely as the target approached. Chris eventually reached his century, having also made a ton in the corresponding fixture last year, and when the final over started just two runs were required with Pat on strike. A few finger nails were chewed by his watching team-mates as Pat failed to make contact with the first three deliveries, but he hammered the fourth ball to the mid-wicket boundary for four and Dulwich were home and dry…. but only just!

Cormac Meade received the team’s Young Man of the Match award for his invaluable partnership with Chris Stone and his knock of 44 – his highest score in senior cricket. Well done, Cormac!

Sat 6th Aug – 3rd XI v Malden Wanderers

DULWICH 242-2 (50) beat MALDEN WANDERERS 122 (40.2) by 120 runs


The 3rd XI’s championship challenge got back on track at DSG on Saturday with a comprehensive victory over mid-table Malden Wanderers as the format reverted back to the 50 over win/lose format. Victory was assured through a dominant batting performance, followed up by an efficient bowling display. The team was much changed once again with only four players surviving for various reasons from the previous week’s heavy defeat to Walton-on-Thames, and resembled much more of a 3rd team line up with a decent top 6 batting line up (well, top 5 plus Andy Bailey at 6) and an impressive array and variety of bowlers.

Skipper Graeme Hough once again won the toss (12 out of 13!) and chose to bat first on what looked like a decent DSG wicket, and in welcome sunshine. Chris Stone returned from his mini-tour of Europe and Oliver Steward from his poorly finger. Both set about setting the foundation and got things off to a rattling start at close to five an over against Malden’s seamers. Steward dominated the early proceedings playing some pleasing drives and clips off his legs, with Stone playing more of the anchor role. 50 was soon passed and the openers seen off. However, the introduction of left arm spinner Walters soon showed that the pitch was a bit of a ‘bunsen’.

Having looked comfortable on making his way to 44 Steward was then surprisingly stumped off Walters. As he trudged off muttering expletives the rest of the team were unsure whether this was aimed at himself or the decision – it turned out to be the former. Having racked up a number of TFCs in the 2nd team, and suffered immense pain for a few weeks with his sore finger, it was good to see him finding form albeit in August. Matt Balch, himself the holder of quite a few TFCs recently, joined Stone but immediately looked in fairly good nick. As his loud calling reverberated around Dulwich and its environs he continued to push the score along with Stone.

With Stone having rid himself of a bit of rustiness it was then a surprise to see him bowled for 31 playing back to Malden’s fairly impressive young leg spinner Morgan. The ‘Bearded Wonder’ Andy Cornick joined the fray at no. 4 with the score just past 100 close to the halfway point. The entrance of AC to the crease always brings a sigh to umpire Chris Reardon who knows he is going to be talked to death when AC is at the non-striker’s end – Andy likes nothing more than a chat with anyone in his vicinity. Both batted reasonably circumspectly to start with but were quick to punish anything loose. The spinners were eventually bowled out with the score continuing at around 4 runs per over. With plenty of eager batsmen waiting in the hutch a score well in excess of 200 was on.

On and on Balch and Cornick went, as poor no. 5 Jonny Stone’s pad rash began to set in. The last five overs saw a significant increase in tempo and the end came at a challenging 242 for 2 after 50 overs with Balch an excellent 84* and Cornick a more supporting, but still impressive, 47*.

As Dulwich took the field after tea, the 2nd team on the adjacent pitch were just walking off after walloping Beddington. The 3rd XI knew that the second half would be played in front of a welcome, but vociferous and increasingly boozy, crowd. Not quite the Western Terrace at Headingly but plenty of advice to bowlers, fielders and captain would be offered – why not, as the 2nd XI are such a talented array of cricketers who never, ever, ever make any mistakes….

Back to the game skipper Hough decided to relegate Jeremy Jones to one of the change bowlers as Chris Hape/Hope and Ian ‘Level 2’ Toppin opened up. No room for complacency and early wickets were the order of the day. Hopey/Hapey probed his usual miserly line and length whilst Level 2 took on the role of ‘destroyer-in-chief’. Bowling with some pace he castled one of Malden’s openers and induced a lobbed up catch off the other. This was quickly followed by a catch behind to keeper Andy Bailey, another one bowled whilst Hapey also got in on the act bowling another. At five down and less than 30 on board the game was as good as over. This could have been 6 down and a 5-for for Toppin but Steward had spilled one at slip after manfully offering to field there despite only just returning from one of the worst finger injuries in history…

With the damage done Toppin was given a rest and Ben Swanson introduced to provide some classical left arm spin. Swanson quickly settled in to a groove beating the bat with regularity. With Hape bowled out (1-23) the skipper came on for a twirl and also found prodigious turn and bounce. Malden’s middle order went in to cross bat mode and the ball on numerous occasions fell agonisingly in to gaps. But the end was nigh and it was just a matter of time as the run rate required by now was close to 8 an over. Hough got a wicket through a fine one handed catch from Balch and Swanson bowled another. Jeremy Jones – the best 3rd change bowler in the league – replaced Hough whilst Swanson rattled through to complete his 10 overs capturing another (2-32). Jones induced a catch to Hapey at mid-on off that most dangerous of balls, the full toss.

At 9 down and with Toppin re-introduced to replace Swanson it was just a matter of whether Toppers would complete his 5-for, or whether Jonesy would spoil the fun. In the end it was the latter as the final wicket fell to a simple catch at point by Chris Stone (no brotherly love in action here as younger brother Jonny was due to bowl the next over). Toppin ended with an excellent 4 for 34 and Jones 2 for 9.

So a comprehensive win and a good all round performance which sets the team up well for the final run in when all three of the other challengers are to be played, starting with Reigate at DSG next week. With a similar strength of team there is no reason why the season cannot be kept alive down to the wire.

Close call for man of the match between Balch and Toppin, but the former just edges it for his innings.

Sat 6th Aug – 2nd XI v Beddington

DULWICH 79-2 (15.1) beat BEDDINGTON 78 (29.5) by 8 wickets


Dulwich faced Beddington on a warm summer Saturday at the DSG. Availability had been far stronger this week, with John 'Daddy' Morris, hero of Addiscombe and father(-figure) to all those under the age of 26, suffering the indignity of being dropped and recalled within two days. Skipper Bridgland returned from his groin strain having been given the 'all-clear' from a physio recommended by Raj 'The Tulsman' Tulsiani. Bridgland informed us that his recovery had been thanks to a series a streches which involved standing firm and clenching his buttocks. The Tulsman, fearing that he had given Bridgland the wrong number, grinned sheepishly. Also returning was underaged paceman Sam 'McLovin' Ellison, whom Daddy Morris asked 'How is it going with the Ladies?'. McLovin replied 'It is not the "going" I'm worried about…but the "coming"'; Daddy Morris was overwhelmed with fatherly pride.

Bridgland won the toss and elected to bowl, much to the dismay of the Beddington skipper. Bridgland shared the new pill with Hawaiian native McLovin, and was immediately successful thanks to an intimidating long-hop. McLovin followed suit, bowling Beddington's number 3 with one of the best balls of the day. By the end of their opening spell, the pair had removed five of the Beddington batsmen thanks to some good bowling and poor shot selection. With Beddington in disarray, wicket-thief and professional northerner James 'Thirsty' Hirst was brought into the attack. Without any provocation, Thirsty regaled the batsmen with a tale of his new mystery ball dubbed the 'Poosra'. The Poosra, whose precise definition is unknown even to Thirsty, is probably a half-tracker which squelches as it lands thus confounding the Batsmen. Needless to say, it was surely bowled and Thirsty, in combination with Daddy Morris' shorts enthusiast Chris Woakes five years ago Matt 'Up-and-Down' Quaife, winkled out the remaining batsmen for just 78. One dismissal was of note as it coincided with discussion of the title of Tino Best's new autobiography between Steve 'AJ' Patanker and Euan 'Chaos Engine' Johnson.

Tea had come embarassingly early, and those of us who were still picking lunch out of our teeth went over to watch the conclusion of the 3rd XI innings and another Matt Balch red inker.

Play had resumed to the surprise of the majority of the team. The Tulsman was opening with Andy 'The VP' Inglis. The Tulsman carved up the opening bowlers with a flourishing blade whilst the VP took advantage of an 8-1 offside field. Both were playing with panache and brio, until the Tulsman got a fine edge behind for 27. This brought this reporter to the crease, eager to prove my worth and merit Bridgland's trust. I was to do neither as I was bowled by a yorker first ball. I lumbered back to the hutch, and, once again, wallowed in my chagrin. Fortunately, the Chaos Engine was determined to not get out, even as he found the middle of his gloves early on. The VP continued and finished with 43 not out as he brought victory to Dulwich without any further falter.

Following confirmation of promotion, via Pat 'TFC' George's untrustworthy friend, much beer was imbibed especially by Thirsty who was last seen chinning three pints in thirty seconds.

Sat 6th Aug – 4th XI v Banstead

DULWICH 198 (42.3) beat BANSTEAD 187 (39.5) by 11 runs


League leaders Dulwich travelled to second-placed Banstead for a top-of-the table clash, the format reverting from time to limited overs. Captain Peters lost the toss but was happy enough to be put in on a scorching afternoon, with a fast outfield and a short square boundary on one side. With Zeeshan cutting his arrival a little too fine to take his customary opener's position, Peters led partner Irvine out to the middle, puffed out his not-inconsiderable chest and wasted no time destroying the hearts, minds and souls of the Banstead opening bowlers. A top-edged pull for six in the third over was followed by four successive boundaries in the fourth, including a bludgeoning straight drive, a head-high no ball thumbed over the keeper and a good length ball edged though second slip's hands. Banstead's youthful first change bowler had clearly not learnt the adage 'they that sow the wind must reap the whirlwind' as he recklessly engaged Captain Peters in some 'chat', only to be told, as Peters dispatched the next ball past the oldest fielder to the longest part of the boundary: 'Watch me run four off your bowling. Just watch me." El Capitano brought up his 50 in just the seventh over wih a brutal square cut and a couple of sand wedges over midwicket. With Irvine playing an excellent foil, running excellently between the wickets and hitting the odd classy boundary, the hundred partnership came up in the 15th over. Dulwich were bossing it. 

However, Banstead's introduction of calmer heads and slower deliveries dragged back the scoring rate and soon Alex chipped to mid off for an excellent 34. Zeeshan took his customary three seconds to assess the pitch conditions before engaging in a personal game of one-upmanship with the field, blasting a four over mid on and next ball, with the man now at long on, smashing a six into the field behind him. The long-on conquest having thus been achieved, Zeeshan targeted the off side only to find the fielder at his first attempt. From a highwater mark of 140 for 1, Dulwich lost four wickets for one run thanks to some poor shot selection and some excellently impartial umpiring from Knightly. Captain Peters, with a triple-century in his sights, joined the general malaise and missed a heave to be bowled for a belligerent 86. Benny Lester's Michael Vaughan impression was excellent for a while but, with Banstead bowling with much greater control, scoring opportunities dried up and Dulwich scored only 26 from the last 10 overs. The innings finished when young Max Swanson disappointingly opted not to reverse switch hit his first ball, as all youngsters are taught to do these days, and instead middled a classical late cut straight to first slip. Swainy was left high and dry and secretly thrilled with an unbeaten 8 that doubled his batting average for the season. Banstead had fought back superbly and 193 was an eminently gettable target on a pitch that was still good for batting.

Nonethless, after an excellent tea, Dulwich came out confident that their bewildering array of bowling options would get them home. A neat catch by Will Burgass off Sunil was just reward for a controlled opening spell but Banstead settled in well. At 60-odd for 1, with opener Mayor and the dangerous Sultan starting to open up, Dulwich needed a bit of magic and sure enough Lester produced a delivery straight from the bottom drawer – a loopy long-hop that was toed to Alex at square leg. Shortly afterwards Mayor was pinned on the back foot by a ripping off break slow full toss but the umpire remained unmoved. It was at this point that the match became somewhat needly. Will had begun a steady spell at one end but it was Lester's wiles that suckered out two more wickets, including Mayor to an excellent running catch at deep mid wicket by Alex. Banstead however were well ahead of the run rate and moving steadily towards the target, with 55 needed off 15 overs and six wickets in hand. With a last desperate throw of the dice, Captain Peters summoned Knighty back to the top end. Charging in down the hill like an 80-year old Caucasian Patrick Patterson, Knighty unleashed the proverbial 'pace like fire'. His first ball was gloved to Captain Peters. Five down. His fourth flew off the edge to Pickles at slip, who almost wet himself with joy at holding onto the chance. Swainy had begun an excellent spell at the other end and suddenly Dulwich were back in it. The equation had narrowed to 30 with 4 wickets left when Knighty- Captain Peters conjoined joyously once again to produce another wicket-child. Ten nail-biting runs later Swainy got another one to nibble into Captain Peters gloves, then sharp work from Will at gully next ball made it nine down. Knightly's last over was successfully repelled and with plenty of overs still remaining to get the runs, Dulwich needed a wicket to seal it. Swainy got pumped over mid off for four but next ball jagged one back into the stumps off a mixture of inside edge and pad. Cue celebrations. 

Dulwich's win opens up a 17 point lead at the top but there's no room for complacency as they travel to Reigate next week.

Sat 6th Aug – 6th XI v Streatham & Marlborough

DULWICH 160 lost to STREATHAM & MARLBOROUGH 203 by 43 runs

In the mid 70'S the DCC First Team was a superb Cricket match winning machine: (Surrey Championship winners 3 years running and runners up in the 1976 National KnockOut Competition. It was a team that contained not one, but two West Indian fast bowlers, an Australian leg spinner of unerring accuracy and a fast scoring batsman who was later to play a number of Test Matches for the "green baggies". Peter Rice and David Woods also played. One of the fast bowlers (Joe Fortune) still retains the unique distinction  of hitting the bowl over the Pavilion roof from the far end. The team also contained a young silkily wristy left handed batsman who could also bowl tantalisingly unreadable leg breaks and Googlies. After 41 years, Sajid Khan made a welcome return to the club.

DCC 6th's took the field with a side with a team that boasted a 78 year old wicket keeper, a 14 year old opening bowler, a blind deaf 69 year old opening batsman and, of course, the aforementioned Sajid. How would this heady mixture fare against the same team that had defeated them by 50 runs as recently as the previous week?

It was something of a relief to discover that few of last week's S&M team were actually playing in this match. Their free scoring opening bat had been replaced by "Wacka" (an old adversary, but it is fair to say, one who has seen better days). S&M's batsmen wasted no time establishing their authority and it was not until Khan was brought on to bowl, did Dulwich manage to take a wicket. Khan's first for DCC for 41 years.  Nevertheless, S&M managed to accrue 203 runs from their allotted 40 overs and Dulwich returned to the dressing room at tea, with some resolve, but with little supporting evidence to back up this fortitude: having been dismissed for 83 last week.

Gibson and Khan set out on their quest with some early brio, however, and 36 runs were scored in the first 4 overs. Gibson had scored 35 fewer runs than Khan at this point, but was perfectly happy to play Rosencrantz to Khan's Hamlet. At this point, however, (as in all classic tragedies) fate took a hand. Khan played the ball past mid wicket with yet another wristy on drive and set off for a run. The ball was hurled in from the outfield but misfielded by the bowler. Was there a second run to be had? Gibson and Khan debated this issue in mid pitch at some length, along with the issues thrown up by the Brexit referendum and whether global warming was a reality, finally reaching a consensus that there might be a second run. In an act of self-destruction, similar to that of  the eponymous hero in "Antony & Cleopatra", Gibson threw himself upon his sword in order to preserve the wicket of the hitherto free scoring Sajid Khan and was Run Out by several yards. It is to be hoped that the selection committee will take note of this selfless gesture when they continue their deliberations for next week's teams. This dismissal was all the more galling for the hapless Gibson, as several members of the Squash Club were watching and they wasted no time in making certain ribald comments about Gibson's lack of athleticism. In order to console himself Gibson purchased a consolation bottle of Erdinger Weiss Beer and scored for the rest of the match. 

Meanwhile, Khan continued to "roll back the years" with a series of drives, pulls and cuts and, at one point, it seemed that S&M would be avenged at the first opportunity. Ably assisted by "greenhorns" Osmond, Meade and Gouvraj, all of whom batted with great maturity in their shot selection and manipulation of the bowling in trying to get the "potential match winner" on strike as often as possible. Khan duly arrived majestically at his century when the Dulwich innings suffered another tragic blow: in attempting another mighty blow to the long on boundary Khan found himself brilliantly caught by a youthful member of the S&M team. A catch of such excellence, that one almost felt it had no place in a game between two 6th XI's. As is the way of things, it transformed the game and the rest of Dulwich's "mature" batting order folded up rather like a timid bunch of Herdwicks being shepherded into the fold for the night. 160 all out. The game finally concluded in the small hours of Sunday morning due to the necessity for several drinks breaks and the when the Dulwich captain stopped proceedings to provide each member of the team a Maynard's Wine Gum when 4 wickets had been taken.