DULWICH 68 (34.3) lost to WALTON ON THAMES 147 (53.2) by 79 runs
The 3rd XI’s championship challenge was seriously dented with a comprehensive defeat to Walton-on-Thames at DSG on Saturday. You generally get what you deserve so no complaints at all as Dulwich’s bowling was generally below par and the batting capitulated against a surprisingly strong and disciplined opposition seam attack. But all credit to Walton-on-Thames who it is hoped avoid relegation as they were a good bunch who played the game in the right spirit.
Whilst not intended as an excuse in any way the batting line up was seriously affected by non-availability throughout the Club and late changes. But thanks to all those who stepped up, particularly those at the last minute. No one performs below par on purpose – it was just one of those days.
Skipper Graeme Hough won the toss once again (11 out of 12!) and inserted Walton on what looked the usual, good DSG wicket – something in it for bowlers and batsmen. Jeremy Jones and Ian ‘Level 2’ Toppin opened the bowling. However both were wayward as the opposition raced to 30 off 4 overs through a combination of wides and four balls. With a spin dominated attack, Hough persevered rather reluctantly with the openers and was rewarded by Jones snaring Walton’s dangerous looking opener, caught behind by Peters. Level 2 also began to find some rhythm and the captain’s faith was rewarded soon after with two excellent catches at first slip by Julian Dean off a couple of beauties from Toppin.
Despite Jones’s wicket runs were still coming too easily so Hough brought himself in to the attack early to try to bring some calm to the proceedings. As the runs were dried up at one end, Toppin found an excellent rhythm at the other and Dulwich began to exert some ascendancy. Hough got an LBW and, on drinks, an over the top bit of acrobatics from Andrew Swain at short midwicket meant Walton were 5 down at the halfway point as Hough bagged another. Toppin’s marathon stint (2-36 off 13) was brought to an end soon after drinks – an excellent spell apart from his first three overs.
Ben Lester’s more flighty off spin was introduced but he struggled for consistency, as did James ‘The Pickler’ Pickles when he followed. Meanwhile Hough continued at one end having snared another LBW. Jez Jones was brought back as Walton’s 7th wicket partnership began to take Walton to respectability. Despite runs continuing Jones took wickets on a regular basis and ended with the team’s first 5-for of the season, ending with 5-47 off 11 overs representing an excellent comeback in his second spell.
Meanwhile skipper Hough had just bowled… and bowled… and then bowled some more at one end to get through 23 overs for 3 wickets, conceding just 20 runs and including 10 maidens. Without this control things may have been a lot worse than Walton’s eventual 147 all out in the 54th over.
With 47 overs to chase 148 the task was not a daunting one, on paper at least. But Walton’s excellent early control with the ball and keenness in the field quickly had Dulwich in trouble at 3 for 3 after 4 overs with JD, Zeeshan and Dan Peters having departed. Suddenly 148 seemed a mile away. Imran Iqbal-Mian and Jonny Stone began to repair the damage with some solid defence but Walton offered few balls to hit and the situation warranted circumspection.
Having frustrated Walton for a number of overs Jonny Stone eventually departed for a hard-fought and patient 16. Andrew Swain joined Imran to inch the score forward but fell shouldering arms to Walton’s incisive and accurate change bowlers. The end was getting close and neither Lester nor Pickles offered much resistance and Imran succumbed trying to push the score along after the drinks break. Only pride remained and the fact that the watching 2nd team wanted some entertainment. However, they got little even though captain Hough struck a few late blows but both Jones and Toppin fell to Walton’s flighty leg spinner to end the innings on a pretty feeble 68 all out in the 35th over.
This loss – only the second of the season it should be stressed – pushed Dulwich back to the 3rd place with 5 matches left. There is time to repair the damage but better availability in the Club and performances by the team are required.
Thanks to Chris Reardon for umpiring at both ends once again and to John Lawrence for scoring.