DULWICH 265-8 dec (47.5) beat OXTED & LIMPSFIELD 149 (47.1) by 116 runs
Dulwich travelled to leading promotion challengers Oxted and Limpsfield and were greeted not only by sunshine but a pitch that looked like an absolute belter for batting. The team arrived early, despite a detour to pick up Toppers’ spikes and the plethora of cyclists along the country roads. The warm up started well with a little footy, but quickly deteriorated when the fielding started. After a short game of “how far can you miss the stumps by”, we switched to “how far can you throw it over the vertically challenged wicket keeper”. The team nailed the drills only to be scolded by the opposition skipper as the balls smashed into the pavilion and spectators.
After 15 minutes in the naughty corner stand-in skipper Steward proceeded to lose the toss and Dulwich were inserted to bat. Tulsiani and Stoner strode purposely to the crease to start the innings and were getting the scoreboard ticking before Stone edged the opposing skipper behind, or so we thought. A helmet throw and a couple of solitary laps indicated that Stone felt a bit hard done to. Tulsiani (28) was starting to tick, with boundaries all-round the wicket and literally no singles, until he unexpectedly slapped a full toss to cover.
At 33-2, O&L felt well in the game, but out strode Hazelwood with his eye on a big score, caressing his first fall off the back foot through the covers. This reporter would like to say the following 35 overs or so were chanceless, but Hazelwood made the most of a couple of drops (of varying difficultly) like any good batsmen and deservedly went on to complete his hundred with a procession of boundaries. He was ably supported by Rostami, Ferguson and Munawar who all chipped in with 20s in a number of useful partnerships. Hazelwood eventually fell, “tired” (played on), but a late flurry from the ‘licence to swing’ lower order propelled the Doggies to 265-8 from 47.5 overs.
Tea was a solid affair with plenty of opportunity to overeat. A particular highlight was the home made chocolate brownie, which would have been all the more enjoyable if we had won the toss and were batting second.
Back of the field the mood was nevertheless positive with captain Steward even bringing out a lid in preparation for some time at short leg later in the innings (mistake number 1). Toppin and Munawar got us underway with some bowling resembling the ‘help yourself’ teas we had just consumed and the O&L openers tucked in greedily, dispatching anything loose to the boundary. At 49-0 off 8 overs the chase was well and truly on.
The opposing skipper (who gets full match-fee value by opening the batting and the bowling) by now was chirping positively about how he was disappointed Bridgland wasn’t in the ranks so that he could put him to the sword as revenge for the earlier fixture in the season. A lapse in concentration/decent nut from Munawar saw him on his way a few balls later. A couple more runs and suddenly all hell broke loose; Munawar first pinning the other opener LBW before nicking off the number four first ball via a smart catch from Hirsty at second slip. Munawar, keen to deliver his hat-trick ball, had to wait due to the crazy rule that you only bowl six balls an over, even if you are on a hat-trick…
Meanwhile first change veteran, and self-confessed most underrated bowler in the club, Ferguson (3-29) fooled the batsman at the other end into leaving one that nipped back to take the top of off-stump. Three wickets had dropped for no runs in eight balls and Steward went on the attack. Bringing everyone in for the hat-trick ball, and himself into third slip (mistake number 2), a carbon copy of Munawar’s second wicket was shelled by the skipper leading to a particularly nasty cut, “open dislocation” and fracture, for those that understand that sort of thing.
As Steward set off for A&E, vice-captain Ferguson stepped up to the plate and in tandem with Munawar reduced the home side to 97-7. The highlight of this passage being specialist sledger Hirsty participating in mind games with “Charlie”, who eventually tried to knock his head off at silly mid-off and only succeeded in giving a return catch to the bowler. Charlie did get a brief bit of karma when Hirst was eventually struck on the shin from a fierce drive later in the innings.
O&L then dug in, making it as hard as possible for Dulwich to collect full points. The eighth wicket partnership was eventually broken by Rostrami who hadn’t bowled this much heat since he was 21 – just over 20 years ago. The tail was eventually mopped up by a beauty from Munawar (5-47) and a ‘loopy’ from Hirst with just under six overs remaining.
A good all round performance from the team, although areas for improvement as always. The big downer being Steward’s injury which will see him miss a number of weeks – the boys wish him a speedy recovery and still expect to see him with a pint supporting/berating from the boundary edge. The team sit top of the table, thanks to Cranleighs slip up, but no complacency will be allowed as we host Old Whits on Saturday.