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Sat 9th July – 2nd XI v Oxted & Limpsfield

DULWICH 265-8 dec (47.5) beat OXTED & LIMPSFIELD 149 (47.1) by 116 runs

Scorecard

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.

Sat 2nd July – 3rd XI v Wimbledon

DULWICH 158-10 (42.5) lost to WIMBLEDON 267-7 (45.5) by 109 runs

Scorecard

The 3rd XI got a thorough reality check at DSG on Saturday as they were comprehensively beaten and outplayed by a strong Wimbledon side.  Whilst Dulwich had a rare off day all credit to Wimbledon who took the game to Dulwich from the off and did not take their foot off the gas all day.  However, heads should not be down too much as this represented the 3rd XI’s first defeat of the season at the halfway point.  Sometimes it is just not your day.

With showers forecast skipper Graeme Hough once again won the toss and invited Wimbledon to bat.  The first ominous sign came immediately as Jeremy Jones’s first ball was a perfectly reasonable one, but which was effortlessly clipped through midwicket for four by Wimbledon’s skipper Eddison.  With Ian Toppin operating at the other end to Jones they troubled the Wimbledon openers occasionally but anything loose was routinely dispatched to the boundary.  With the 50 brought up at around 5 an over it was clear it might be a long day in the field.  Toppin eventually bowled one of the openers, but this did not stop the runs flowing.

Skipper Hough replaced Jones and was soon swept for four and summarily dispatched for six over long off.  Ben Lester replaced Toppin and his first ball was a juicy full shot, which Eddison hit straight to deep square leg for a welcome, if fortuitous, wicket.  In the course of his innings, Eddison passed 500 runs for the season which is a monumental effort and not a surprise as he played many pleasing shots all around the wicket.

It should not go without passing at this point that, however well Wimbledon had played in the early stages, Dulwich did not help themselves by shelling numerous catches.  A clear area for improvement and one of those things that seemed to become contagious, and certainly does not help the bowlers or general spirit and morale.

The rest of Wimbledon’s innings continued in the same vein with the run rate increasing to six an over.  Although Hough eventually exerted a small degree of control (in relative terms) runs were coming freely at both ends as the bowling changes became more frequent.  Only the introduction of Matt Balch (too late with hindsight) put the brakes on, as well as making the scoreboard look more respectable as he bagged four wickets at less than four runs an over – exceptional in the circumstances.  But continued hard hitting, errant bowling, average at best fielding saw Wimbledon able to declare after 45 overs with a mammoth 267 on the board with three batsmen making 50s – all at a run a ball.

With 55 overs to bat, a small boundary in places, this was a gettable score and Dulwich’s batsmen seemed up for the challenge at tea.  What was needed was a good start that would enable a push later with wickets in hand.  That grand plan soon went out of the window as Dulwich were fairly quickly reduced to 27 for 3 with the two Guys  (Woodgate and Skinner) plus Balch all departing to a mixture of good bowling and less good shots.  Thoughts of victory were diminishing fast but Andrew Inglis (35) and Euan Johnson (21) dug in and began to score more freely taking the score to 75 for 3.  At which point Johnson saw a quick single…..to short midwicket….and the inevitable run out followed.

Wickets then fell at a regular rate though Bailey (32*) and Jones (19) added some respectability against more easy pickings from some of Wimbledon’s change bowlers.  But the inevitable happened and the return of Wimbledon’s quicker bowlers soon brought the innings to a close at 158 all out in the 43rd over.  So no big scores in the batting, good bowling from Wimbledon and indifferent shots all led to a comprehensive down to earth defeat.

With 6 wins out of 9, one defeat and a drop to 3rd place it is vital that the team re-groups for the matches ahead.  You do not become bad players or a bad team overnight and the measure of a good team is how you respond to setbacks like this.  With Reigate improving to 2nd spot and with Spencer on our heels, Dulwich are one of four teams well clear of the rest and the winners will come out of this group.  As the lowest ranked team in the league by some way, to be mixing with these teams at the top is a credit to the players and the strength at this level in the Club.  It is vital, however, that the second half of the season does not just drift into anonymity.

Onwards, and hopefully upwards, to Sunbury next Saturday,

Sat 2nd July – 2nd XI v Esher

DULWICH 180-9 (50.5) beat ESHER 119 (30.1) by 61 runs

Scorecard

In a week of both political and sporting upsets, title chasing Dulwich were very aware of the threat of an Esher side at the other end of the table.

After a warmup overshadowed by Scott Styris Matt Quaife’s quite frankly horrendous ‘80s red Adidas short shorts, skipper Bridgland finally lost a toss and Dulwich were put in to bat on yet another wet afternoon at the DSG.

Tulsiani (or ‘The Tulsman’ as he likes to call himself on WhatsApp) started in typical fashion with his powerful hitting down the ground and minimal running between the wickets. Another week, another jinx from our skipper – “Raj never gets caught at mid-off” – rather predictably, two balls later Raj was out, caught at mid-off. Despite good resistance and stroke play from both AJ and Ferguson, Dulwich continued to lose wickets at bad times (are there ever good times?) and found themselves 80-7 and needing the lower order to fire in order to reach a defendable total. Bridgland, knowing the importance of his own wicket, decided to review his LBW dismissal and, after about two or three minutes of waiting, he was politely reminded by the opposition that we didn’t actually have a referral system and had to trudge off much to his dismay.

At 90-8 Dulwich looked to be heading for a well below par total. However, Trott Quaife and Hirst put on a game changing partnership. Despite two vastly contrasting styles - with Maddy Quaife’s textbook cover drives compared to the rather more inventive and agricultural James Hirst - both were equally effective in rebuilding our innings. Hirst, on his first opportunity to bat all season, made a vital 22 before falling victim to another LBW. However, Bopara Quaife was in an unrelenting mood and continued to attack the tiring Esher bowlers. He ended his fantastic innings of 57* by launching a straight six over the bowler’s head leaving Dulwich with a very defendable 180-9.

Dulwich carried the momentum of their tail-end partnership into the field. The opening bowlers, without the selfie specialist Kamran, continued their superb form putting Dulwich in complete control. Stevens Quaife’s day was getting better and better as he took three early wickets. Bridgland, keen not to be outdone, took two wickets in two balls, before injuring himself mid run-up. However, Esher, unperturbed by early wickets, persisted with their own game plan which involved attempting to clear the boundary every other ball.

Dulwich were getting increasingly vocal in the field, being led by chief cheerleader Oli Steward, before he was informed by the Esher skipper that he had a lot of chat for an ugly bloke… The ever-willing Stuart Ferguson Matt Quaife, making the most of his NUS rate £10 match fee, returned to the action with the opposition 8 down and removed their captain for his fourth wicket of the day. Unfortunately, he was denied his opportunity for a memorable 5 wickets and a 50 as James Hirst only required one ball to seal the team’s victory.

Dulwich secured an unlikely victory after finding themselves 90-8 but the partnership between Quaife and Hirst seemed to deflate the opposition and change the course of the match. 24 points secured, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for the team to celebrate their unlikely win out in Clapham…

Sat 25th June – 2nd XI v Bank of England

DULWICH 130-5 (20) winning draw vs BANK OF ENGLAND 195-8 (46)

Scorecard

After a run of four successive victories, table-topping Dulwich welcomed a struggling Bank of England to the DSG.

The falling pound has not been kind to the Bank of England in recent days and it was no different here, as Captain Bridgland won yet another toss and chose to bowl. With rain forecast later in the afternoon, Dulwich knew they must be at their clinical best if they were to force a result.

Bridgland opened up alongside Instagram filter enthusiast Kamran Munawar. As he so often does, Bridgland made the first breakthrough, inducing a thick edge to Guy Skinner. Never one to relinquish the limelight for long, Dulwich’s resident poet, Munawar, found a prodigious amount of swing, bowling two Bank batsmen in quick succession.

At 40/3, things were looking good for Dulwich. But with every chance of rolling Bank for a cheap total, Dulwich took their eye off the ball. Literally. Before the match, red ink enthusiast Matthew Balch* had led the side in an intense array of incomprehensible fielding drills. His efforts, however, were futile as dropped chances, misfields and overthrows abound: even Bridgland shelled a simple caught and bowled. Dutifully as ever, medium pacer Ian Austin Matt Quaife quickly followed his captain’s lead.

The introduction of spin did little to turn the tide in Dulwich’s favour as Bank opener, Ali Killham, cashed in - launching two straight sixes to bring up his fifty in good time. With the partnership gathering pace, Dulwich were in disarray. Bowlers lost their line and length and no-one could quite decide where exactly they would be best positioned in order to misfield next.

After a quiet chat between slip and long-off, captain Bridgland took heed of the week’s events and stamped out any notions of democracy, placing his only useful fielder at short mid-off. This wise decision paid dividends, as, two balls later, Killham drove straight to safe-hands Skinner for a well made 63.

Two further quick wickets followed, but any sense of order was short lived. With the rain fast approaching, Bank were gifted a stimulus package as they deposited long-hop after long-hop to the boundary. Only the formidable Bridgland-Frezzato partnership providing any respite for Dulwich. It came as some relief when the wrath of Thor descended, with Bank leaving the field 195/8 off 46 overs, Bridgland the stand out bowler yet again with 3/25.

After a sustained downpour, further play looked unlikely. Bogs had formed on the outfield, puddles adorned square, the covers had proved scant protection from the driving rain. However, a determined Bridgland would not be defeated by such trivialities and, eager to make amends for their earlier display, the team set about a rescue operation. The performance levels rose faster than the dollar as Dulwich executed their skill sets manfully. On the bowdry, Zakir Rostami and Balch* settled into their lines and lengths, Bridgland, Hirst, Skinner and medium pacer Binny Quaife found good areas with the pitchforks and Raj Tulsiani kept his eye on the ball… as he sat watching Euro 2016.

With the water cleared, the match resumed in front of a gathering crowd. Dulwich had just 20 overs to chase down Bank’s 195. Tulsiani and birthday boy Johnny Morris strode to the crease. Tulsiani, suffering from a worrying lack of hangover, found the going uncharacteristically tough. At the other end, Morris was having no such problems as he scythed four successive boundaries much to the delight of the crowd.

Both openers fell for 17 in pursuit of an unlikely victory, quickly followed by a selfless Skinner (3) who was bowled trying to up the rate by attempting to hit a 12. The target now out of reach, Dulwich settled for consolidating a winning draw as Rostami (32), Munawar (26) treating the crowd to some extravagant stroke play. The league’s greatest keeper-batsman, Ajmal Patankar (26*) and accomplished finisher Balch* (6*) saw Dulwich to 130/5 at the close, comfortably ahead of the 85 required to claim a winning draw.

Despite their efforts in getting the game back on, Dulwich only received 4 points return for a comfortable winning draw – the same as they would have managed for an abandoned game – with Bank taking home an even harsher 3 point haul. With Cranleigh unaffected by rain and managing to win, Dulwich drop back to second place in the table. There is plenty of the season left, though, and whilst batting, bowling and fielding were not up to scratch this week, in a wet summer the hours of practice on the bowdry may yet prove invaluable…

Sat 25th June – 3rd XI v Old Rutlishians

DULWICH 233-3 dec (48.1) match abandoned vs OLD RUTLISHIANS

Scorecard

After a welcome return to home turf the 3rd XI suffered a setback with biblical rainfall at tea scuppering any chance of returning to play after posting a challenging total in some style.

First things first. Huge credit has to go to all the team at DSG for getting the pitch and ground in such a fit state for play after the epic midweek rain – the players are all grateful and it was shame all their hard work came to nothing. The team gathered in confident mood, well 10 of the 11 did as Euan Johnson had gone missing in action – well missing asleep to be more precise. After eventually arriving half an hour after the start he remained coy about his reasons but it turns out it was everyone’s fault but his own – the nightclub the previous night for staying open so late, his sister for not waking him up, etc. But, ever the mummy’s boy, he had found time to buy his mum some flowers – nice touch but he was placed very firmly in the captain’s doghouse!

Skipper Graeme Hough lost the toss for the first time this season and Old Ruts inserted Dulwich to bat. James Chudley and Guy Woodgate strode out to open and quickly got in to their stride against some wayward bowling. In no time 50 was on the board at close to five an over, at which point Chudley went fishing and was caught behind for 24. Enter Chris Stone, who the previous week had shown admirable defiance against a testing Reigate attack, found Old Ruts’ bowling more to his liking as he quickly got into his stride. Runs continued at a fair rate of knots until persistent rain forced a slight delay.

Six overs were lost so the need to crack on with things was imperative. The second wicket fell after the dreaded drinks break, Woodgate plum LBW for a well-crafted 46 – clear jug evasion territory which Guy bowed to later in the bar. But an excellent innings on his first appearance in the 3rd XI this season. Enter Andrew Inglis who kept the momentum going, whilst Stone continuedto punish some errant bowling with a string of boundaries and many other pleasing shots. The run rate increased but the dark clouds were looming, and with thunder and lightning in the background, things were not looking great. After a rather unseemly and unnecessary spat with the opposition, Inglis moved to his 50 – well 52 actually before apprentice scorer Chudley realised he had reached 50! Stone fell for an excellent 73 mistiming to give a simple catch, his second 50 in two weeks and great to see. Dan Peters entered the fray, to provide possibly the most argumentative batting partnership you could imagine with Inglis, and flayed a couple of boundaries – to the leg side of course! With Armageddon-type clouds approaching skipper Hough declared after 42.5 overs on 233 for 3 to leave 52 overs back.

Covers on, tea taken but the heavens opened and that was that. No chance of returning as parts of the outfield resembled a lake – the nearby moored boat almost began to float once again as it had midweek.

The team began a long stint at the bar and gave some boisterous support to the 2s who had managed to return to play for a 20-over bash which was pretty much in vain. Wimbledon looms next week for a top of the table clash with the hope for better weather and a full game.