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Sat 2nd September – 4th XI v Streatham & Marlborough

DULWICH 228 (43.3) beat STREATHAM & MARLBOROUGH by 77 runs

Scorecard

With the league won by Wimbledon last week, Dulwich 4’s approached Saturday’s fixture in a relaxed mood, with one eye on the after-game shenanigans back at the club. However, with a strong side out, we were certainly not going risk losing the game, especially to local rivals S&M.

The game itself followed the demeanour of the team, played in a great spirit against a decent bunch of blokes. The S&M ground looked resplendent in the sunshine, with the church peeking over the trees and a delicious tea in-between innings. In fact, with nothing at stake, this report can be a gentle run through of the day, rather than the usual collection of salacious half-truths and sarcastic similes.

Losing the toss, Skipper Dixon was delighted to be invited to have first crack at a decent looking track safe in the knowledge that his bowling uber-attack was in place to dig the team out of the inevitable mess the batting would make of setting a target. With this idea in mind, he decided the bowlers might as well score the runs as well and so promoted Ben Lester, Ollie Tobin, Prasanna and Sunil up the order and put his feet up.

Unfortunately, his peace lasted only 30 seconds. With the game ready to start, Umpire Inglis was behind the stumps, but his square leg counterpart David Woods was missing. Bizarrely he was then spotted striding authoritatively out to the middle of Streatham’s main ground, accompanying two panel umpires, like a kind of odd lab-coat threesome, to officiate the 2nd Team match.

After a brief re-enactment of Alan Partridge (Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave……………..Dave… Dave), Woodsy was installed at square leg and the game started. Partnering Zeeshan this week was Ben Lester as the skipper’s original choice of a Prasanna / Zeesh open partnership would probably have led to an investigation and likely prosecution from the league.

And what an inspired choice he was. Against the S&M trundlers, Lester looked a class act with any number of supremely timed on drives. Coupled with the brawn of Zeeshan, the pair raced past 50 within 5 overs and on to 90-0 within the first 10.

Zeeshan was the first to fall, plumb in front to a donkey drop from high altitude from spinner Stephen Horlock, for a terrific 50 – he left the field furious as he knew a ton was his for the taking. He has been our most prolific batsman this year, with 306 runs for 4’s (plus the 151 he scored in his only game for the 5’s).

Tobin joined Lester in what must be the 4’s most athletic looking batting partnership – no obvious signs of arthritis, beer guts or venereal disease between these two… However, good looks can only get you so far and it didn’t take Horlock long to get Tobin, this time with his long-hop variation, miraculously caught by Bobby Iftikhar, somewhere in the tennis courts, without his feet crossing the boundary rope.

Pras came in at 4 and tried to play like a proper batsman, especially to Iftikhar who had now joined the attack. He obviously looked ridiculous and it was a relief to see him smack another full bunger from Horlock down the throat of the fielder on the cow boundary.

Ollie Smith joined Lester and for a while,the two knocked the ball around for 5 or 6 an over. Lester was looking the more fluent of the two, having played himself in and favouring the leg side, with flicks through mid-wicket and punches down to mid-on. He past 50 for the first time for Dulwich and went on to a fine 76 before holing out at deep mid-wicket.

The rest of the innings requires little coverage. In short; Ollie Smith contributed a gutsy 47 to see us past 220. He also ran a few players out to make sure we didn’t get 250. When he ran out of players to run out, he ran himself out (Got that?) Inglis got one of the few genuinely good balls of the day. Skipper Dixon though he had hit a straight six, whilst arrogantly holding his checked drive pose – only to see it just clear regulation mid-on. Woodsy managed to arrive to bat on the right wicket and got us through to 228. Should have been 280 really, but given our track record, the skipper was delighted.

Oh, and if any Dulwich talent scouts are reading – have a look at young S&M spinner Will Kay. He looks a real prospect and we should bribe his parents and bring him to Dulwich. In the words of Ben Lester, “his wrist makes a weird clicking noise when he bowls” No idea if this is a good thing, but let’s face it, Ben Lester knows a thing or two about high quality spin bowling.

Following the skipper’s simplistic attitude to bowling changes, our reply with the ball went like this.

Sunil and Swainy opened. Both bowled their nine overs straight off. Both must have beaten the bat 25 times before opener Paul Henly ran himself out for 7. There is little doubt they have been the best opening pair in the league this year and their performances in 2017, alongside David Woods, have contributed massively to the team being in the league position it is. Sunil ended up with 3 wickets to take his season total to 21 wickets, Swainy didn’t take any (which even I’ll admit was a travesty) but finished on 22 for the season.

Next up came Woodsy and Tobin. Again, both bowled their 9 overs straight through. For once Woodsy ended up wicketless, but has still take 24 this season and is the perfect man to come on once Sunil and Swainy have removed the top order. Tobin was a more than able partner and will be a huge player for Dulwich next season, although it is unlikely to be in the 4’s. He took 4 wickets on the day, to end the season on 9 for the 4th team off only 19 overs.

The Streatham innings was a bit of a bore frankly. They didn’t have the batsmen to make a game of it, although Horlock managed to swipe 40-odd at the end. With no pressure, skipper could share the last few overs around. Cormac Meade came on having not bowled for a month and was bang on the money straight away, Pras bowled a couple overs of spin-ish stuff, before the Chuckle Brothers Inglis and Chaudhry closed the season in a suitably ludicrous manner with 5 overs of pies between them.

So that’s it. All over for 2017. We came second to a very, very good Wimbledon side who only lost once all year. We had a batting collapse in every single game other than a 10 wicket win against Reigate. We ended up on a record points total of 284. To put this in context the league was won on 259 last year.

It has been hugely good fun, with team spirit that is off the scale. A big thank you to everyone who has played, to Swainy for stepping in as skipper, to John Howard for the wickets at DSG and to Jackie Howard for keeping us fed and watered.

Sat 10th Sep – 7th XI v The Mascarenhas Mangalisers

DULWICH 166-4 (30) beat THE MASCARENHAS MANGALISERS 163-? (30) by 3 runs

Many years ago, round about the time the vast single land mass Pangaea decided to split into into 5 separate continents, my Father was captain of the Dulwich Saturday 3rd XI. One day he came home from Cricket glowing with reports of a new leg spin and Google bowler who had joined his team. My Dad, unlike some of the current captains of DCC, no names no pack drill, but watch my eyes.,was a great believer of the efficacy of spin bowling. He was, of course, one himself. But this new addition had got him really excited.

"They can't read him from the hand: he mixes it up."

The only problem with this new wizard of spin was that when he was selected, he would frequently turn up with a small boy, wearing grey flannel shorts and long grey socks up to his knees with those little green tabs, that used to hang down to indicate you were in the junior section of the Boy Scouts (better known as the Cubs.) This small boy would always be carrying a small cricket bat and some small stumps, He would then plant the stumps in front of the pavilion and pick up his bat and demand that people bowl to him.

So, before I start this match report, I would like to ask Jeff Mascarenhas whether he still has the bat, the stumps and the garters with the green tabs? 

Some time later, when Cornwall had finally seperated from Brazil, I continued the family tradition, by finding myself the captain of the Dulwich 3rd XI and who should find himself Vice Captain? I would like to say that a great rapport was developed between Captain and Vice Captain: I would like to say that but relations did get a little strained when Jeff, having scored 3 successive 50's for the third eleven, still found himself selected for Jim Gibson's bunch of unlikely cricketers.

In those days, cricket matches were won at selection committee meetings, and not necessarily on the field of play. Under the Cabinet minutes 30 year rule, I can now confess to a policy of consistently rubbishing my team to the second eleven captain, (although we were top of our league) and, for some reason the second eleven suffered from dyslexia when it came to reading the third eleven scorebook. And there was Jeff (who was also the captain of Sunday 1st team at the time) having the temerity to suggest he should perhaps be promoted! 

And so, at last, we come to today's game: Dulwich 7th's versus Old Wilsonians Select XI. 

Who are the Dulwich 7th XI?

There is the myth and the reality.

The myth is that the Dulwich 7th XI is a bunch of ageing, overweight farts who once played together (Again roundabout the time Africa became a separate identity) who every Whitsun prevail upon their wives to let them go to Somerset  so they can each consume at least 6 pints of an unlikely sounding beverage called Timothy Taylor's Landlord 3 nights running in the same pub, in the same town, and then get up in the morning and attempt to play Cricket against the local populace. 

BUT that is the MYTH!

The reality is that the Dulwich 7th XI is a collection of highly tuned athletes who have, for reasons, more than often not, beyond their control, come tantalisingly close to victory on numerous occasions on these Somerset tours only to be denied by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

So to compensate they arrange one final fixture each year on the last day of the season at home. As the big day approached these highly tuned athletes, one by one, made themselves unavailable for a variety of pathetic excuses. One of the team even claimed to have had a triple by pass operation and was therefore unable to play! Only Gibson, Griffiths and Peters made it to the final squad from the original squad. New recruits Brown and Balch were drafted in together with some flotsam and jetsam from the lower echelons of DCC.

The game started in the sort of drizzle that has a nasty habit of inserting itself into every orifice and crevice of the human body. Dulwich's opening pair strode to the wicket with resolution. 30 overs a side leaves little time for what is known in cricketing parlance as "fannying around". However, that is precisely what this opening pair proceeded to do. After 5 overs only 13 runs had been scored. The natives began to get restless and in the sixth over Tucker was caught at mid wicket. Gibson was joined by Irvine and the pair began to move through the gears. Both batsmen played crisp and well timed drives off both back foot and front. Gibson eventually succumbed to Pomering's deviously flighted full tosses on 22 and was replaced by Balch. 

Irvine and Balch purred along in the middle of the innings scoring 80 runs in 10 overs before Irvine was bowled for 54. The scene was set for the swashbuckling stroke maker solicitor Griffiths to dispatch the Old Wilsonians attack to all points of the SE21 postcode. The residents of Turney Road were seen putting up window protection as the Axe Murderer took guard. On only his second ball however, Griffiths rather tamely lofted the ball to cover. Dan Peters and Balch continued and the innings closed on a respectable 166 for 4 off 30 overs. Balch 72 not out.

Old Wilsonians started their reply in as low a gear as Dulwich but the uncompromising biffing and bashing of antipodean wicketkeeper James and brief cameos by Mascarenhas, Pilgrim and Forbes saw them edging towards the promised land. James was finally bowled by Scott-Coombes for 78. As Old Wilsonians got nearer to Dulwich's total it became obvious to all that what was needed, was an experienced off spin bowler with a cool head. Captain Brown threw the ball to Balch, who promptly had Pilgrim stumped. But Dulwich had not reckoned with the batting of Forbes and Murnane who pushed on to the final over needing 12 for victory. Warriss stood ready to deliver the coup de grace. On the third ball a high swirling catch was lofted to the half blind, half deaf Gibson, who had been parked out of harm's way at deep mid on. The crowd held its collective breath. Surely the useless old git could catch this one? Alas it trickled through his fingers and Old Wilsonians edged further towards victory. Happily it was not to be - Warris kept a cool head, bowling the final over and the OW's finished 3 runs short.

After the game, many of the participants repaired to the Tandoori Nights Restaurant in Lordship Lane. 

The President attended the match and it was good to see him clearly recovering from his recent medical ordeal.

Sadly, the ineptitude of Middlesbrough FC have done him no favours in aiding his recovery as they suffered a home defeat to the increasingly impressive Crystal Palace. The score was 2-1.

Sat 3rd Sep – 3rd XI v Spencer

DULWICH 252-9 (50) v SPENCER 106-6 (19.5) – match abandoned (rain)

Scorecard

Saturday 3rd XI vs. Spencer – Dulwich (252 – 9 off 50 overs) vs. Spencer (106 -6 off 19.5 overs) – match abandoned

The 3rd XI’s season ended with a damp squib….literally….as their match was abandoned at DSG one ball short of a result which would have given champions Spencer an undeserved victory. The quirks of the rules at this level meant Spencer would have won on straight run rate after one more ball. Maybe Spencer’s umpire did not realise this, maybe he was feeling charitable but he deemed conditions too wet and dangerous as the heavens opened as forecast. But it would have been a travesty for Dulwich who dominated pretty much from start to (early) finish.

With our 4th XI in a title clash at Spencer the team took on an unfamiliar look with just a handful of 3rd XI regulars, with the remainder players who have played most of their cricket this season in the 5th or 6th XIs. Even more credit is due, therefore, as they did not look out of place and it goes to show the strength in depth of the Club at this level. Two special mentions to start with:

  1. Giles Constantine – a 4th and 5th XI regular for the last few seasons played his last match for Dulwich before setting off on a round the world trip and then returning to settle in York. One of club cricket’s good guys, a wholehearted cricketer who always tries (sometimes too hard), a bowler of some ability on his day and, according to him at least, a batsman of some quality though no one at Dulwich has ever really seen it!
  2. David Woods – simply a Dulwich legend who played his first Surrey Championship match of the 2016 season on Saturday at the ripe old age of ?? This meant he had played in the Surrey Championship every single season since its inception in 1968, a magnificent achievement and the only player to have done this.

On to the match. Skipper Graeme Hough won another toss and chose to bat, despite the forecast and in the hope it would be wrong. The antipodean quota was doubled with the presence of Sean Keaton and he strode out to open with John ‘birthday boy’ Morris. As the first ball was stroked effortlessly through the covers by Keaton to the boundary the signs were good. However, Sean was adjudged LBW in the second over – a decision he was not too pleased with it is fair to say. Matt Balch replaced him and quickly got in to his stride with some pleasing pull shots off some errant bowling. Meanwhile at the other end, Morris was laying the foundations with some circumspect batting. Runs flowed at 5 per over until Balch was out plumb LBW to league leading wicket taker Sindhu off his first ball.

Dan Edwards joined Morris, who by this time was fully in to his stride and began to dominate the bowlers. Some pleasing drives and good running were interspersed with some massive 6s and other well played boundaries. After playing second fiddle Edwards also began to unleash some powerful shots until he eventually fell for a well-played 42. Morris went on and on and eventually reached an excellent and well deserved century. The rest of the innings saw wickets tumble including Morris eventually for 113. Special mention to James Worley on his debut at this level who played a beautiful cover drive for 4 but was then caught behind attempting a reverse sweep – nothing like a bit of confidence! The innings eventually closed at 252 for 9 off 50 overs.

Early pressure and wickets were vital as Jeremy Jones and Giles Constantine opened up. Gilo was straight in to a good rhythm and snared a caught behind by Joe Moore, then induced a mistimed pull shot to the birthday boy Morris soon after. Jezza was feeling left out playing second fiddle to Gilo, but not for long. A good ball, a thick edge and an absolutely stunning low, one-handed diving catch by keeper Moore snared the 3rd wicket. Gilo was definitely wanting to finish on a high and earned the 4th wicket with a plumb LBW. After 12 overs Dulwich were well on top.

But the gloom descended and rain clouds hovered. As a steady drizzle came down the skipper changed the openers and got slow bowlers Balch and Woods on to try to get through to 20 overs and a result. Spencer thought likewise and sent in a couple of hitters to try to up the run rate and gain victory according to the perverse rules. This worked more for Spencer than Dulwich as bowlers struggled to grip the ball and the fielding standards dropped. Woods nibbled another couple out, but Sindhu for Spencer rode his luck and hit enough boundaries to just edge Spencer ahead on run rate. The umpire intervened, no chance of a return and a long evening in the bar for many followed, with a notable mention to the ‘birthday boy’ who cannot have remembered much the following day!

All in all, an excellent season for the 3rd XI eventually finishing 4th. But for two rained off games against the two relegated teams things could have been very different. For the lowest ranked team in the league (in terms of 1st and 2nd XIs) to stay in the title race all season was magnificent. Highlights were many but the two nail biting wins against Spencer and Ashtead and beating Wimbledon in a close one stand out. Plus many excellent individual performances from the 47 players used in the season. Not forgetting of course huge thanks and appreciation to Chris Reardon for his umpiring, to Jackie for the teas, and to John Howard and all the guys at DSG for their help and great wickets, ground and facilities.

Captain Graeme Hough has taken the decision to stand down and hand the reins over to someone younger and to focus more on his other roles in the Club. So it is thanks from me to all the players for making captaincy a real pleasure, and for the great friendships and team spirit on and off the field.

Sat 3rd Sep – 4th XI v Spencer

DULWICH 86-5 (22) lost to SPENCER 198 (45) on run rate (rain affected)

Scorecard

So in the end the 4th XI Premiers Division title was decided whilst sitting in a changing room, watching the rain fall and a sense of helplessness engulfing the team as we watched it slip away. With almost identical records in the league, maybe the elements were the most applicable way to separate the Dulwich and Spencer teams. Still hurts like hell though.

The day began so well. All players arrived bang on time and we were soon at the Spencer ground with Andrew Inglis leading some well organised training drills – we were a sharp and confident unit. Skipper Dixon then won the toss and with the threat of rain in mind rightly chose to bowl on a green track.

Things couldn’t have started better and within 30 minutes, Spencer were reeling at 17-5. Sunil Isaac had taken a sensational caught and bowled in his first over to remove Billingham. This was swiftly followed by Prasanna dismissing Willis with a regulation catch behind to Peters and Lipscombe caught by Chudley at mid-on.

This wicket brought Sameer Khan to the crease, making his debut for the 4th team. His first act was to run out partner Ali Naqvi, also making his first appearance for the side in 2016. At 17-4, Samad Lone came in, a very unusual position for him given the dominance of the Spencer 3rd team. He didn’t last long though, trapped plum in front for Sunil.

However, from this moment, Khan lead an impressive fight back and dragged Spencer back into the game. With support from the lower order, he dominated each partnership to steadily build a total which at least gave the Spencer bowlers something to work with. His hundred came up in the last over, with extras (25) the next highest total and no other batsman reaching 15.

In truth, the second half of their innings was where Dulwich really missed the pace and aggression of leading wicket taker, David Knightbridge. Ruled out before the game with a bruised ankle, he stood on the side lines with fellow sufferers Darren Casson (broken finger) and Simon Bailey (small child), watching as the Spencer score gradually grew. Bowlers Lester, Swain and Burgass were all solid and economical, but without that partnership breaking ability DK has shown through the season.

 

Spencer were eventually all out for 198 on the final ball of the innings, with Dan Peters stumping Wasim Malik to give Sunil his fourth wicket. Given the start Dulwich had made, it felt too many, but skipper Dixon was quick to reassure the team this was a very gettable total and one we would have happily accepted at the start of the innings, especially given our depth of batting.

With the welcome sight of a victorious 1st XI arriving to cheer us on after beating Purley in less time than it took to get there, the team were pumped up to knock off the runs.

Fresh from carrying the Spencer side with the bat, cricketing superhero Sameer Kahn was thrown the new ball and opened the bowling as well, quickly dismissing Alex Irvine. Chuds followed soon after, but the ship was steadied by Andrew Inglis and Will Cooper who confidently started to build momentum in the innings.

However, the rain had started to fall and aware that the total needed to be on 88 at the 20 over point, Inglis and Cooper started to up the ante and take a few risks. Spencer responded by getting their spinners Jaffri and Lone on to speed up the over rate. It was a canny move which ultimately won them the game, as the increasingly damp wicket made it harder and harder to get the ball away and the wet outfield slowed potential boundaries.

In their effort to score swiftly both Inglis and Cooper took one chance too many and new bat Dan Peters followed doing the same, all playing shots they would not have done in a typical run chase. The 20 over cut-off passed and at 22 overs and the umpires had no option but to take the players off as the rain pounded down.

After a long wait, and no hiatus in the weather, the game was awarded to Spencer, who were crowned champions. Congratulations to their skipper Hussein Jaffri and the team.

Sitting frustrated in the dressing room it was easy to dwell on the what-ifs of the game and the season as whole – the early season loss to Banstead, important catches that were dropped or the inability to beat Wimbledon last week.

The truth is that this a 4th XI side that has loads of potential and will be stronger and certainly more street-wise for losing this game. The side has featured plenty of players new to Dulwich, but a strong nucleus and a great bond was quickly formed with everybody contributing over the season. The team is a pleasure to be part of and captain and it is so disappointing to end on such a (literally) damp note.

Most importantly we all want to stay in touch over the winter and be ready for next year. An indoor team is being organised and we’ll all be at nets in early 2017. Once the new season starts again, we will be more determined than ever to bring the premiership back to Dulwich.

Finally, big, big thanks to Chris Reardon who umpired in pretty awful conditions and kept order at several moments of high tension. Likewise thanks also to John and Jackie back at DSG for consistently good wickets and great teas. It is genuinely appreciated by all the team.

Sat 3rd Sep – 2nd XI v Trinity Mid-Whitgiftians

DULWICH 256-4 (50) beat TRINITY MID-WHITGIFTIANS 81-1 (22) on run rate (rain affected)

Scorecard

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