DULWICH 130-7 (40) beat OLD WHITGIFTIANS 133 (44) by 3 wickets (rain affected)
After The Chaos Engine had single-handedly seen off second placed Cranleigh last week, Dulwich entered the final three games requiring just one win to secure the Division 2 title.
First up a trip to Old Whitgiftians, who had inflicted a rare defeat on the Doggies earlier in the season. This was a chance to put that right – a fact that captain Bridgland was keen to emphasise as the 2nd XI left Dulwich at 6.45am for the 30 minute trip to Croydon(1).
As the team entered their fourth hour(2) of intense fielding drills, it was clear to see that this was an outfit at the top of their game. Not a catch was dropped nor a throw mis-directed; a theme that would surely continue throughout the day. With confidence high, the team were buoyed when Bridgland won the toss and, as ever, chose to field.
With most of the regular squad present – but Paddy George missing, whinging about how much he does for the club in sunnier climbs – it seemed like an ideal time to take the team photo. A league winning photo can proudly adorn a bar wall for decades and our readers will be pleased to see that it went as well as the rest of the match:
The Sam twins opened up tidily, well supported by this exceptional fielding side. Runs were hard to come by as the pair restricted Old Whits to just 18 runs off the first 10 overs.
Sam Saleem (7-0-10-1) was the first to strike, frustrating the opener into chipping straight to the experienced Ferguson at mid-off. The very next over, Sam 'McLovin' Ellison, who had bowled a typically penetrating line, found the edge. Moving quickly to his left,
Jonty Hirst executed a miraculous palmed stop to save 4 runs.(3) His effort did not go unrewarded as Bridgland – in anticipation of the leg stump line he intended to bowl – promptly swapped his gun(4) fielder to the specialist catching position of square leg. Wicketless maybe, but McLovin put in a fine shift, bowling tighter than a[REDACTED](5) as he returned figures of 7-2-15-0.
After the strong opening, Old Whits threatened to make use of a flat batting track and boundaries began to flow. However, the Dulwich fielder had different ideas. The Old Whits opener flicked medium-pacer
Hansie Cronje Matt Quaife(6) up to Hudson, who produced an exception two-handed diving slap-stop at mid-wicket to save three.(7) The very next ball, Fleming Quaife trapped the number three LBW.
Buoyed by the breakthrough, Bridgland and Hirst paired up to produce the standout cricket of the season so far. Bridgland, correctly identifying the batsmen's weakness as the leg-stump half volley, probed an accurate line. At square leg,
Gary Pratt James Hirst put the batsmen under severe pressure.(8) First – a sprint round to mid-wicket to bring down the ball quickly in order to attempt a run out. Second – a flying leap to his right to save three. Third – he grasped in vain as he flew through the air like Simone Biles to get a finger tip to a thunderbolt. Inspiring stuff.(9)
At the other end,
Butcher Quaife was on fire. So much so, that Bridgland allowed him to bowl all 10 of his spells at once. Attacking the stumps at a terrifying pace, he ripped through the top order. Another LBW and two bowled as he finished with an excellent 4/22.
With Dulwich on top, Thirsty and Fergie took up the reigns. The bowling may have changed, but the fielding was still tip-top. Some excellent chest-work from Julio Inglis save two certain boundaries whilst Quaife, anticipating his likely role with the bat, wisely saved his energy when the ball looped six inches in front of him. Housewives-favourite(10) Ferguson saved another 4 above his head(11), before showing his class with the ball as he found his way through defence after defence to finish with 5/30. As you can imagine, he looked delighted as he left the field! What an effort from the Doggies, keeping Old Whits to just 133/20 on a good batting track.
With a rain-adjusted total of 130 needed for the title, Playboy Raj Tulsiani and Enrique Inglis(12) began in belligerent mood; boundaries flowed and the target was soon down into double figures. No title is easily won though, and three quick wickets fell. First, the Asian Hugh Hefner was adjudged LBW for 20, quickly followed by Nick “Screech” Hudson (0) and the Spanish Sledger (19) as Dulwich tumbled to 40/3.
Cometh the hour, cometh the (ladies) man. Dulwich felt safe in the gentle hands of McLovin (24) as he caressed the ball around, even stroking it a little harder now and again as he lifted it over the top. At the other end, elder statesman, Zakir Rostami (29) bludgeoned the ball to all parts like a man half his age.(13)
But again quick wickets fell, bringing last week’s match-winning partnership back together at the crease. Steve Patankar eyed the legside boundary greedily. So greedily in fact, the Old Whits skipper swapped the young colt positioned at deep mid-wicket for a man with extra height. But Big Steve was not perturbed by the skipper’s mind games – “Lad. You’re the best keeper batsman in the league!"(14) he repeated to himself under his breath as he bludgeoned the ball in that direction. It was high – higher than The Prince on a Friday night. It was handsome – more handsome than the DILF himself. It was straight to the man. Gone for 2.
At the other end, Fergie had his game face on. This would be his first title since being crowned Most Eligible Bachelor 1989 by Nottinghamshire Weekly and he wasn’t going down without a fight. He nudged and nurdled, he flicked and forced his way to 19, but then – disaster! – he nicked off!
Dulwich only needed 20. But 20 seemed a long, long way off. The tension was palpable – Thirsty went to his trusty leg-side shuffle(15), Quaife showed off his lofted leave(16), Bridgland delivered his best Houghy impression as he paced the boundary.(17)
Then a four! The shovel connected. Then another! The lofted leave morphed into a lofted drive. A squirt through the slips and Dulwich were home with three wickets to spare. Victors! Champions! And what a way to do it. A faultless performance.(18)
(1) There are a number of inaccuracies in this article. Apologies to readers, and we hope that these footnotes provide sufficient clarity for a true reflection of the day’s events.
(2) Although the quality of the warm up was high, its length has been exaggerated. Exaggeration of length is not acceptable to this editorial team.
(3)There is no evidence to suggest that the looping, waist high edge to second slip would have even carried to the boundary. Furthermore, the name “Jonty” does not appear to be a widely accepted shortened version of “James”
(4) Like a potato gun perhaps. Or a faulty water pistol that leaks everywhere.
(5) This was deemed unacceptable to the high-brow readership of this weekly publication. Both Sams’s’s did indeed bowl well.
(6) Despite years of rumour and speculation, there is no evidence that Quaife has ever successfully fixed a test match
(7) There is no evidence to suggest that the slow, leading edge would have made it off the square, save for the momentum imparted by Hudson’s Schmeichel-esque diversion
(8) This is misleading. The dictionary defines pressure as “persuasion or coercion to make an individual behave in a certain manner”. The only coercion visible this weekend was to “keep chipping the ball in the air to square leg mate because there is no chance that ginger bloke will catch it.”
(9) Are we really going to publish this paragraph in the public domain? There have been fewer inaccuracies in the entire season of third team match reports’ description of G. Hough’s bowling. This looks like it was written by that chap who was the Iraqi minister of information, proofread by Bernie Madoff, and translated into doublethink by Richard Nixon. Ignorance really is strength.
(10) This is an evidence-based claim that we support fully.
(11) This probably would have gone for four, but the time it took the gentle(man) bowler to put enough strapping on his limbs to extend an arm fully, the chance was gone.
(12) “Would you dance, if I asked you to dance? Would you run (miss a straight one, get bowled), and never look back?
(13) So youthful is Rostami, and assured is Ellison, that it was often difficult to tell these two apart.
(14) This is an evidence based assertion. We’ve got the best keeper batsman in the league. We’ve got the best keeper batsman in the league. We’ve got the best keeper batsman. Best keeper batsman. Best keeper batsman in the league.
(15) Get on one knee and slog across the line.
(16) Close eyes, lift head, and swing hard.
(17) Bridgland was not being swept for four through midwicket. We’d like to assert that Houghy has never been swept for four.
(18) As faultless as this match report is a reliable and trustworthy account of the day’s events.