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Sat 5th August – 2nd XI v Worcester Park

DULWICH 181-7 (50) beat WORCESTER PARK 109-9 (28) by 19 runs

Scorecard

After a couple of damp weeks and two hollow performances, the 2nd XI welcomed Worcester Park to Burbage Road on Saturday, seeking to record a first victory since the opening weekend in July and the chance to re-affirm their promotion push. The side was missing skipper Bridgland – on demand for 1st XI duties – and Graeme 'Just Get On With It And Play' Hough, laid low by a bout of hypocrisy with a knee strain. Hirsty, last seen on Tuesday heading to the laundrette to pick up his whites, was also otherwise engaged.

The warm-up began in earnest in the new net facility, with several of the assembled contingent making serious pitches for the third or forth spinner spot – including Ben Lester, valiantly looking to overcome his 4th XI selection as a hinderance to his chances. Football followed (1-0 to the Blues, a counter-attacking move through the left wing casually finished by Jeremy Jones and an intensity-raising fielding session led by the CIO himself.

With the weather proving as predictable as The Tulsman's Friday night movements, Travis "Only 360 degree batsman in the Surrey ChampionshipTM" Scott of Worcester Park chose to have a bat first and openers Towner and Tulsiani made strides to the middle. Tulsiani immediately returned, whereupon Balch proudly joined Ed on his freshly-cultivated Dog. 

Some accurate early bowling was negotiated by the pair, complimented by the occasional piece of sweet timing – particularly from Balch, whose cut shot renaissance continues with aplomb. In fact, with Balch having forgotten to put his shackles in the kitbag the previous night, he was able to really push the initiative for Dulwich – at one stage thrashing Scott through cover and over the top for a scarcely believable three boundaries in an over. Meanwhile, Towner was 4* off 9 full tosses at the other end and really enjoying his batting.

At 60-odd for 1 in the 18th over, with Steward and Bailey reclining topless on the boundary and basking in the glorious sunshine, everything was looking figuratively and, indeed, aesthetically wonderful for Dulwich. Fast-forward two overs later and Matt Quaife is kneeled over the side of cover with a bucket as lashings of rain and hail – interjected by bursts of thunderous lightening – crashed around him.

Quaife returned to his teammates, huddled in the dressing room, looking still significantly less wet than he does three balls into his second over most weeks, to report that we were in some trouble. As the monsoon passed the damage soon become clear. A missing pipe on the middle cover had allowed a pool of water to congregate and leave an area just back-of-a-length damper than Faiz Kassam's face. All eyes looked for the Ground and Works Coordinator, who spent half an hour trying to retrieve a supersoaker from another county while captain Steward attacked the offending patch with a floor mop.

Play resumed an hour and 45 minutes later, after some good work from the Dulwich boys and the sacrificing of at least one shower towel. Balch and Towner continued ut prius before Balch cut one to a juggler at backward point for a very well made 38. 

The Prince entered the fray and straightaway confirmed Towner's rightful suspicion of the low full toss (now 4* off 12) by pumping one straight to shortcover. Steward then embarked on a run only marginally less disappointing in its outcome than the Bolt-Gatlin 100m showdown later that evening. No amount of anabolic assistance could rectify a calamitous yesnoyesnoyesyes call and he was run out by the best part of 36 yards for 1. 82-1 had become 86-4 and there was work to be done. 

Andy Bailey, and his amusingly inconsistent covering of stomach hair, helped Towner move the score on to 96 before yet more rain brought proceedings to a halt again. Tea was taken, and another 15 minutes lost. Shortly after, the dual keeper axis of Bailey and Patankar departed and we were 120-6. It was left to Quaife (19) to help push things along with Towner, now finding his range, and Dulwich posted 181-7 in 50 overs and 9 and a half hours. Towner was dismissed for an important 82 in the final over to take his tally versus Worcester Park this season to well over 200 runs.

Five men, three calculators, a NASA computer and Rinaldo's ouija board were utilised in working out the Worcester Park target – importantly remembering to carry the 0.01 and setting them 128 in 28 overs in reply.

Steward opted to open the bowling with Quaife (3-15) and the spin of Abu Arabi on the basis of trying something different, but not too different (wish we'd picked Ben Lester), and some excellent containing bowling brought a flurry of early wickets – that man Quaife removing Mayhew and King for ducks. Bowlers were chopped and changed, and Jeremy Jones (3-20) entered the fray, soon removing the very dangerous Scott and the resulting middle order to reduce the visitors to 40-odd for 6. A couple of tricky partnerships were ended by spin-twins Arabi and Balch and Toppin held his nerve with the final over to seal a good 19 run win.

A long and interesting day's cricket, one that Dulwich were decent value to win. We remain second with four games to go. We wish Quaife a swift recovery from his finger-breaking effort at long-off off Abu and hope he is able to play some part – whether on the pitch or with the other fossils (Hough) on the sideline – in the final weeks of the season. Get better soon Q!

Sat 29th July – 3rd XI v Reigate Priory

DULWICH 140 (44.3) abandoned vs REIGATE PRIORY 7-1 (2.3)

Scorecard

On what started out as a bright, sunny day, the Dulwich 3rd XI faced Reigate Priory at the DSG. As the team ventured out to warm up, and in some cases, sweat out Friday’s liquid refreshments, the heavens provided refreshment of their own. This proved to be a  recurring theme throughout the day.

Stand-in skipper Jones duly lost the toss and Dulwich were put in by the opposition.

Scannell and Chathli opened up, the latter trying to create a new fashion trend on the cricket scene by batting in Nike Air Max trainers. After battling through some tight bowling, skipper Brickley decided that Chathli was his type on paper and he was sent packing by the opening bowler for 4.

Woodgate arrived at the crease and proceeded to hold the fort with Scannell for a short while, before being adjudged LBW off Brickley. Enter Casson, the South African nursing his wounds after his national team’s dismal display at the Oval the night before. He fell, like many of his comrades, LBW after a short stay in the middle.

All the while, Scannell continued about his business scoring where he could on a sluggish outfield. Shortly after the introduction of young Stone at the crease, Scannell was caught at mid-on via top edge playing early to a length ball. A well made 17.

Durrani and Stone then stabilised the faltering Dulwich innings with the precipitation getting heavier by the minute – Durrani with a Keaton Jennings-esque wagon wheel and Stone with some sublime stroke play.

"Towel T-Shirt" gate was in full flow again on the sideline as Knightsbridge proclaimed his disgust at several favoured colours not being available in the sale.

The amusement continued when Durrani pushed the ball back down the wicket to bowler McInley and asked him to throw it at him. McKinley duly obliged and the throw caught the Reigate keeper flush on the knee, bringing cheers from the sideline and everyone else on the field.  This was also the bowler that was, according to young Stone, “absolutely rapid when I faced him in the Under 9s”.

Durrani perished when he deposited a rank long hop from bowler Tiley straight down the throat of cow corner. Swashbuckling Arabi played his short innings with familiar aggression before being dismissed by a somewhat spectacular diving caught and bowled effort by McInley.

Knightsbridge arrived, thankfully wearing a regular Dulwich shirt rather than a towel variety, and proceeded to rotate the strike nicely with Stone, until the vertically challenged of the two got voted off by Tiley for a well constructed 27.

Skipper Jones struggled on what was becoming a minefield of a wicket, nurdling the dual spin attack of Tye and Tiley around before Tiley snared a leading edge from Jones off his own bowling, seemingly without looking at the ball, for the second ridiculous caught and bowled of the day.

Ramakrishnan saw off 3 deliveries somewhat unconvincingly before the umpire called for the covers. Tea was taken and after a delay of 45 minutes, Knightsbridge and Ramakrishnan strode back out to the middle. After playing his shots, Ramakrishnan duly cut the ball to backward point, bringing Day to the fore.

A quick scoring partnership, punctuated by Day’s technique that some may say should have saw him in at 10, brought the opening bowler Brickley back and this did for Knightsbridge. Dulwich 3rd XI all out for 140.

A quick turnaround saw Jones start with the new ball. The captain bowled an excellent length, making use of the gremlins in the wicket, asking all sorts of questions of the openers. In an inspired move, Arabi was handed the new cherry at the other end and proceeded to turn the ball a literal mile and did for Tye, stumped, after he ran down the wicket before even having a look – utter stupidity.

Jones ran rings around the batsmen for 3 further deliveries before the DSG head groundsman put an end to the their ordeal, calling off the match. A muted end to what was shaping up to be a corker of a game in the gloomy conditions.

Sat 29th July – 1st XI v Epsom

DULWICH 192-9 (55) v EPSOM – Match abandoned

Scorecard

Dulwich staged a remarkable recovery in their Travelbag Surrey Championship Division 2 match at Epsom, but it proved to be in vain as the weather had the final say.

Epsom put their opponents in under overcast skies and with the threat of heavy rain to come. Fourteen runs off the first three overs proved to be a false dawn as the bowling tightened and scoring became ever more difficult. The first three wickets fell within the space of ten balls, and they continued to fall at regular intervals until the seventh wicket went down with the score on 61, coincidentally the same score on which the seventh South African wicket had fallen in the Test Match on the previous day. Jon Lodwick now adopted the role played by Temba Bavuma in the Test, dominating a stand of 26 in 4.5 overs with skipper Alex Gledhill, who made a resolute 3 off 19 balls. At 87-8 after 37 overs Lodwick was joined by Kamran Munawar, who played himself in carefully, scoring just two runs off his first 16 balls, before going on the attack. The pair had added 81 in 16.4 overs when Munawar fell in the penultimate over with the score on 168. Lodwick then scored 24 off the last eight balls of the innings, including 19 off the last over, to take his side to 192-9 after their 55 overs. Lodwick finished unbeaten with 81 off 86 balls, while Munawar’s 41 had come off 60 balls. Both batsmen had recorded their top scores for the first team.

But the rain was already falling as the players left the field, and despite a couple of brief interludes it never relented long enough for the match to resume. It was therefore abandoned, with both sides taking four points.

This was the second week in succession that all the matches in Division 2 have been rained off. It was particularly galling for Dulwich as they were playing the two teams immediately above them in the table, and victory in either match could have lifted them out of the relegation zone. They thus remain in ninth place, with only five matches remaining. Next week the format reverts to 50 overs a side, as Dulwich travel to Worcester Park who are currently third in the table.

Sat 15th July – 3rd XI v Malden Wanderers

DULWICH 218 (41.4) lost to MALDEN WANDERERS 271-5 (53.5)

Scorecard

On a drizzly, murky Saturday in New Malden, Dulwich had hopes to conquer and challenge the top four in the league. Malden Wanderers on the other hand were fighting a battle against relegation having won just 2 of their 11 games this season. A one-sided match on paper, but unbeknownst to us it wasn’t to be.

Dulwich won the toss and elected to bowl on a wet, sticky wicket with boundaries barely reaching 40 yards. Dreams of bowling the opposition out cheaply, knocking the runs off in style for an early finish followed by a night filled with desperate tinder-swiping ensued. It was a mix of the youth and the wise, Max Swanson and Chris Hope, to take the new ball. The dreams however, were soon to be shattered by the Malden openers, Hammond and Walters, who took advantage of the short boundaries from the get-go. The opening bowlers, steaming in on uneven ground, struggled to hit their marks in wet conditions. A top-edge from Hammond off a quick, short ball from Swanson flew over the keeper for six; revealing the sort of day it was going to be. A couple of full tosses from Hope, who on Thursday had called “shotgun” on doing the match report, were duly dispatched to the square leg fence. After being shunned out of the attack and seeing his bowling figures (6-0-29), his enthusiasm for the match report quickly faded. Knighty, back from nursing a broken hand took his mark. By now though, the openers were set and continued to use the short boundaries to their advantage. Drinks provided some respite, with the score at 110 odd for none after 25.

There was a change in tempo after drinks, with the dual spin of Gokhul and Patrick putting the squeeze on the opening pair. Less than 30 came off the next 10 overs. Without a wicket though, Dulwich knew that an assault was coming. All we could do was continue the squeeze and pray for a dismissal. The opening pair started to accelerate, with Hammond choosing the sweep as his method of attack. The spin-twins held their nerve well to minimise the damage, but something needed to give. Faz decided it was time for some well-directed terrible chat to Hammond, letting him know that he wouldn’t want to get out so close to a century. Then it happened, the ball was tossed up and induced the false shot. Hammond was dismissed, LBW to Ghokul for 92, with Faz quick to claim the wicket as his own.

The Malden number 3, who had been in a helmet having throw-downs for two and a half hours strolled out onto the field, only to be sent back by the skipper and replaced by their big-hitter. And big did he hit it, despatching his first ball to the square leg fence and the second over cow-corner for mammoth six. That was to be the end of it though, being adjudged LBW to Patrick for 11. The onslaught had started, and a few cameos from Malden’s middle order racked up the runs despite Swanson’s valiant efforts at the death. The declaration came leaving Dulwich needing 272 off 47 overs for the win. A special mention to Patrick, who kept things tight in the middle, finishing with 14-2-31-1.

Faz and Cian were sent out to face the music. Cian fell early, edging a full delivery from Bateman through to the keeper. Faz at other end started well, despatching some short balls from Bateman to the boundary and bullying Bryant, the under-13 opening bowler, out of the attack by smashing him over his head and through the covers. The change in bowling worked for Malden with Faz, in Quinton De Kock-esque style, inside-edging a pull onto his pads with the ball ricocheting towards the stumps. In a desperate attempt to save his wicket, he ensured he was out by attempting to kick away the ball, but accidentally kicking his stumps. Dismissed for 20 runs off 13 balls wasn’t what he envisioned when he was practicing his switch hit against a 45mph bowling machine mid-week.  Darren Cason and Andy Kean continued with the aggression; Darren looking in sublime form and Andy flicking the seam bowling of Bateman over square for a glorious six. The pair reached 66 off 11 overs, until Darren nicked one to the keeper off Hopkins for 25. Andy followed soon after for 18, smashing one straight back to the bowler who took a sharp catch. It was up to Bails and Patrick to rebuild, but Patrick was soon back on the bench for 5. Enter Jonny Stone, with the score at 108 for 5 after 20 overs.

On the sideline, Knighty revealed plans to purchase a “towel t-shirt”. Starting at £69.99 for the basic model with prices rising to £125 for a polo, he informed us that the towel t-shirt is perfect for one who enjoys a swim while on a yacht or walking on a beach at sunset. This strongly divided opinion, and a raging debate followed between Knighty and everyone else who realised the stupidity of the idea. More was discovered about Knighty, when he publicised that he and an unknown cricket-acquaintance used to take naps together in the changing room.

Back to cricket, Bails and Stone began to rebuild. Bails played a patient innings, while Stone delivered some delightful shots to give Dulwich some hope. The runs started to flow again, and so did the wickets, with Bails being bowled for 26. Stone was left to nurse the lower order, but it wasn’t to be as he was dismissed for 35. Despite some big shots from the tail-enders and nine of the batsman reaching double figures, the task proved too much and Dulwich were dismissed for 218 in the 42nd over. Spare a thought for Hope, who’ll have to lie about his figures to his fiancé for fear of the wedding being called off later this year.

On a drizzly, murky Saturday in New Malden, Dulwich were defeated. We travel to bottom-placed Normandy next week. Another seemingly one-sided affair, but lessons to be quickly learnt to ensure the mighty Dulwich rise from the ashes.

Sat 15th July – 1st XI v Esher

DULWICH 249-9 (50) beat ESHER 102 (38.2) by 147 runs

Scorecard

A fine all-round performance by Salaar Waqar, who hit 69 and took five wickets, led Dulwich to a stunning victory by the emphatic margin of 147 runs over table leaders Esher in Division 2 of the Travelbag Surrey Championship.

Dulwich were put in to bat, but got off to a rousing start as Nick Hudson dominated both the strike and the scoring to score 25 out of an opening stand of 35 in nine overs with Matt Balch. He then scored a further 22 in a second wicket stand of 24 in three overs with Henry Hazlewood. Both fell in successive balls with the score on 59, with Hudson having made 47 of those runs off 48 balls. Assan Crawford-Khan fell 16 runs later, to bring in Waqar to join Kristian Williman. The pair had taken the score to 107-4 off 22 overs when a heavy shower drove the players from the field. Ten overs were lost, thereby reducing the Dulwich innings to a maximum of 50.

After the resumption the pair took their partnership to 68 off 20 overs when Williman was caught behind for 32 with the score on 143. This brought in keeper Will Bancroft, who went on the attack, scoring 41 off 34 balls in a stand of 67 in nine overs for the sixth wicket to take the total to 210 after 44.2 overs. Waqar fell two overs later, having faced 91 balls for his 69. This was his fourth half century of the season, and his second against these opponents. Skipper Alex Gledhill and Kamran Munawar then added 36 for the eighth wicket before Gledhill became the fifth victim for keeper Alex Martin in the final over. Matt Quaife was run out off the penultimate ball, and the innings closed on 249-9 after 50 overs. Esher had 40 overs to try and score the runs, or at least reach 200 for the winning draw.

The bowling was opened by second team captain James Bridgland, making a rare first team appearance, and he got off to an ideal start when he removed the visiting skipper with the second ball of the innings. He dismissed the other opener with the last ball of his third over, and Munawar followed up three balls later by bowling the dangerous Martin, who had made a century in the first match between the sides. The fourth wicket pair came together with the score on 27, and had added 31 when Waqar, having conceded two fours off his first four balls, dismissed prolific overseas player Shoaib Khan with his fifth. This initiated a collapse in which six wickets fell for 35 runs in 14 overs, with three more to Waqar and two to Quaife.

The last wicket pair thus came together with the score on 93 and 12.2 overs of the innings remaining. Gledhill used four different bowlers to try and break the stand, but the pair resisted for ten overs as number 8 Ben Collins took a single off the last ball of four consecutive overs to keep last man Tom Brown away from the strike. A maiden by the skipper in the 38th over left Brown facing the 39th. Waqar was recalled, and he bowled Brown with his second ball to dismiss Esher for 102. Waqar rounded off an inspired performance with 5-23 off 11.2 overs.

Dulwich have thus lost to the bottom side and beaten the top side in successive weeks. Unfortunately the three sides above them in the table all also won this week, so Dulwich remain in ninth place. They are five points behind Epsom and 14 behind seventh placed Dorking, who are their visitors next week in the return match between the sides. Dulwich won the first match, and would overtake their opponents if they can repeat the feat next week.

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