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Sat 2nd June – 2nd XI v Epsom

EPSOM 225-9 beat DULWICH 145 by 80 runs


The match began with a slow procession through the streets of Epsom cheered on by scores of race goers bedecked in their glad rags.

The game opened with the thoroughbred James Bridgland producing a first class opening stint of 14 overs for a measly 35 runs and picked up 2 wickets. (Surprisingly?) acrobatic fielding from Steve Hale off the bowling of Bobby brought about the key wicket of their opener just as he was beginning to play some shots and gather momentum. Tighter bowling and sharper fielding in the first 20 overs meant that the odds were definitely in our favour and punters were flocking to back us as Epsom were reduced to 97-6. However, like Devon Loch this early lead was bafflingly overturned.

Lady luck certainly smiled on Epsom’s lower order as they swung, slogged and largely edged their way to 225-9 from 54 overs- at least 75 more than they should have scored.

Dulwich’s reply never really got out of the starting gates as a succession of batsmen drove loosely, resulting in 5 catches for the Epsom keeper. At 61-7 bookies were paying out for an Epsom win before Bridgeland and Gareth Cornick put together an impressive partnership of 81, never looking troubled and showing the top order how to bat on the surface. However, despite their heroic rearguard  effort the draw fell agonisingly out of reach with the last three wickets falling with one over to bat out for the draw.

Sat 19th May – 2nd XI v Malden

DULWICH 40 lost to MALDEN WANDERERS 41-1 by 9 wickets


Ok, so let's get this over with. The best thing about writing this match
report is that there is very little to write about before the drone of
wicket after wicket becomes as boring as watching it did!

It was a fairly standard day down at b-bage road, overcast, chilly, bit of
moisture in the air – you get the picture. Late and without even bothering
to warm up, the current league leaders (undefeated in their opening two
games), Malden Wanderers, road in to town like a drunk John Wayne
arrogantly stalking his next outlaw. Seeing this lack lustre appearance,
and knowing that this is the team that stupidly try to fit two cricket
pitches on the same small strip of land and call it a home ground, there 

was a sense of optimism about the Dulwich team – which contained a
refreshing 6 new players from the previous season.

As is customary, Dulwich lost the toss and were in to bat on wet wicket.
Roll on the standard chat of play sensibly, get through the first 15 overs,
keep wickets in hand, play straight, get forward, keep wickets in hand and
have a look at 40 overs to see where we are.

Off we went.

The start was slow but steady enough with Ed Matten playing some beautiful
cover drives straight to the fielders to ensure he remained on zero for a
painfully long period of time and Halloyd attempting to cut some dreadful
wide long hops without success. Then came what can only be described as the
biggest collapse since Wall Street. A procession that would have put Posh
and Becks' wedding to shame. Tight seam bowling started the rot, aided by a
very unfortunate run out at the bowlers end "the worst way to go" (a phrase
which clearly ignores the possibility of the getting bowled off your own
nuts). The spinners then came on and made things worse, with Stuart
Ferguson the only man showing any real fight before even he was done by a
low grubber. However, all of this disappointment was dispelled to the
shadows when the team had to go through the torment of watching Bridgey
constantly kick away a spinner on his way to what would have been a
majestic hundred before being tantalisingly left stranded on 4 not out.
Dulwich second team ALL OUT FOR 40

Y.ou know you haven't had a great game when you bat first and not only do
you not get tea between innings but you over hear the umpires using the
phrase "we may as well get it over before tea".

The bowling performance was reasonable enough, the stand out and only
wicket taker being Alex Gledhill who bowled a tight and menacing spell of
left arm spin. However, it was all a touch fruitless as, despite a
worringly tea-delaying slow start, Malden got to their target comfortably,
just one down.

I think in reflecting on situations such as this, Yazz said it best – the
only way is up. Whilst we did have the major disadvantage of missing both
of our opening league games due to weather, the dog played pretty much as it always has and there was far too much sitting on the back foot and
playing across the line. Good news is that the next game should be a
comfortable affair away at Wimbledon, and the weather is set fair. . .

Sat 13th Aug – 2nd XI v Banstead

Two Weeks On the Bounce: A Two Run Defeat

An outstanding all-round performance from Gareth Cornick was not enough to save Dulwich from slipping to their second successive agonising two run defeat.

The game was a must-win for both sides.  Dulwich linger just two points above the relegation zone, whilst defeat for bottom-placed Banstead would have seen them all but relegated.

Despite not winning since May, Dulwich 2nd XI began the day full of reasonable confidence; optimism buoyed by early events at the toss.  Cricket Chairman Graeme Hough had made clear in a midweek pep-talk to all the sides that the opportunity to turn a poor season into an average one was still very manageable; skipper Richard Reid certainly took note and won his third toss of the season to (marginally) improve his distressing success rate.

Banstead were invited to make first use of a good looking pitch and quick outfield.  After a flood of early runs allowed them to reach 31 in the sixth over, Dulwich’s openers Bobby Iftikhar and Zabeh Mohammed tightened up to restrict them to 46/0 after the first ten overs.

Iftihkar, in particularly, was very tidy.  He picked up the first wicket when Pearce edged to Reid behind the stumps and bowled through nine overs, recording figures of 1-17.  At the other end, the extra pace Mohammed was putting on the ball was used to effect by Banstead opener Offer, who found the boundary often early on.  But Mohammed eventually found his line and produced the second wicket when Loosemore was bowled for a duck.

Dulwich’s former strike bowler James Bridgland was then brought into the attack, and he chipped away outside off stump for a few overs before removing the dangerous Offer for 50 with a short one that was hammered straight to Zakir Rostami at point; Rostami doing well to cling onto a ball that was savagely hit.

Gareth Cornick, who had earlier dropped Offer at slip, was meanwhile twirling his off spin away at the other end and made up or his earlier uncharacteristic flap by nabbing four wickets in the middle overs.  The first – Banstead skipper Burns for 31 – thanks to an excellent example of how it should have been done by Stephen Hale at first slip.

From 105/4 at drinks, Banstead could only add 35 in the next 15 overs thanks to tight lines from Cornick and the excellent Rostami (1-22) for the loss of four wickets.  Cornick finished his spell with excellent figures of 4-34 and Banstead were teetering at 140-8 with ten overs to go.

From there, Banstead came well back into the game through a combination of good batting, the helpful outfield and some average Dulwich bowling a fielding.  A couple of chances to end the innings went begging, as Mohammed (1-54) and Bridgland (1-59) returned to complete the innings, with a brief cameo from Stuart Ferguson’s dibblers (0-24).  74 were added in the final ten overs by the Banstead tail – far more than Dulwich would have hoped or expected after their superb first 40 over performance, but still not an ungettable total on a good pitch.

Dulwich’s innings though was tempered, however, by the early loss of Hale (4) and Ferguson (6).  James Siddle and Cornick had to therefore spend time ensuring no further quick loss of wickets ensued before gradually moving up a gear and taking Dulwich to 99/2 at drinks in the 25th over.  This position of promise was punctured, though, when Siddle – who had played very nicely for 45 – bunted an innocuous full toss straight to mid off.  Oliver Steward then entered and continued his poor form by calamitously running himself out for an 11 ball duck, shortly being followed back to the hatch by Andy Cornick (7) who was LBW playing back.  Skipper Reid was next up and also chipped in with 7 before being bowled by the same bowler and Dulwich had crashed to 128/6.

A large proportion of Dulwich’s hopes now rested on Cornick and he responded in superb style, calmly making his way to a chanceless 50 with some typically well struck biffs.  Rostami, his new partner, played a good anchor role, looking to find singles to give Cornick the strike.  Gradually the score began to approach respectability again, though Dulwich remind slightly behind the required rate.  As the final ten overs began it was pushing up to nine an over and, despite not finding the boundary as often as was required, Dulwich just about hung on courtesy of some frantic running.

With two overs to go Dulwich required 18, but immediately lost Rostami (20) and could only manage seven off the penultimate over.  12 to win off the final six balls brought back memories of the previous weeks’ crushing two run defeat against Reigate Priory.  Bridgland, in the thick of the action in the final over last week, joined Cornick who missed out on the first delivery but then magnificently launched the second ball of the over for a huge six over long-on.  Six were now required off four.  The third ball was in a similar area, just inside Cornick’s arc, and he swung through the line again.  This time the contact was not quite as sweet, and the ball cruelly dropped into the waiting hands of long off.  Cornick, fighting a lone, fatigued battle, had fallen for 96.

Six required off three was still gettable, however.  Bridgland swung at the next ball but missed.  Another good ball was then scraped for a single leaving Zabeh Mohammed to hit the final ball for six to win the game.  He made good contact, but couldn’t get under the ball and only two could be taken to long off.  Dulwich, again dramatically and desperately, two runs short of the winning target.

With nearest rivals Ashtead also losing, however, Dulwich’s fate is still very much in their own hands.  They face Weybridge at home next week, needing to pick themselves up and go again as they fight to survive with just three games remaining.

Sat 6th Aug – 2nd XI v Reigate Priory

Brave Doggies End Two Runs Short

A fantastic innings of 97 by Simon May couldn’t quite push Dulwich past Reigate Priory’s stiff target in an important game towards the lower end of the 2nd XI Premier Division table.

Dulwich, going into the day third bottom and only two points above the drop zone, were seeking an important win as the league games reverted back to the straight 50/50 win-lose format after several weeks of toss-losing induced misery in the split 100 overs format.

Dulwich skipper Reid won/lost the toss (depending on at what stage during the day’s proceedings he was asked about it) and the Doggies chose/were asked to bowl first.

Reigate batted well to post a decent-looking target of 251 on an above-par Dulwich pitch.  After Bobby Iftikhar (1-28) had made an early breakthrough – courtesy of the first of three good catches from the league’s self-proclaimed best slipper Gareth Cornick – Dulwich had to stay patient as two sizeable partnerships, comprising of 88 for the 2nd wicket and then 105 for the 3rd, saw Reigate reach 217/2 in the 42nd over.  Dulwich did not do much wrong; but the odd catch went down, a few more wides than would have been expected were bowled and Reigate – especially their number three Irving – successfully cashed in against the four balls that were occasionally offered up.  Even James Bridgland, in his new role as first change/Chris Harris-esque stock bowler, went for over five-and-a-half an over.

But, despite looking set to really unleash towards the end of the innings, Reigate were kept to just 34 in the final eight overs as Dulwich nabbed seven late wickets.  First Mizra nibbled the again-unretired Allen Blackford’s off spin (1-57) through to keeper Reid for 57 and then Irving departed for a very good 99; the second of Cornick’s catches at first slip, this time off the bowling of Zakir Rostami.  It was Rostami who really stemmed the Reigate advance in the final overs, picking up 4-38 off nine overs, showing excellent control to bowl full and fast at the death.  Two run outs also indicated Dulwich’s fielders were staying committed to the last, despite a hard slog in the field, and Reigate ended up registering 251-9 in their 50 overs.

Chasing five an over and benefiting from local knowledge that dictates the new ball is often the most dangerous period of an innings at Burbage Road, Dulwich saw fit to work their way through the opening overs circumspectly.  They reached 30 in the tenth over for the loss of just Andy Cornick (15) who had nibbled through to the keeper.  A fantastic partnership then ensued between Stephen Hale and Simon May as the rate was upped slightly before Hale, who was starting to look very good, was snaffled at long-on for 37.  At 101-2 in the 25th drinks were taken and vice-captain Gareth Cornick joined May.  May’s innings was a spectacle of steady of accumulation interspersed with some hefty cutting and pulling and he was looking well in command of the Reigate attack.  He and Cornick, who started slowly but soon found his range, put on a steady 102 run partnership as Dulwich, nearly matching Reigate run-for-run, took themselves to 203/2 in the 43rd.

With 49 required off the final seven, Dulwich were decent favourites.  But the state of the game was changed dramatically in the 44th over as three quick wickets savage the Dulwich charge.  First Cornick tried to guide one to third man, but didn’t steer wide enough of the keeper, and was caught for 38.  Two balls later Oliver Steward (2) was a victim of the pitch as he was caught on the crease by a skidder and then, crucially, off the final delivery May chipped to mid off three short of what would have been a magnificent – and most likely match-winning – hundred.  Two overs later and Dulwich were further in the mire when Rostimi (4) was bowled.

Having surrendered four wickets for just nine runs the pressure had hugely increased on the home team’s batsmen as Blackford and Reid tried to rescue the situation with some positive batting and running between the wickets.  As the clock pushed past 8pm in the evening it was now becoming very dark.  229 was reached when Blackford was bowled trying to angle to third man.  Bridgland joined Reid and a further 11 were accrued through some darkness-defying swinging and Dulwich were left needing 11 from the final over to nab the win.

A swing and a miss first ball made things difficult and, when Reid (11) was bowled next ball, the situation was looking lost.  Zabeh Mohammed joined Bridgland and picked up two and then a single off the next pair of deliveries to leave eight needed off of two.  Bridgland (11*), in the dark and miserable drizzle, heaved the next ball to the boundary for four to give brief hope, but the final delivery could only be squirted for two and Dulwich fell dramatically and disappointingly two short.

Failure to win here makes the trip to bottom-placed Banstead next week a must-win.

Sat 23rd July – 2nd XI v Wimbledon

Dramatic Draw for Dogged Doggies

A makeshift Dulwich 2nd XI managed to earn an impressive point at home to high-flying Wimbledon.

July’s continued injury, wedding and holiday-related player exodus meant a patchwork team was still being put together on Friday afternoon.  From the 3rd XI came Jason Campbell, Simon May, Andy Bailey and Matt Ball and, from his advice-distributing pavilion plinth, Allen Blackford was recruited.  Facing a strong Wimbledon side – with nine victories in 11 games to date – a tough, and possibly chastising afternoon, was quietly feared.

In the absence of skipper Richard Reid, and his deputy Gareth Cornick, the captaincy was entrusted to Oliver Steward and he instantaneously equalled Reid’s toss winning record for the season (1) and asked Wimbledon to bat on a faintly clammy surface.

The overcast conditions were helpful for opening bowlers Bobby Iftikhar and Zabeh Mohammad, with the ball moving around in the air and off the surface.  Despite frequently beating the bat, the first breakthrough didn’t come until the score had progressed to 34 in eighth over when young Essex bowler Mohammad had Wimbledon skipper Eaves comfortably caught at point by Ball.  And in his next over he snared Gordon, who had crashed 29 of Wimbledon’s 39 runs to that point, caught behind by the tidy May.

Unfortunately, youth bowling restrictions meant Mohammad then had to be removed from the attack and he was replaced by James Bridgland.  At the other end, Dr Iftikhar (0-41) was carrying out his usual probing examination during a good 13 over spell which was unfortunate not to contain a victim.  After their reasonably quick start, the loss of their openers and the usual untrustworthy barking Dog forced Wimbledon to consolidate and progress more cautiously.  They reached 86 in the 22nd over before Bridgland had McNeilage well snaffled by Blackford at first slip, and the same bowler was the next wicket taker six overs later when Thompson skied a hook shot to Bailey at mid on.

With the pitch favouring seam bowling, a brief 10 over spin interlude was provided by Jason Campbell (0-21) and Allen Blackford (0-16) while the quicks rested before returning to complete the innings.  In his first over back Mohammad brilliantly bowled former Zimbabwe player Davies for 44, shouldering arms to one that came back in took his off stump.

Dulwich’s steady bowling and enthusiastic, if a little untidy, fielding had restricted Wimbledon to just 140-5 in the 40th over.  However, instead of keeping Wimbledon down to a very chaseable total Dulwich suffered a minor implosion.  The final overs saw too many hittable short balls dished up, the fielding flounder and Wimbledon crash 70 off the next eight overs.  Bridgland (2-60) suffered most from the poor fielding display, as overthrows and costly misfields tainted what would otherwise have been excellent figures.  Mohammad (4-68) thankfully ended the carnage by bowling Costin for 42 and Wimbledon declared on 210-6 in the 48th.

Wimbledon’s late surge had somewhat masked how tricky the pitch still was and Dulwich knew that coming unscathed through the first 10 overs against the new ball would be crucial in setting a platform to chase down 211 in their allotted 52 overs.

However, Wimbledon showed one of the reasons they are placed so far in front of the competition in the league this year; their bowlers largely stuck to a very tight line and jagged the ball around sharply and Dulwich were soon in some trouble.  James Siddle (2) was the first to go, adjudged LBW, and May showed glimpses of quality with some lovely pull shots before he too stuck his pads in the way of one and was gone for 17.  Opener Andy Cornick (28) had started scratchily but was just beginning to strike the ball nicely – including picking one up gloriously for 6 over square-leg – before he became the third LBW victim of the innings.  And when Steward was caught at slip for a snail-paced 1 and Ball (2) was bowled the aforementioned fear of a chastising afternoon was becoming be a fast-manifesting reality; the score reading 63-5 in the 24th.

The draw-rescuing recovery was begun, however, by Bailey and Blackford who defied the bowling and the pitch and recorded an excellent 64 run partnership.  With Wimbledon fielders crowding the bat, Bailey showed excellent fortitude and application in grinding out 23 tough runs, while Blackford showed he doesn’t just talk a good game; his positive intent surprising Wimbledon as he crashed several well-hit boundaries through the covers.

At 127-5 in the 38th Dulwich were daring to dream of the outside possibility of a victory.  But this was ended when first teamer Loubser returned to the attack.  He first had Bailey caught at slip and then Blackford controversially adjudged caught behind for a superb 43 two overs later.  When Mohammad holed out to square-leg shortly after, Dulwich had slipped to 139-8.

Thereafter, the innings became focused wholly on survival, but with 11 overs still to be bowled a degree of tension hung over every delivery.  Bridgland and Iftikhar battled magnificently, occupying the crease and looking to have got the job completed before late drama ensued when Iftikhar (4) was the fourth LBW of the innings from the first ball of the final over.  With a sizeable crowd of 3s, 4s and 5s players now watching, last man Jason Campbell strode out and blocked and left the remaining five deliveries with pressure-defying ease to secure the losing draw point.  Dulwich just about hanging on at 160-9 in 52 overs, Bridgland undefeated on 19.

A good point for the 2nd XI, but news of Ashstead’s victory against Banstead means they are now only two points behind as Dulwich travel to Epsom next weekend still very much involved in a relegation battle.