Archive | Saturday 2nd XI Reports Archive RSS feed for this section

Sat 9th July – 2nd XI v Normandy

Damp Dog Destroys Doggies

For weeks this writer has been hoping for a game that was completed comprehensively; a game that didn’t twist and turn every five overs, suggesting a degree of schadenfreude on the part of his ten team mates who expect him to pick through – and fairly describe – the narratives of the titanic tussles the 2nd XI seem to delight in.

Unfortunately, this wish has manifested itself in a comprehensive battering at the hands on Normandy on Saturday.

The bare facts of the situation pre-game did not bode well for the recently-struggling 2nd XI.  Coming up against last year’s champions Normandy, currently riding high again in second place this season, an incredible dearth of Dulwich players – through injury and unavailability – significantly weakened the side.  This was particularly true of the batting line-up, missing 2nd XI luminaries Ferguson, Cornick (A) and Hale.  And on a heavily saturated pitch, Dulwich were required to send their fragile order into bat first after poor captain Richard Reid lost his ninth toss in ten games – a record now so incomprehensively desperate it would seem particularly pitiless to even attempt any loose tosser/tossing-based quip.  Overall, it wouldn’t have been unfair to surmise early on that it was going to be something of a struggle.

Openers James Siddle and Oliver Steward were first into the firing line.  An over from each end was enough to confirm suspicions about the damp pitch; a particularly squidgy area, just short of a length at one end, was being vandalised with inch-deep divots that sent the ball scatter-gunning both vertically and horizontally.

The Dulwich innings was a procession of wickets interspersed by 0-15 run partnerships as the home team somewhat flakily accepted their own plight and subsequent limp demise.  Steward (2) was first to depart in the fifth over, nicking one that lifted to second slip, and Zak Rostami (5) left one that cut back in and struck him in front.  Siddle (13) looked like he might be set to tough it out, but was unfortunate in cutting back onto his sticks, and skipper Reid (4) tickled through to the keeper.

Gareth Cornick and Stephen Heath, warmly welcomed back for his first game of the season, then showed that robust positivity might be the best way in dealing with the oppressive pitch as they rattled up a pair of 19s.  Cornick hit one beautiful blow over square-leg for 6 but next over played forward, was greeted by some conspicuous pop and the ball brushed his glove on the way through to the keeper.  Heath followed a couple of overs later, launching vertically to square-leg and, next ball, Abu Arabi became the fourth of the first seven wickets to be snaffled behind the wicket as he tried to defend.

The Dulwich tail, like a weary wife, has often had to clean up the top order’s mess this season.  But at 70-odd for seven, and on a damp Dog, it was a task too great.  Jamie Pettigrew has managed it on a couple of occasions this season and looked like carrying on that, and his previous nights’, accurate shot-playing but he was the last man out for 13.  Before him, Anthony Dalton (2) had swiped and missed and James Bridgland (3) had planted Larry left-foot straight down the line of one.  Dulwich were, sadly unlike the pitch, mopped up for 91; former Middlesex player Peter Wellings the chief destroyer with 5-22.

In response, Normandy chose to give their youngsters a go up the order.  An amount of sunshine over the course of the day meant the pitch was a little more docile in the second innings and they managed to wrap up victory by seven wickets in 29 overs.  Bridgland (2-21, including one that sponged into the track halfway down, comically looped to the batsman and was absurdly chopped straight to cover) and Dalton (1-10) the only men to pick anything up.

Dulwich should now be aware of their standing in the league – third-bottom and 14 points off the drop zone.  A response is required, starting next week away at second-bottom Ashtead, else spending the back-end of the season in a relegation battle will become a very real eventuality.

Sat 2nd July – 2nd XI v Malden Wanderers

Familiarly Inconsistent Dulwich Blow Chance of Victory

Dulwich lost by seven wickets to Malden Wanderers in another game that swung one way to another that will, again, take this writer most of Monday morning to piece together.

Saturday afternoon started in familiar fashion for Dulwich – warming up from the ankle upwards, hand hockey and captain Richard Reid losing the toss.  Reid’s record now stands at a so-bad-it’s-impressive eight losses out of nine.

So, as is always the winning captain’s want in this format of the game, Dulwich were invited to bat.  And for eight overs it looked a very good toss to lose as Andy Cornick blazed a hasty 25, hitting some sweetly timed shots over the infield, before he was bowled (off the seventh ball of the over) by one that jagged back to end a positive opening stand of 42.  His partner Stephen Hale, who was struck a sharp blow to his elbow first ball, was easing himself into the game, nicely making use of the pacey openers to frequently guide the ball through point.  He and Stuart Ferguson (6) took Dulwich past 50 in the tenth over before Ferguson was trapped LBW.

Vice captain Gareth Cornick joined the action and looked like carrying on his good form from the previous week with a couple of early boundaries.  With Dulwich pushing the score up to 75 in the 17th over, and a sizeable total in construction, Malden opted to change tact and removed all pace from the ball.  Meds bowler Shakeel and spinner Wightwick proved ideal Dog bowlers and immediately made a break through when Cornick (8) took a leaf out of the Richard Reid Guide to Being Catastrophically Unlucky and was snaffled by a wonder catch at first slip off a genuine jaffa.

Given Dulwich’s proclivity for sub-par first innings scores in recent weeks, a degree of circumspect accumulation then ensued; also necessitated by the accurate slow bowling and tight ring field.  Hale looked to find the gaps while new batsman Oliver Steward looked to just find anything approaching the middle of the bat.  Drinks came and went with the innings beginning to crawl and when the fourth wicket fell – Hale bowled off an inside edge for a gritty 49 – Dulwich were teetering at 96 in the 31st over.

Coming in and looking to be positive was now difficult for new batsmen as Dulwich desperately looked to reach at least 200.  Tom Peacock (9) was assertive with his running before being bowled, captain Reid (5), and his Paradox, tried to force the issue but was caught at mid off and Tom Barnard (0), James Bridgland (1) and Graeme Hough (0) weren’t able to contribute.  Steward was eventually the last man out for a grubby 39 as Dulwich lamentably failed to bat to 55 overs, ending up 153 all out in the 50th.

Again, a degree of familiarity was apparent in the way Dulwich’s opening bowlers Bridgland and Nick Pritchard went in search of crucial early wickets.  A mixture of good line and length stuff was mixed with some misdirected four balls, although Pritchard was unlucky not to have the initial breakthrough caught at slip.  Similarly to Dulwich’s innings, Malden progressed to 44 before a wicket finally arrived; Bridgland bounced Dicker who miscued his hook shot to Steward at mid on.  Malden continued to press on and were playing reasonably well at 66-1 in the 14th over.

Dulwich’s usual shift into gear was then facilitated in dramatic fashion by Tom Peacock, who swung the game right around.  Replacing Bridgland, he bowled Barford in his first over and went even better with his next; a fantastic triple wicket maiden – one bowled, one LBW and one caught behind – decimated the Malden middle order.  Four wickets for one run had seen Malden crash to 67/5.

Graeme Hough had replaced Pritchard and was bowling steadily at the other end, with the odd ball occasionally biting and jumping on the worn surface.  He picked up the next wicket, with the score on 73 when Hollingsworth was caught low at gully by Steward.  Wary of not letting the innings drift, Dulwich continued to assert themselves, the slow combination of Peacock and Hough mirroring the effectiveness of Malden’s slower bowlers earlier in the day.  Hough, who finished with 2-16 from 11 economical overs, made another break-through when Mander skied one to Barnard at cover.

At 87-7, and with more than 20 overs remaining, Malden were going to have to bat well to even draw the game.  To back up the good bowling from Peacock and Hough, Dulwich had also been superb in the field; Barnard and Andy Cornick in particular impressing with some diving stops at cover and point.

That was as good as it got, though, for Dulwich.  For the second week running they weren’t able to kill off the opposition when victory was well within their grasp.  Pritchard (0-24), Bridgland (1-49), Barnard (0-18) and Ferguson (0-7) were all tried but were unable to remove Malden’s Gorrod and Richardson, both of whom batted well, and without really offering a chance, to see their team home with plenty of overs to spare.

As with many of the games in recent weeks, Dulwich were good in parts and far below average in others; putting in a more consistent and focused performance will be required in order to beat third place Normandy who visit Burbage Road next week.

Sat 2nd July v Old Colfeians

SATURDAY 2nd July 2011 (click thumbnails for larger images)

Kent Regional League – Division 1B – Metropolitan

Dulwich 5th XI v Old Colfeians

Old Colfeians 151 ao (David Hawes 4-46, Simon Peters 2-0)

Dulwich 153-6 (Obafemi Shokoya 71*, Sourish Mukherjee 47)

Dulwich won by 4 wickets

Sat 25th June – 2nd XI v Reigate Priory

Dulwich (Sort Of) Let Cornick Down

Gareth Cornick’s hero act with the bat proved futile as Dulwich 2nd XI were beaten off the last ball by Reigate Priory in epic and feisty contest.

Some days the effect of the toss on a game is negligible.  On others, the luxury of being able to utilise any challenging conditions wholly to your benefit can, obviously, hugely increase a side’s chances of victory.  And unfortunately, in skipper Richard Reid, Dulwich have officially the league’s worst tosser.  Another incorrect call on Saturday took Reid’s record this season to a catastrophic seven losses out of eight.  But, more importantly, meant Dulwich were inserted on a slightly damp pitch in some very favourable hazy and overcast conditions in which to bowl.

Whilst the pitch was tricky and the bowling good, Dulwich’s top order – not for the first time this season – failed to apply themselves properly.  After a watchful start, Charlie Kemp (1) nicked behind and James Siddle (0) was cleaned up first ball by a pacey yorker.  Stephen Hale (15) dug in for 11 overs, leaving the ball well and hitting a couple of pleasing cut shots, before he was trapped in front and Dulwich were reduced to 16-3.  A repair job of sorts was performed by Gareth Cornick and Oliver Steward (17), who between them battled away for an hour, seeing off the Reigate opening bowlers – both of whom had found movement and exaggerated lift off of the pitch – before Steward inexplicably decided to walk past one from the spinner and was stumped.  Tom Peacock (0) was adjudged LBW the very next ball, and Reid (1) followed suit soon after.

Dulwich were now really floundering at 61-6 in the 27th over.  Fortunately Cornick was batting with real focus and choosing to counter the tricky conditions by playing positively, hitting the ball particularly well through extra cover whenever given the opportunity.  He was the mainstay of two crucial partnerships with the lower order; firstly with Tom Barnard (12), who nurdled and ran well before being bowled by the returning opener, and James Bridgland (15) who, so delighted at finally middling something, attempted to take a single straight to mid off and was comprehensively run out.  These two stands took Dulwich to 136-8, and in the process allowed Cornick to register a brilliant, chanceless 50.  A few more runs were scraped together with Graeme Hough (8) before the innings was concluded when Cornick attempted a sizeable hit and was caught at long off for 72.  Dulwich’s innings had limped and blustered to 152 all out in the 53rd over; the disparity between Cornick’s top score and the other 10 batsmen’s efforts clearly showing what could have been achieved had a few more better applied themselves in the conditions.

As expected, the earlier cloud had blown away over the course of the afternoon and the second innings took place in glorious sunshine.  Irrespective of the biased eyes of this reporter, batting now was obviously a much easier task on the drier pitch with fewer balls deviating both vertically and horizontally.  It was therefore of even greater necessity that Dulwich matched Reigate’s excellent efforts with the ball but – again, not for the first time this season – too many deliveries of poor line and/or length were produced early on and Reigate were able to help themselves to 33 in the first 8 overs before Bridgland removed Mirza, courtesy of an excellent low catch from Barnard at cover.  Despite being somewhat gifted the first wicket, Dulwich were unable to turn any screws and allowed Reigate to proceeded to 74-1 in the 24th over without any due alarm before Hough – bowling in some discomfort due to a dicky shoulder – enticed Loft down the pitch and Reid completed a good stumping.

At the start of the day’s play Reigate were rooted to the bottom of the table, with only a single victory all season, and their lack of winning habit began to show as their batsmen recoiled into a shell.  Bridgland, who manfully bowled 18 overs straight through, was allowed to settle into a good channel outside off stump and Hough’s accurate twirlers were all neatly patted back without troubling the scorers.  Dulwich were able to exploit this self-made pressure by picking up three quick wickets; Ramsden was brilliantly caught by Hale diving at slip off Hough (3-45), off the same bowler Hatton blasted one straight to the safe hands of Barnard at point Bridgland (2-36) took the crucial wicket of opener Smith, who had batted well for 41.

Reigate were teetering at 95-5 in the 35th over, and Dulwich had gained themselves a realistic chance of victory.  Nearing the wall, the gruesomely sweaty Bridgland was replaced by Barnard who added a very tidy bowling performance to his earlier efforts with the bat and in the field. At this point Cornick blotted his day’s copybook slightly by shelling an important catch off Barnard and Reigate’s sixth wicket partnership moved them onto 122 with some lusty hitting before Tame was caught by Steward at midwicket off Peacock (1-21).  Barnard (2-15) then quickly removed Ahmad too.

With five overs to go Reigate required 25 to win, Dulwich three further wickets.  Given the 2nd XI’s penchant for tightly-secured victories, they weren’t writing themselves off.  But Reigate skipper Gale was striking the ball well and the large outfield was proving difficult to defend, despite the best efforts of skipper Reid rotating his fielders between bagging in and bagging out.  Reid’s second good stumping of the day, this time off Barnard, then dragged Dulwich back into the equation, but with Reigate needing only four runs to win off the final two overs anything other than defeat was looking very unlikely.

Tom Barnard then again belied his age by bowling a fantastic maiden to Reigate’s number ten Packham and the pressure ramped up again on the home side.  The final over was entrusted to Peacock, who began well with a dot ball.  Bowling very straight and full, Reigate could only scamper three singles off the next four balls and victory was only sealed when Packham poked the final ball of the day through the encroaching infield for the required single.  Reigate’s Gale finished unbeaten on 26.

A good game, overall, that was demanding of both bowlers and batsmen.  It exemplified all that has been good and fairly average about the 2nd XI this season; lack of big runs from the top order, some early wayward bowling but also an excellent fight back, good bowling when on top and a determination not to be easily beaten.  Two big home games now follow against Malden Wanders and Normandy as Dulwich attempt to get their season back on track.

Sat 18th June – 2nd XI v Banstead

Tulsiani and Pritchard star in soggy Dulwich draw

Raj Tulsiani’s brutal 50 and Nick Pritchard’s four wickets were the mainstay of a Dulwich 2nd XI winning draw at home to Banstead on Saturday.

Dulwich captain Richard Reid failed at the toss for the sixth time in seven weeks and Dulwich were asked to bat – an expected move by Banstead given the likelihood of a vast amount of rain affecting the day’s play.  And indeed, Dulwich openers Raj Tulsiani and Charlie Kemp hadn’t made it out to the middle before a light sprinkling delayed the start and took 2 overs out of the game.  Tulsiani and Kemp then managed to negotiate 6 overs on a slightly damp, slow deck before a substantially more violent downpour lashed across Burbage Road.  The grim, vaguely Biblical, scene was observed from the bar by the players; talk of alternative Saturday afternoon plans and, importantly, whether tea would still be served was in full flow when the rain suddenly abated after a solid thirty minute immersing.  A further hour was then lost as players turned amateur groundsmen and, bored with simply waiting for the sun to deal with the several sizable lakes now covering the square, botch-handily attempted to make conditions playable by spreading a small forest’s worth of sawdust across most of the outfield.  The umpires, satisfied with the prospect of continuing play on a ground now difficult to differentiate from a particularly swampy Glastonbury – and with continued pained reference to the league handbook -, decided play would resume with the game reduced to 68 overs, of which Dulwich would be able to bat 39.

Upon the resumption, Tulsiani – in form and up from the 4th and 3rd XIs in consecutive weeks and batting with unyielding focus – together with Kemp had a good look at the bowling and spongy pitch and moved their partnership along to 43 before Kemp (16) got one that held and popped and was caught at gully. Tulsiani then decided to open up his expansive range of shots and, whilst not making contact with everything he swung at, smashed his way to a very impressive 50 with some beautifully hit shots, both over the infield and through it.  Propping up the other end, Stuart Ferguson mixed some typically high-elbowed forward defensive shots with the occasional classy pull in front of square and helped himself to 26 before being stumped; Dulwich with a good platform set at 111-2 and 12 overs to go.  Tulsiani unmercifully maintained the momentum, hitting three glorious 4s off the first three balls of a Condie over, before too being stumped for a fantastic 77.  There then followed an eclectic mixture of lower order scrambling, crabbing, questionable running and mid-ranged hitting from Oliver Steward (15), Jamie Pettigrew (7*) and Sri Lanka’s Gareth Cornick (16) which took the score to 165-5 in the 37th over when Reid called the innings in.  Would the extra two overs to bowl at Banstead make all the difference?

A quick tea was taken and Dulwich duly set about trying to take 10 Banstead wickets in the 32 overs remaining.  Choosing to open up with Graeme Hough and Jamie Pettigrew utilising the old ball, a reasonable amount of pressure was applied but only a single wicket snaffled – Pearce chopping one on from Hough (1-18) – in the first 10 overs.  Captain Reid then called for the new ball and brought on James Bridgland and Zakir Rostami into the attack in the hope of blasting a couple of batsmen away.  However, despite Dulwich coach Allen Blackford’s best attempts to gee up the bowlers from the sidelines, nothing really approaching a reasonable area was being found with the ball and, at 81-1 in the 15th over, Banstead had assumed a strong position.

The initiative was regained, however, when Pritchard (4-7) replaced Rostami and succeeded in forcing one through Yeats’ defence to make a crucial breakthrough.  He then took a wicket in each of his next three overs – one the result of an astonishing one-handed diving catch by Pettigrew space cadetting at mid off – and, with the change in fortune also suddenly coaxing the best out of Bridgland at the other end, Banstead were reeling at 87-5 with 12 overs still to go.  The push for victory was on but Elster and Taylor played well in stifling the bid and, despite crowding the bat, some bad chat and the rotation of the Dulwich bowlers, the breakthrough wasn’t forth-coming and Dulwich ran out of overs.  A four point winning draw, however, was a reasonable outcome on a day where we were lucky to get much cricket at all.