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Sat 28th May – 2nd XI v Wimbledon

Dulwich travelled to Wimbledon for the fourth game of the league season, with both teams having earned 3 wins from their first 3 games.

Skipper Reid continued his 0% toss success rate and Wimbledon invited Dulwich to bat first. The Wimbledon bowlers bowled well throughout the innings and despite many of the batsmen getting starts, nobody was able to push on and impose themselves on the opposition’s bowlers after securing a solid grounding  to the innings.

Gaz Cornick played nicely to push the run-rate up and Reid once again showed his value lower down the order with a typically feisty, determined, if not fluent, knock. With the help of 7 off the last ball of the innings courtesy of a wayward shy at the stumps hitting the keeper’s redundant helmet, Dulwich were able to post 202 for 8 from their 50 overs.

In response, Bobby once again bowled a superb opening spell and claimed an early wicket. That was pretty much it for the Dulwich bowlers as Wimbledon’s number 3, McNeilage scored an aggressive century with 11 4s and 5 6s to take Wimbledon to a comprehensive victory by 9 wickets. 

 A humbling bump back to earth for the Dulwich 2nd XI on a day when they came second best.

Sat 21st May – 2nd XI v Epsom

After starting the league season with two consecutive victories, Reid’s collection of nimble, light-footed and ambitious cricketers were looking to continue their winning run at home against Epsom. Dulwich again fielded a strong XI, this week minus the injured inspirational Bridgland but welcomed to the side James Siddle with his Hollywood looks and semi-ginger beard, and Dulwich CC’s very own sickly child Ollie Steward to bolster the batting line-up.

Under brilliant sunshine, Reid continued his poor form at the toss and Epsom elected to bat first. After some negotiations on bowling ends and fielding positions, Dulwich bowled well to restrict the visitors to 76 for 5 after 28 overs, including a superbly taken run out. Epsom battled well and put on a good partnership, and were eventually all out in the 50th over for 198 on the board. The wickets were shared with Bobby taking 2, MacDonald 2 and Olver 3.

In response, Dulwich kept the runs flowing but after a couple of unlucky decisions and some well-held catches, Epsom had Dulwich on the ropes at 131 for 7 after 39 overs. A fired up Reid was joined by a calm and composed Pettigrew and together the pair batted sensibly to form a partnership to keep Dulwich in with a sniff. Reid eventually fell with the score on 177, and this brought McDonald to the crease. They kept up with the run rate and entered the final over still needing 6 runs with one wicket in hand. Pettigrew was caught at fine leg looking for the winning shot, but the batsmen crossed and this left McDonald to hit the next ball out of the reach of cover for the winning boundary. As the ball hit the rope, the good crowd cheered in support as Dulwich secured a thrilling win by one wicket to maintain their 100% winning start to the season.

After that excitement we’re all looking forward to the already vital trip to Wimbledon this forthcoming Saturday. They also have a 100% record this term, and will be looking to avenge Dulwich’s double over them last season so it promises to be another close finish. This is the start of a run of fixtures against the league’s title contenders so will be a good test for Dulwich’s 2nd XI.  If the batsmen can start to fire and impose themselves, and the team remain together on the field we can look forward to more great cricket over these crucial forthcoming weeks.

Sat 14th May – 2nd XI v Ashtead

With expectations for the season reaching feverous levels and with skipper Reid’s rousing Churchillian mid-week message at the forefront of the player’s minds, Dulwich welcomed the visit of newly promoted Ashtead for their first home game of the season.

After losing the toss, Dulwich were invited to bat first on a wicket that looked certain to offer some help for the seamers. This did however provide Dulwich’s strong battery of seam bowlers the chance to recover after Gaz Cornick’s lengthy and bizarre warm-up session, which at one point resembled an ancient martial art ritual rather than eleven men getting ready to bat, bowl, catch and field.

Dulwich struggled against the new ball, losing Hale in the opening over and after 15 overs were struggling on 34 for 4. Tom Peacock and Stuart Ferguson started to consolidate and rebuild the innings watchfully. They showed real application and when Peacock was dismissed for 57 the pair had shared a 142 run partnership. Ferguson went on to complete a superb century in the 50th over to finish 101 not out and Dulwich posted a total of 202 for 8.

Dulwich began well with Bobby removing Ashtead’s opener in the first over and Bridgland continued his fine early season form from the other end, bowling sharply to claim 3 wickets. Wickets continued to fall and despite a frustrating 6th wicket partnership and some moments of fielding straight from The Benny Hill School of Fielding, Cornick, Pettigrew and Peacock shared the wickets as Dulwich wrapped up Ashtead’s innings for 111 to win by 91 runs.

It was a great all round performance and a very satisfying win for Dulwich to make it two wins out of two. There is a solid backbone and character to the team and confidence is high, but if we’re to remain in contention for honours we need to iron out a few creases and make sure we take the chances offered.

Sat 7th May – 2nd XI vs Malden Wanderers

With high expectations for a great summer ahead, the 2nd XI’s league season got underway at Malden Wanderers. Despite the balmy April that has left many grounds looking like the 5th day of a Mumbai Test match, a heavy morning shower had the made the toss a good one to lose. Not for the last time this season, Richard called incorrectly and Malden inserted us on a green looking deck.

The decision looked to be a good one as Dulwich were soon reduced to 16 for 2 after a tight spell from Malden’s opening seamers. Gaz Cornick then consolidated well but wickets continued to fall at the other end until Cornick was trapped infront of all three and was out LBW for 69. With 8 overs still to bat, Pettigrew joined skipper Reid at the crease with Dulwich floundering on 159 for 8. A determined and sensible partnership of 57, led by a crucial 36 not out from skipper Reid with his beautiful new bat striking the ball poetically, meant Dulwich were able to set a competitive total of 216 off their alloted 50 overs.

Malden started their chase watchfully and Dulwich’s new ball pair, Bobby and Bridgland, settled on tight and excellent lines, restricting the openers to 38 off the first 18 overs. As the batsmen increased the pace of their chase, this brought chances, and despite Dulwich not being able to take advantage of all of these, Malden were still restricted to only 110 for 2 after 30 overs.

Pettigrew continued where the opening pair had left off by frequently passing the outside edge and forcing nicks that didn’t go to hand, and was unlucky to only claim one wicket. The game turned with the introduction of Gaz Cornick (3 wickets) and Tom Peacock (4 wickets) who both bowled superbly by taking the pace off the ball to run through Malden’s middle order and tail, eventually wrapping up their innings with the score on 193, leaving Dulwich with a winning margin of 23 runs.

Overall it was a satisfying start to the season with all players involved, and importantly it was a match that required the team to muscle down, show application and work hard for the win. There were some great positives – camaraderie and support within the team was high and no bowling extras were given away throughout Malden’s innings – but we’ll be looking for more from the batsmen and sharper fielding over the forthcoming tough fixtures.

Sat 16th April – 2nd XI vs Wycombe House

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With high hopes for a title challenging season ahead in the Surrey 2nd XI Premier League, and the expected strong competition for places across the club with new and returning players, the 2nds got their season underway with a solid all round victory against Wycombe House.

Everybody got a chance to get outside, blow off the cobwebs, re-adjust their hearing to accommodate an afternoon of Gareth Cornick’s constant West Midlands din, welcome some new players and compare successful off-season fitness programmes…

In unseasonally good April weather Dulwich won the toss and elected to bat. Virtually all the batsman got some time at the crease and opener Andrew Cornick looked especially fluent for his score of 62. Skipper Richard Reid looked safe as houses at the crease playing like Boycott to scratch a handful of runs over the last 5 overs. With the game-changing big hitters due in next, Richard’s strategy of keeping them like coiled springs ready for the 1st league game of the season is a risky one, but given his track record of getting things right in the face of adversity his ploy is destined to succeed. Everybody is looking forward to seeing him star with his new bat this season. Dulwich posted a competitive score of 216 in their 40 overs.

Wycombe House came out with all guns firing and having clearly been influenced by the recent World Cup and current IPL season, looked to put Dulwich’s opening bowlers under pressure from the off by making use of the short boundary.

With this aggressive style of course came chances, and with all of the Dulwich bowlers sticking to their tasks, the 2s bowled Wycombe House out for 161 in 30 overs to set up a winning margin of 55 runs. Stand out bowlers were Aamir Siddique, Tim Gatenby and young Tom Barnard who showed real promise and caught a tough, steepling key catch on the boundary with real aplomb.

All in all a sound start to the season and a good first-game outing for all involved. Roll-on the league season…

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