ASHTEAD 78 lost to DULWICH 81-1 by 9 wickets
The unstoppable force, the cricket behemoth, the leviathan which is the 2012 Dulwich 3s (henceforth ‘The Machine’) came back home on Saturday to be greeted by a ten man (well, 8 men and 2 boys) Ashtead side that needed a win to kick-start their campaign. A fresh wind took the edge off the heat as slip fielder and Captain Leather tossed the coin without applying the correct amount of rotational force. Ashtead chose to bat. This left The Machine wondering if Ashtead had done their homework. But, casting such tactical musings aside, The Machine opened up with Rethinasamy and Jones taking the new ball. Despite prolonged slip practice in the pre-match warm-ups, both opening bowlers decided not to take a chance in the corridor of uncertainty and instead bowled wicket-to-wicket. The tactic paid off, and they picked up a pair of wickets each as the Ashtead top order proved unable to cope (a particularly nasty first ball yorker from Jones perhaps the pick of the early wickets).
After eight overs apiece Jones and Rethinasamy gave way to Peacock and Mr Anderson, who kept up the heat on the underwhelming batting line up. Ashtead’s 12 year old batting sensation put up some resistance however, hitting Peacock back over his head for a majestic boundary. A few overs later it became apparent that Mr Anderson hadn’t read the memo entitled ‘avoid the slip cordon at all costs’, and had the 12 year old batting sensation dropped by Leather at first slip. He proved a fast learner however, getting his man caught and bowled soon after on his way to a 3-for.
Ashtead then proceeded to crumble like an over-dipped rich tea biscuit (Peacock and Anderson sharing the wickets, with Taylor taking a particularly sharp chance behind the stumps off Peacock, although it must be said that the batting technique of the Ashtead lower order bore a resemblance to a drunk man trying to open a bottle of wine using only a fork), negating the need for The Machine to turn to the golden arm of Garthwaite, who was therefore able to work on his tan at backward point. When all was said and done, Ashtead had been bowled out for just 78.
Having tucked into some hastily prepared tea, The Machine then tucked into some underprepared Ashtead bowling, with the openers getting off to brisk start thanks to the bowlers’ inability to locate the short grassy stuff between the stumps (Peers taking to teasing the deep backward square leg fielder on more than one occasion). Some occasionally disciplined bowling led to a slight steadying of the run chase as Cornick and Peers were content to milk the runs without resorting to the risk-taking and showboating that some on the sidelines were asking for (which is not to say that they didn’t break out the odd bottle of class, Cornick uncorking a few from a particularly good vintage).
With 20 or so runs needed Peers boredom got the better of him and he missed a straight one, leaving The Machine to send in Tyler to help Cornick pick off the remaining runs. Beverages were being consumed by 4.30pm, and proved to be the only thing to cause The Machine to stutter, Peacock in particular casting a shadow long after the sun had set…
A 9 wicket victory then, and with confidence sky high, The Machine heads to Wimbledon’s new digs for what it hopes will be its first real test of the season.