DULWICH 176-9 (50) beat ASHFORD 156 (42.4) by 20 runs
Dulwich took the last five wickets for just 14 runs to pull off a crucial 20 run victory against bottom club Ashford in Division 2 of the Ryman Surrey Championship.
Dulwich chose to bat, but found the pitch damp after recent rain with the ball not coming onto the bat. Ed Stolle was caught on the boundary for 8 with the score on 13 after 5.1 overs, but Oliver Steward and Frankie Brown lifted the score to 40 after 14.3. Brown’s dismissal for 17, off 34 balls, ushered in a turgid period of play as Steward and Matt Balch could add only 21 runs off the next 10.3 overs to take Dulwich to the drinks break at 61 with half the overs used up. Balch fell in the first over after the break, having taken 42 balls for his 7. Naeem Iqbal was promoted to number 5 in search for quick runs, and he responded by hitting 37 off 46 balls and sharing a stand of 51 in 11 overs for the fourth wicket with Steward. The opener’s vigil ended with 36 off 82 balls, and Iqbal followed in the next over to leave Dulwich on 118 for 5 after 37.1 overs. A further 27 runs were added in the next seven overs for the loss of three more wickets, with Sam Tennant falling for 7, Salaar Waqar run out without facing, and Stuart Ferguson making 16 off 24 balls. It took a few lusty blows from Euan Johnson, with an undefeated 17 off 19 balls, and 8 off 18 balls from acting skipper Alex Gledhill, to lift Dulwich to 176-9 after their 50 overs. These late runs were to prove vital in the context of the game.
If Dulwich’s total looked inadequate at the break, it seemed even more so when Iqbal was hit for 26 off his first three overs. James Bridgland at the other end provided a complete contrast, conceding only three runs off his first three and picking up the first wicket. Brown came on for the seventh over and struck with his first ball to reduce Ashtead to 29-2. Further wickets proved elusive as the third wicket pair added 62 off 13.4 overs. Waqar made the vital breakthrough, which led to another quiet period as only 18 runs came off the next 8.4 overs. Brown returned to take two wickets in three balls and reduce Ashford to 109-5 in the 29th over. Skipper Richard Mansfield survived two dropped catches in an over to lift his side to 142-5 after 37 overs, seemingly well placed with only 35 needed off 13 overs. Ferguson’s entry to the attack changed all that as he bowled Mansfield with his first ball and followed up with two more wickets in his next over. The ninth wicket pair had advanced to 156 when Iqbal was recalled to the attack, and he needed only four balls to claim the last two wickets, both bowled, and see his side to a 20 run victory. The last five wickets had gone down in just 5.4 overs, with Ferguson finishing with the remarkable figures of 3-2 off three overs, and Brown taking 3-27 off ten.
This was the second time in three weeks that Dulwich had demolished the opposition’s lower order to pull off an unlikely victory. It lifts them to eighth in the table, 17 points ahead of Cheam and 22 above Ashford, but with 20 points available for a win and three matches still to play it is not over yet. Next week they have their first home match in four weeks, when the visitors will be Epsom who are currently fourth.