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Sat 4th June – 5th XI v Ex Blues

A trip to ex blues played on a ground we used to play Bromley Common.   A sloping strangely shaped ground but we set our warm up to get used to the conditions.  Having Allen Blackford in the side always helps and he convinced Mal Persaud that he wasn’t injured.

We won the toss and decided to bat on a hot day.  The decision seemed to be a good one as we counted the fielders to find that Ex blues were two short.  A slow start at the top but keeping wickets in hand is usually a good plan in this league.  Alan Edwards went early so Alan Clarke joined David Straker.  Alan looked good but after scoring 19 also managed to get out.  Batting at 4 and with a bad foot (refusing to agree with Allen that it was not painful) Mal Persaud joined the action.  Both batsmen after a short period of control started opening up and using the slope and varied short boundaries to dispatch the ball for 4.  Successive partnerships of 29 (Alan and David), 41 (Mal and David), 47 (Mal and Jesse Johnson), 38 ( Mal and Simon Jones), 55 (Mal and Allen Blackford) got us into a very good position of 211 for 6.  A good innings from David of 44 after a steady start and a 66 from Mal (on one leg) topped by an explosive 61 from Allen Blackford who went to 50 in (I think) about 23 balls.  One of the opposition had had a bit of chat with Allen saying he only had one shot.  Six balls later it was “But he plays it very well!”  Simon Bailey and Jamie Hall came and went and a measure of the scoring rate of Blackers is that of the 32 partnership with Tim Brown, Tim managed 3 and spent most of his time avoiding being hit at the non strikers end.  Allen eventually fell to one of their young bowlers who had stuck to the task manfully. Mangal Nasiri came in for a lovely 1 ball 4 straight past the bowler.  271 for 9 a pretty good first innings score.  I’m not sure of the exact score at drinks but I think we scored 90 in the first session and 180 in the second off the same 23 overs!

We made a bit of hard work of the reply.  Fielded OK but not as well as we would have liked as Ex Blues made 191 and we finally got them all out in the last over.  Mangal and Jamie were a bit loose to start with and they started with an opening partnership of 49.    Mangal disappointed to get the opener caught behind with the second ball which had just been called a no ball.  Jamie was injured and Simon Bailey came on to give us some control which worked well – Simon bowling straight through with figures of 2 for 18 in 12 overs, 4 of which were maidens.  Just what we needed to put the brakes on.  Tim was less consistent at the other end.  Bowling some really good balls but also letting the slope mess with his line and length to constantly give scoring opportunities to the batsmen.  Allen was brought on from the bottom end after Simon had finished his spell and although he too had a few loose balls early controlled the situation well and ended up with an impressive 5 for 41 off 7.1 overs being particularly impressed with one ball as he bowled their top scorer.  Mangal came back but also mixed some good balls with some not so good stuff.

In the end a good win but there was a sneaking suspicion we went out to field just expecting to roll then quickly.  We need to be more ruthless in our execution.

Sat 11th June – 5th XI v Burgess Park

With 1 point separating the teams at the start a close game was expected from a mid-table clash at DSG.    Again a few changes and again a late pull out didn’t help preparation.

We won the toss and decided to bowl first in order to take advantage of the dampish conditions.    Jamie Hall and Rehan Malik opened the bowling and kept the scoring under control.  2 early wickets for Rehan with good catches from Alan Edwards and Tim Brown.  We were on top but from that moment a really good partnership by the Burgess Park opening bat and their number 4 slowly took the game away from us.    David Hawes was not as miserly with the ball as usual and the skipper also went for a few although Tim managed to pick up a wicket.  With only 4 recognised bowlers Tim turned to a few from Simon Jones and Mike Owen and although Mike took a wicket Burgess Park continued to raise the run rate.  Rehan came back and took a 3rd wicket with a stumping for Shok and then Tim took the last wicket but overall we bowled and fielded badly.  Burgess Park finished with a challenging 258 for 6.

We set off in reply with our top 6 (all of whom prefer to open the batting) facing two very good opening bowlers.  Anthony Gaughan in his second game of the season looked well out of sorts and Shok soon followed.  Although Alan Edwards had managed to take some fight to Burgess Park he was next out for 23.  Jesse Johnson also went quickly to a good ball and we were 31 for 4.  Not a good position.  Mal Persaud and Simon Jones the tried to build a recovery.  Neither could take the attack to the opposition and we got stuck not giving wickets away but not scoring any runs either.  Simon was out for 8 and Mike Owen continued the cautious approach.  At this point there was the only slight chance of a silver lining in the clouds – a big downpour brought the teams off and checking the rules we were praying for continued rain and an abandoned game that honestly we did not deserve.

The sun came out for the first time in the day and we went back out.  Jamie Hall sneaked ahead of the skipper and hit a couple of fours.  We managed not to be bowled out but ended up on 99 for 8 and a day that is best consigned to the history books.

Sat 28th May – 5th XI v Bromley Common

Despite being in a new league the 5th XI still have a few games against old foes from the South Thames League.  Saturday brought us up against Bromley Common 3rd XI who had started the new season well with three wins. 

Selection had again thrown up a few changes and the challenge was going to be getting a decent batting line up as 4 of the top 6 from the week before were unavailable.  The previous week’s problems in getting an umpire and the subsequent forfeit of the toss kicked off a search for a suitable man in a white coat.  Alan Edwards had managed to talk Chris Reardon into taking on the role.  Great to see Chris back at the club and I’m sure he will continue to “call it as he sees it!”.  I’m sure all the boys will be happy to see “Ray” for the rest of the season.

Bromley Common didn’t have an umpire and we would have been in our rights to assume that we had won the toss as the league rules allow us to.  In the spirit of cricket we decided we would let the toss of the coin decide the outcome.  It was a cold and blustery day and winning the toss allowed us to bowl first.

The opening attack of Mangal Nasiri and Deb Biswas started well and we (Deb on his return to Dulwich after a couple of years away) took a couple of early wickets.  Tony McCann for Bromley Common was still there and he has a history of big runs against us.  They were 83 for 2 at drinks off 23 overs with Jamie Hall having replaced Deb and a rather wayward Peter Black having taking over from Mangal.  The Skipper Tim Brown had just one over before drinks as youngster Stefan Begg had a twinge in his shoulder.  A good lesson for Stefan is never to let Tim to get on before you as getting the ball off him is much harder (than anything!).

After drinks the wily duo of Brown and Simon Bailey showed that pace off is a good tactic on the DSG pitches.  Bromley Common found it really difficult to score under pressure from the tight bowling and really good tight fielding support from all of the team.  1 wicket from Bails and 3 from Tim as we tightened the screw.    Deb was then brought back from the bottom (Turney Road) end and he added the 3 wickets he needed to start his return with a Michelle (… Pfeiffer ,  Five-for) bowling with control and fire.  Shok supported all the bowlers well with a fine display behind the stumps including a stumping standing up to Deb.

They had made 161 in the final over so we knew if we batted well we would be in a good position to win the game and Shok and Alan Edwards started well getting us to 40 without loss. 

Alan then played across the line to a shooter and the wickets started to tumble.  Jesse was given out lbw and Paul Mayo struggled to get started given the hamstring injury he had picked up when he was fielding.  Stefan Begg was promoted up the order to balance the fact he hadn’t managed to bowl a single ball but he never looked comfortable.    Shok also perished – facing experienced slow medium bowler Derek Bloomfield Shok was determined that we would not get bogged down in overs of slow scoring, unfortunately he attacked too earlier and to the wrong ball and managed to get out bowled.

 Jamie Hall stayed for a while but was really struggling to time the ball before he too went lbw.  Peter Black scored a few but could not repeat his big hitting from the week before.  Suddenly we had lost 7 for 52.  With only three wickets left and 69 to get we were in a tricky spot, although the required rate was only around 5.  Bailey and Brown then paired up with the bat much as they had with the ball and worked to get us back into the game.  33 runs later and Simon got a ball that moved a mile off the seam to bowl him and Deb Biswas strode out to the middle.  Still game on and Deb mixed a few lusty blows with a few overs of struggling to deal with the moving ball,  Building another partnership of 15 before Tim went to a very good catch at first slip – slashing hard and looking for that sneaky edged two.  At this stage we needed 20 off a couple of overs and Mangal strode to the crease determined to have a big slog.

The next over was a blur as we turned the pressure back on Bromley Common and almost won the game.  A few majestic shots from Mangal and we needed 12 off 4 balls.  Finally in trying to turn a 2 into a 3 a run out caused by the confusion and pressure of a close game finally did for us.  Another close loss to one of the sides who will challenge for the league.

Given our regularly changing personnel we are putting up a decent showing but we need to concentrate and play our good cricket for the whole game.  I am sure if we play well then we will win many more games in this league. 

6th Spot and only a win and a bit short of the top!  Next week Ex Blues away!

Sat 21st May – 5th XI v Catford & Cyphers

The game against Catford and Cyphers was a good test for the 5th Team.  They had won their first two games and on a lovely day we faced them at Sydenham High School.

We were hampered from the start as the “no umpire” rule was imposed and the Catford captain chose to bowl first.   We probably would have chosen to bowl and will be trying to get an umpire in place so we are not impacted throughout the season.  If anyone has a contact or friend who would like to be part of a very friendly team then please let Tim Brown know.

We had lost a few batsmen upwards in selection Aled, Tarun and Manish and lost two more in Alan Edwards and Tom Bale to the 4s as late call ups again blighted the week.  So with Veryan unavailable we had  a very changed batting line up.  It showed to start with as David Straker, Jesse Johnson and Simon Jones all departed reasonably early.  Mahesh Nair (34) and Sam Taylor with an aggressive and stylish 51 then took the attack back to the opposition.  At that stage a total over 200 and closer to 230 looked possible.  However as soon as we started thinking that they both fell and apart from a few from Simon Bailey and a few hearty swings of the willow from Peter Black (32) the rest of the line up subsided and we failed to bat our 46 overs.  We were 9 overs short which the opposition greedily picked up.  187 on the board and on a wicket that was difficult to score particularly with pace off the ball.  We were in with chance.

Mangal Nasiri and Peter Black opened the bowling and although a bit expensive each picked up a wicket.    At 2 down,and the score creeping up, both openers tired and the pace off option was chosen with David Hawes (any mention of his similarity with Matt Craig purely coincidental) and Stefan Begg taking up the challenge.  David bowled really tightly (7 overs 1 for 15) and the rate was pegged back.  Stefan looked much more confident than last week (5 overs none for 17) but was still pushing a number of deliveries down the leg side which were being called as wides.  The umpire was tough but he had been consistent for both sides.

At Drinks they were three down and over half way to the target.  Tim brought himself on for one of his consistent spells (2 for 24), a couple were over pitched and a good young batsmen dispatched them to the boundary but then a stumping and a good catch from Simon Bailey as two more wickets were winkled out.  Mangal was brought back from the other end and the distinctive slope on the square caught him out and a few too many extras were given away.   One more wicket to Mangal and a change of ends brought one more just after the new Catford Bat had been dropped off Tim at Deep Cover first ball.  Simon Bailey was on as 6th bowler but not able to break through.  Mangal ended up with 4 for 48 the most likely wicket taker but also likely to go for a few runs.

Seven down and getting close you have to say Catford batted better than we did and we only got the 8th wicket just before they won.  20 points to them and 12 to us which is probably a fair reflection on the balance of play.  We were not outclassed, if we had batted our overs even without the extra runs it would have been very tight.  So C&C have 3 wins as do two other sides in the comp and we play one of them Bromley Common at Dulwich Sports Ground next week.

Sat 14th May – 5th XI v Catford Wanderers

After last week’s abandonment, which has since been confirmed as being for shared points, the fives were ready to play. Our consistent selection policy being tested by high availability meant 10 (yes, 10) changes and a strong side on paper. The Surrey 4s had been called off so a few who might have been disappointed with the selection at least got a game of cricket.

Being our first outing in the league we were unsure what to expect from the opposition but suspected that Catford Wanderers would be aggressive with the bat. We lost the toss and were asked to bowl in cold, windy and overcast conditions. Mangal Nasiri and Simon Bailey opened the bowling and both started reasonably well. We took a couple of early wickets but also dropped a very tough chance at slip. The comment was more that four runs had been saved.

Their opener stuck around and each batsmen who came to the crease seemed to have a lot of bottom hand and a desire to smack the ball to the boundary. Veryan Boscawen replaced a tiring Mangal and the skipper replaced the steady (left handed Matt Craig) Bailey. Veryan created chances and Tim tied the batsmen in knots to start with. But at drinks with three down a score of 200 plus looked likely.

After drinks they got a hold of Brown and destroyed his figures. Stefan Begg under the watchful eye of his father (umpiring on their day off from playing) mixed some unplayable good balls with some unplayable bad balls. We then returned to the Bailey and Nasiri show as we got their one batsmen who wanted to play a long innings out and then quickly demolished the lower order. 4 for 46 for Mangal, 3 wkts in a tight 12 overs for Simon Bailey , 2 for Stefan and 1 for Veryan. A pretty good bowling effort to bowl them out for 166 although the fielding could have been a little better. Sam Taylor being a calm efficient presence behind the stumps.

Alan Edwards was unable to open the innings as he had a suspected broken finger (x rays later showed that the digit was not broken but was still pretty sore as lots of people tried to help by pushing,prodding and tapping). That gave an early chance to Aled Griffiths on debut to show his ability. A few nice square cuts but then Aled was lbw to a ball that didn’t bounce much. Welcome to Dulwich pitches where you need to get forward.

Tom Bale then did the same, looked good and then got out to what he described as a not very good shot (the words have been changed slightly to protect more sensitive readers). Manish Nanda had opened and was joined by Tarun Mahey and they started to exert some dominance.

Manish made 39 and then departed with the third honest summary by an outgoing batsmen. Rare in this day and age I thought people never thought they were out or that it might be their fault!!

Veryan then joined Tarun with almost 90 required and they both batted very well to make sure we had an easy win by 7 wickets. Tarun ended up on 59 not out as he made his first of hopefully many fifties At the club. Playing very patiently but also dispatching the bad ball. Veryan weighed in with 39 not out in a partnership to complete a strong all round performance.

Thanks to David and Prasanna Callaghan who umpired.

Next week the other Catford away.