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Sat 17th June – 6th XI v OD Cuaco

OD CUACO 111-6 (35.1) beat DULWICH 109 (35.1) by 4 wickets

Scorecard

A good team on paper. How often have we heard that phrase, with good availability in the higher teams and obviously tough decisions required at selection the 6th team looked a strong one as we set out for an away game at Old Dunstonians/Cuaco commonly known as OD/Cuzco. It was a blazing hot day and as well as winning the toss skipper Brown agreed two drinks breaks in each innings.

Having chosen to bat Tim's day got immediately worse, as returning from two weeks injury he was too impatient hitting the third ball of the innings to short cover for a duck. In came Alex Irvine to join Richard Blench and they battled against some good tight bowling and a somewhat tricky deck. It didn't look pretty in the main and was slow but they managed to get us to drinks at 14 overs for 34 with 1 wicket down. Richard eventually ended up with 24 before a slight nick to the keeper saw the end of him and Alex 12 before being bowled early in the spell of a 13 year old off spinner who impressed (10 overs 4 for 27). Alex Owen came in but soon perished and Mo Jameel outdid the skipper in a 2 ball duck as he attempted to attack the young man too early. Simon Moore fell to pace at the other end trying to pull a short ball but getting a top edge.  

Finally another small partnership as Amyn Haji (third top score with 14) joined Curtis McNeice who was the right balance of cautious and aggressive in a fine 39 although in the end the aggression cost him as he was bowled round his legs. Matt Craig fell to a fine catch as he tried to counter attack and Geoff Warriss outdid both Mo and Tim with a first ball duck leaving Kanak 0 not out not having faced a ball. A sorry 109 with only two partnerships of any note whatsoever.

Still after a good tea we set out confident that we had a good enough bowling attack to put them under pressure and with early wickets we could win the game. They had 44 overs and ultimately that extra 4 overs probably won them the game. Kanak struggled w the slopes on his run in and despite bowling 9 tight overs was never happy! At the other end Matt Craig bowled as Matt does and both had identical analyses of 1 for 23 off 7 as we made it difficult for OD Cuaco. They batted sensibly however and despite two very good spells from pacy Geoff Warriss (6 overs 1 for 9) and Off spinner Simon Moore (10 overs, 4 Maidens 2 for 19) they edged towards their target. Amyn Haji was threatening but the 13 year old came back to show amazing maturity as he hooked a beamer for 6 and then took another pace down the wicket next ball. Eventually a 4 off the first ball bowled by Curtis McNeice took our opponents to victory.

Proof as always that cricket is played on grass not on paper.  

Sat 3rd June – 6th XI v Shooters Hill

SHOOTERS HILL 112 (30) lost to DULWICH 114-8 (38.3) by 2 wickets

Scorecard

A 70 year old man, who has spent much of his life as a thorn in the side of the British establishment, railing against the many injustices perpetrated by the corrupt and effete establishment of Dulwich Cricket Club, was today, unexpectedly, handed the reigns of power in Dulwich’s match against Shooters Hill today at the DSG. Old Etonian* John Smith, had not only cried off from captaining the side, but also removed himself from the team entirely! 

Many speculated on whether the new man was capable of leading a team in the seething cauldron of the Kent Regional League 2C South of the Thames Section. There could be little doubt that a new broom was needed. The new skipper pointed out to the rest of the team what dire straits they were in: bottom of the league with the uninspiring total of -2 points. (They had been previously been penalised 10 points for failing to get 11 men on the pitch in the first game of the season). 

After a pep talk (largely based on Al Pacino’s “inch by inch” speech in the film “The Mean Machine”) by the skipper, the team set about their task with vigour and enthusiasm. This was a team of great variety, including the youthful Cormack Meade, Nikki Scull from the Women’s section, Tony McGill from the Squash section, Russ Charlesworth and Amyn Haji (Coaches and Organisers in the Colts section) and captain Jim Gibson (who, rumour has it, has been sectioned many times for the benefit of the rest of the community!)

Jim inserted the opposition on a pitch that had an untrustworthy verdant tinge to it. Seam bowlers Kanak Patel and Amyn Haji  subjected the Shooters Hill opening bats to a testing investigation. Liam Harrison eventually succumbing to a good length delivery by Haji. Shooters Hill never really recovered from this breakthrough. Patel closed one end up with 2 excellent spells of controlled medium pace. Meade chipped in with a further two wickets, as did Charlesworth. Off spinner Cook excelled with figures of 4 for 24. Indeed, so well did Cook bowl, Captain Gibson did not feel the need to call upon his own mixture of teasing, finely flighted full tosses, long hops and general ordure. At length, Shooters Hill were bowled out for 112 in 30 overs.

It must be said that the Dulwich 6th XI batting has frequently resembled an inflatable dinghy with a slow puncture in recent years. Passengers get into the boat, hoping that someone has brought a puncture repair outfit with them and that things will be alright at the end of the day. It was to be hoped, however, that today, the modest target of 113 could be reached before the boat finally disappeared between the waves taking all hands with it. Comerford and Skull started the initial baling operation with 9 runs each, but it was Meade (22), Haji (29 not out) and that reliable batsman known as Extras (27) who saw Dulwich to dry land, but not without a certain amount of anxiety as experienced veterans Gibson, Griffiths and Cook all contrived to get out at precisely the time they were supposed to stay in, to assist the excellent and capable Haji. He finally found a reliable partner in the shape of Kanak Patel, and the game was finally won by 2 wickets. 

Dulwich leapt up the table with a total of plus 18 points and are now above Streatham & Marlborough, who are occupying the wooden spoon position.

Peter Rochford brought the drinks, did the scoring and collected the money.

*It might have been Marske Grammar School, but we live in the fake news era now, so no verification required. Smith also has a moustache.

Sat 27th Aug – 6th XI v Bexley

DULWICH 158-7 (40) beat BEXLEY 159-6 (33.2) by 4 wickets

Scorecard

After months of roaming around the more obscure recreation grounds of suburban Kent, Dulwich 6th XI finally found themselves back at their spiritual home: pitch 3 of the DSG. Not for the first time this season, the Dulwich innings rather too closely resembled the Curate's egg: a phrase borrowed from George Du Maurier's cartoon in Punch magazine in 1895. The curate, anxious to find something positive to say to his ecclesiastical colleague about the bad egg that has been served to him says that it "was good in parts."

Owen was bowled on the fourth ball of the innings for 0. Shokoya Obafemi and Jim Gibson then set about restoring a semblance of order to the innings: both of them striking several sumptuous 4's ( Gibson's imperious on drive stirred memories of Peter May in the minds of many spectators.) In Farmer's next over, however, Gibson was dismissed: essaying yet another pugnacious back foot drive which only resulted in him dragging the ball on to his stumps. The sexagenarian walked disconsolately back to the pavilion, reflecting on yet another innings prematurely curtailed with his individual score in the teens or early twenties.

Like many cricketers, Gibson is a firm observer of ritual on match days. Those little superstitious habits that players think will bring them luck on the big day. For the past two seasons, Gibson has always worn the same DCC liveried purple and grey horizontally striped underpants on match days. (He does wash them prior to the following week's game). But he may abandon this custom next week, (if selected) in favour of a pair of terracotta coloured boxer shorts. The purple and grey pants have developed a small hole in the under crutch area and may no longer be fit for purpose. (Ed's note: I am not altogether sure our readers are that interested in this subject. PLEASE CONFINE YOURSELF TO DESCRIBING THE MATCH!)

Obafemi was joined at the wicket by Nick Rochford and the Dulwich innings continued on its way, coughing and spluttering like a vintage Daimler on it's annual run to Brighton in the veteran Car Rally. No batsman was able to assert himself till the uncompromising and forthright James Worley arrived at the crease. Supported by the comparatively pedestrian solicitor Griffiths, Worley was able to strike some handsome boundaries (including a 6) and ended with a well struck 54 not out. Dulwich finished with a total of 158 for 7 off 40 overs.

It is some time since any team has taken to the field with not one, but two leg spinners as the main "spearhead" of their attack. One has to think as far back as the 1950's when Lancashire played with both Tommy Greenhough and Bob Barber in their side, both of whom eventually played for England. For Dulwich, Josh Nava, proved to be more effective than Tim Brown, with the excellent figures of 4 for 40 from his allotted 10 overs. Nava and Brown's efforts were not enough, however. Sporting a pair of pads that were exactly the same colour as Sainsbury's "Taste the Difference" Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar Cheese, Bexley opened the batting with the watchful but always dangerous, almost eponymously named Peter Bleksley who batted superbly to reach 107, before holing out to a good catch by Kushal Patel off the bowling of Worley. Liam Farmer and Harry Deppe, saw Bexley home in the 34th over. Bleksley's innings was decisive: he survived one difficult chance to Tucker in front of the Portakabins on the long on boundary but, by then, the damage had been done.

After the match, there was some speculation as to what might have happened had the veteran finger spinner Gibson been handed the ball, but few members of the Dulwich side were of the opinion that anything positive would have come from such a risky move. And so, Dulwich 6th XI continue in their quest for victory. Perhaps next week's final league fixture against mid table Beckenham will lead Dulwich to the promised land, but both Coral's and William Hill are yet to open a book on this eventuality

Sat 20th Aug – 6th XI v OD Cuaco

DULWICH 149-8 (40) lost to OD Cuaco 179-4 (40) by 30 runs

Scorecard

There are still parts of London that have no specific name – the pocket between West Wickham, Beckenham and Elmers End is just such a place. It does, however, boast a Toby Carvery. Your correspondent revisited this hostelry on Sunday and enjoyed a pint of Cattle Shed Pale Ale and a mixture of Honey glazed Gammon and Lamb Rump with the usual trimmings. The Cricket the previous day did not have such a sumptuous feel to it, however. Dulwich offered thin gruel in this bottom of the table winner takes all clash.

In many ways, the pattern of the game resembled many previous 6th XI games this season. It is no exaggeration to say the team relies heavily on a SuperHero if it is to maintain parity with its opponents in the highly competitive Divison 2C South of Thames League. On several previous occasions, the Bat Silhouette in the sky has been answered with the arrival of Sajkan (104), SuperRees Williams (95) or Alec "Robin" Evens (69 not out). Though none of these batsmen wore their underpants outside their Lycra tights while scoring these runs, their efforts were far more than the other mortals of Gotham City had a right to expect.

In an unusual twist, Jabagyl Jumagul was late for the start of the game and Dulwich took the field with 10 men. It is a matter of conjecture as to why Jabagyl Jumagul arrives late every week, but then the White Rabbit in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was not a great timekeeper either. To be fair to Jaba, he was earlier than he has ever been before (15 minutes late) and he was trying to find a place with no name with no A to Z (see previous paragraph).

Dulwich bowled adequately without ever threatening to bowl CUACO out for a modest total. The 20 over drinks break produced an animated discussion between  Captain Colin Tucker and the rest of the team (with one notable exception). Tucker announced that the veteran finger spinner Gibson would be bowling next in order to pierce CUACO'S hitherto unbroken opening stand. Nine members of the team expressed severe doubts as to the wisdom of this decision and the hapless Gibson returned to his specialist mid-on fielding position. In many ways, Gibson is a perfect example of a Stoic: a person who subscribes to the school of philosophy founded by Zeno, and refuses to be be moved by adversity, joy or grief. CUACO scored 179 for 5 from their 40 overs. Justus Van Lare took 3 for 27 and 9 byes were conceded. Dulwich left the field in a less than enthusiastic state. Although 205 were scored last week, it must be said that 179 in 40 overs was a big ask for a team without at least one icon from the pages of DC Comics in their batting line up.

Gibson, who may best be described, in this context, as the beleaguered Police Chief of Gotham City, was asked to open the batting. Gibson is a man who believes in truth, justice and the American Way, but, it must be said, lacks some of the resources to restore Law and Order without "back up". Gibson's Gunn & Moore bat does actually bear the legend "3 star Super Hero", but there all similarities end. Nevertheless, First lieutenant Owen and Chief Gibson set about their Herculean task with resolve and diligence. Boundaries were struck, singles were scampered. Martin Couch (an old adversary from Surrey Championship days, when Couch was playing for Mitcham) bowled left arm over dibly dobblies but with scant success. At the other end 15 year old Will Black fired in some precociously fast and straight deliveries, one of which struck the Chief of Police on the pad, who was surprised when an appeal was made. His surprise doubled when Justus Van Lare (presumably filling the role of Judge Dredd here) raised his finger and the Chief was obliged to return to his desk at HQ. Tucker and Owen then proceeded to bat with some elan and it looked as if Gotham City PD might not need to persuade the likes of Clark Kent or Bruce Lane to remove their trousers and replace them with jeggings of primary colours.

Then the Joker weaved his evil spell: Owen, clearly affected by the mind drugs which the evil Joker had slipped into his tea, set off for a lunatic single which sadly left the hard hitting Tucker run out on 41. The ebullient antipodean is, I understand, shortly to return to the Convict Colony and we will all miss him, his partner, and his swashbuckling batting. More wickets fell and despite some forthright batting from the solicitor Griffiths and Van Lare, both of whom briefly looked as if they might restore the City of Gotham to its former glories, but then, alas, fell victim to the leg breaks of Ariez Mehta. Jabagyl Jumagul and Kushal Patel struck some mighty blows at the end, but the overs were running out and a gloom fell over the city of Gotham as the match ended with yet another defeat for Dulwich 6th XI. They remain above bottom placed CUACO, but must hope for better things next week.

Sat 13th Aug – 6th XI v Dartford

DULWICH 207-5 (40) lost to DARTFORD 208-3 (37.4) by 7 wickets

Scorecard

For Dulwich 6th XI this game resembled nothing more than an M.C. Escher work of art: improbable towers and battlements full of steps and turrets, but, ultimately an optical illusion where the top is never quite attained. For three quarters of the match, Dulwich appeared to be following all the right staircases and passages only to discover at the end of the game they were back where they started. This season has not been the most successful for this team and they now find themselves second bottom of Div. 2C of the Kent Regional League.

Dartford's Oakfield Park pitch has a certain municipal charm. The whole ground resembles a rather shallow salad bowl. (I have actually seen a smaller version of this particular shaped bowl in the Purley Way branch of IKEA). To hit a boundary in any direction, the batsman is forced to hit the ball uphill. The ground would be a perfect place to stage an open air production of Verdi's celebrated opera "Aida", but not necessarily the best place for a cricket match. Despite the obvious limitations, 415 runs were scored.

Williams and Gibson opened for Dulwich and soon discovered that the uphill gradients in all directions were more than compensated by the fast outfield and boundaries started to flow. Gibson's innings, in particular, had a certain plodding familiarity to it: for the third time in his last four innings, he has found himself reaching a score between 18 and 23 only to find himself unable to progress any further: either running out of partners or accompanying another player batting at a slightly faster tempo than Gibson to win the game. On this occasion, (after scoring no less than 3 boundaries) he curtailed his innings in a more conventional manner by playing over the top of a viciously in swinging fast yorker bowled by the talented seam and swing bowler, pony-tailed 14 year old Chelsey Rowson. Gibson's batting this season has been not dissimilar to that of the "jobbing actor": never in the limelight, but offering the odd crucial line, here and there, to move the plot along. It was something of a surprise, therefore, to discover that, in the course of his long career, Gibson has actually hit more 6s than Don Bradman! Gibson has hit no less than five 6s while the slightly more eminent Australian only ever hit four! They also share the same last letter of their surname! Gibson does not, however, have a career batting average of 99. But I digress:

Williams was not phased by Gibson's departure nor by his replacement: the solicitor Griffiths. This batsman played even more prosaically than Gibson and was eventually caught by Rowson off the bowling of 13 year old leg spinner Callum French. It was not until the arrival of Captain Moore at No. 4 did the innings look like achieving the 200 target. Williams and Moore played aggressive, bludgeoning aerial shots to most parts of the lip of the bowl and Williams was finally bowled for a commendable 95. Moore scored 45 and Comerford blasted 3 fours in 3 balls in the final over. Nick Rochford and Tracy Latimer also batted.

Dulwich sat down at tea in a state of high elation. For a team that failed by 50 runs to reach a target of 130 in their last league match, a total of 207 for 5 was no mean achievement. The solar panels on the roof of the pavilion were a great encouragement to the team; it was assumed the post match showers would be more than adequate on a sun-filled day like today.

Their optimism was misplaced, however, when it became clear that Dartford's tall and uncompromising Lanning would need to be dismissed in good time if Dulwich were to defend their hard won assets. Eventually, Lanning presented a gift of a catch in the no man's land triangle between mid off, cover and bowler, any one of whom might have held on to the chance. Sadly, with the politeness of three doormen at Claridge's, none of these players took up the chance and the ebullient Lanning continued on his unimpeded way until he was finally dismissed by the tantalisingly accurate Nava for 58. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Rowson and French batted with commendable correctness, but the scoring rate was slowing all the time. When Rowson was finally dismissed caught behind off Morton, the feeling was that Dulwich would prevail. 80 runs were still required and what looked like only a handful of overs left to be bowled. At this point, Dartford's Ian Rossiter entered the fray. A player who has, apparently, led a glittering career with the 1sts, 2nds and 3rds and was now captain of the 5ths. Rossiter proceeded to flay all the bowlers with a remorselessness which had a chilling effect on the Dulwich side. The youthful French also found his scoring touch and the pair wrapped the game up in the 38th over with 57* each. Dulwich made their way back down the A2 with only 4 bonus points and an uneasy feeling that the game was theirs for the taking, but they somehow got lost going up the third staircase on the fourth level of the second ivory tower. Castles in the sky, indeed.

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