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Sat 27th Aug – 6th XI v Bexley

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


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


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


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.

Sat 6th Aug – 6th XI v Streatham & Marlborough

DULWICH 160 lost to STREATHAM & MARLBOROUGH 203 by 43 runs

In the mid 70'S the DCC First Team was a superb Cricket match winning machine: (Surrey Championship winners 3 years running and runners up in the 1976 National KnockOut Competition. It was a team that contained not one, but two West Indian fast bowlers, an Australian leg spinner of unerring accuracy and a fast scoring batsman who was later to play a number of Test Matches for the "green baggies". Peter Rice and David Woods also played. One of the fast bowlers (Joe Fortune) still retains the unique distinction  of hitting the bowl over the Pavilion roof from the far end. The team also contained a young silkily wristy left handed batsman who could also bowl tantalisingly unreadable leg breaks and Googlies. After 41 years, Sajid Khan made a welcome return to the club.

DCC 6th's took the field with a side with a team that boasted a 78 year old wicket keeper, a 14 year old opening bowler, a blind deaf 69 year old opening batsman and, of course, the aforementioned Sajid. How would this heady mixture fare against the same team that had defeated them by 50 runs as recently as the previous week?

It was something of a relief to discover that few of last week's S&M team were actually playing in this match. Their free scoring opening bat had been replaced by "Wacka" (an old adversary, but it is fair to say, one who has seen better days). S&M's batsmen wasted no time establishing their authority and it was not until Khan was brought on to bowl, did Dulwich manage to take a wicket. Khan's first for DCC for 41 years.  Nevertheless, S&M managed to accrue 203 runs from their allotted 40 overs and Dulwich returned to the dressing room at tea, with some resolve, but with little supporting evidence to back up this fortitude: having been dismissed for 83 last week.

Gibson and Khan set out on their quest with some early brio, however, and 36 runs were scored in the first 4 overs. Gibson had scored 35 fewer runs than Khan at this point, but was perfectly happy to play Rosencrantz to Khan's Hamlet. At this point, however, (as in all classic tragedies) fate took a hand. Khan played the ball past mid wicket with yet another wristy on drive and set off for a run. The ball was hurled in from the outfield but misfielded by the bowler. Was there a second run to be had? Gibson and Khan debated this issue in mid pitch at some length, along with the issues thrown up by the Brexit referendum and whether global warming was a reality, finally reaching a consensus that there might be a second run. In an act of self-destruction, similar to that of  the eponymous hero in "Antony & Cleopatra", Gibson threw himself upon his sword in order to preserve the wicket of the hitherto free scoring Sajid Khan and was Run Out by several yards. It is to be hoped that the selection committee will take note of this selfless gesture when they continue their deliberations for next week's teams. This dismissal was all the more galling for the hapless Gibson, as several members of the Squash Club were watching and they wasted no time in making certain ribald comments about Gibson's lack of athleticism. In order to console himself Gibson purchased a consolation bottle of Erdinger Weiss Beer and scored for the rest of the match. 

Meanwhile, Khan continued to "roll back the years" with a series of drives, pulls and cuts and, at one point, it seemed that S&M would be avenged at the first opportunity. Ably assisted by "greenhorns" Osmond, Meade and Gouvraj, all of whom batted with great maturity in their shot selection and manipulation of the bowling in trying to get the "potential match winner" on strike as often as possible. Khan duly arrived majestically at his century when the Dulwich innings suffered another tragic blow: in attempting another mighty blow to the long on boundary Khan found himself brilliantly caught by a youthful member of the S&M team. A catch of such excellence, that one almost felt it had no place in a game between two 6th XI's. As is the way of things, it transformed the game and the rest of Dulwich's "mature" batting order folded up rather like a timid bunch of Herdwicks being shepherded into the fold for the night. 160 all out. The game finally concluded in the small hours of Sunday morning due to the necessity for several drinks breaks and the when the Dulwich captain stopped proceedings to provide each member of the team a Maynard's Wine Gum when 4 wickets had been taken.

Sat 30th July – 6th XI v Streatham & Marlborough

DULWICH 83 (36.2) lost to STREATHAM & MARLBOROUGH 134-9 (39.5) by 51 runs


In the Paleolithic era, the postcode SE21, was famed for its plethora of Cricket Clubs. Old Wilsonians, Lloyd's Register, Old Alleynians, Honor Oak, Marlborough 1870, Alleyn Old Boys, Griffin, Borough Polytechnic, Fern Lodge, Old Hollingtonians, Streatham and of course, DCC. There was even a team called Peckham Thursday (the clue is in the name). These clubs bestrode the leafy acres of Dulwich like so many Dinosaurs occasionally bumping into each other for yet another titanic clash. Then, as the Jurassic period was coming to an end, an asteroid struck the area (in the form of the College Estate deciding to "realise their assets" by raising rents and foreclosing on many of these rare breeds and the Cricketing landscape of South East London was changed forever.)

One classic fixture remains in the Calendar: the equivalent of Godzilla vs Tyrannosaurus Rex. Dulwich 6th's vs. Streatham and Marlborough. The last of the species slugging it out in a gory fight to the death, red in tooth and claw. Sadly, this year's morbid spectacle did not even take place within the hallowed confines of Dulwich, but was banished to the Kangley Bridge Road Leisure Centre. This institution was once known as the Britannic House and provided a gold standard in Cricket facilities for the employees of the Shell and British Petroleum Companies. Flat, road-like wickets were the norm. The outfield resembled the surface of the 3 full size Snooker Tables that were found in the pavilion. A sauna was available at the end of the game and a well subsidised bar provided an eclectic assortment of libations, including Brakspear's bitter. All this was demolished by Lewisham Borough Council, who acquired the unwanted facility from Shell and supplanted it with, arguably, the ugliest building found on page 128 of the London A-Z Street Map. The Sauna has gone and the bar has been replaced by a kiosk offering various "health" drinks and packets of Chorizo Flavoured Hula Hoops. Your correspondent's misery was complete, when he was informed the changing facilities were not available after 6.30 and that the 2 teams would have to change back into their "civvies" in full view of the residents of the overlooking tower blocks of Lower Sydenham.

Dulwich took the field and it was no surprise to find a pitch full of lightly rolled weeds and various other horrors which meant that no 2 balls bowled would bounce in anything like a predictable way. The outfield, to be fair, had been cut, but sadly, the gang mower had clearly missed all blades of grass less than 4 inches long. It resembled nothing less than one of those areas specially left in public parks to encourage wild life.

3 long paragraphs later, the match began: as is customary these days, DCC took the field with 10 men. Jabagyl Jumagyl, yet again absent. His absence was more than compensated by the excellent, tight bowling of Cormac Meade (2 for 28) and John Comerford (4 for 26). The mature Rochford kept wicket with not a little agility, Josh Nava and Kushal Patel kept the opposition batting in check and Jabagyl Jumagyl arrived at the 20 over drinks break. He was then brought on to bowl and did a creditable job as the "death" bowler. The S&M innings coughed and spluttered to to 134 all out in the final over and DCC hopes were high that such a modest target could be achieved. Gibson and Blench opened the batting and older spectators were reminded of Hobbs and Sutcliffe: the droughty opening pair who were still opening the batting for England in their 40's. When the pair had put on 14, however, Blench was dismissed and Owen sadly succumbed the very next ball, allowing himself to be dragged forward and then stumped, although (such was the interval of time, between Owen realising he was out of his ground and getting back to his crease) there was some debate as to whether he was actually run out attempting to run a bye. More crises were to follow: Jabagyl Jumagul hit the ball very hard to an empty space immediately above his head and was caught by the wicket keeper who was obliged to take one pace forward to take the catch. Other players essayed similarly ambitious shots: Captain Smith attempted to communicate directly with the aforementioned tower block residents by "hoicking" the ball in their general direction, but only succeeded in lobbing the ball to short mid wicket. Meade, Patel, Nava and Grimsey all played with some maturity but the hapless Gibson found himself beached like some stranded sperm whale on a sandbank in the middle of the Thames estuary on 22 not out. Not for the first time the most prolific scorer on the Dulwich side was Extras with 32. Dulwich limped to 83 all out and then revealed their genitalia to the watching multitude.

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