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Sat 23rd July – 6th XI v Bexleyheath

DULWICH 104 (24.2) lost to BEXLEYHEATH 324-3 (40) by 220 runs

Scorecard

It is customary for this particular match reporter to utilise a leitmotif on which to hang his account of what took place.

Who can forget his account of the Dulwich 3rd XI victory against Old-MidWhitgiftians in 1993? In this game, Dulwich clinched the Surrey Championship. The report was subtly interwoven with Shakespeare's "a Midsummer Night's Dream". Then there was Dulwich 6th's last ball victory against Ilminster on their 2008 tour: a paean to "Henry V". Such match reports are indelibly printed on the nation's collective memory.

However, on this occasion our reporter struggles to find a suitable literary metaphor: so abject was one team's performance. "Titus Andronicus" springs to mind: in this play the eponymous hero is invited to eat a pie made of human ears, but, as this is all your correspondent actually knows about this seldom performed play, he has decided not to utilise its potential.

Instead, one's mind wanders down memory lane to the halcyon days of the 1960's and the ubiquitous Cinemas that could be found in every town: Gaumonts, Astorias, Regents, Pullman Classics were in abundance complete with rain sodden queues and a Commissionaire with a double breasted brass buttoned overcoat and a stentorian voice offering "Seats In All Parts". For one shilling and nine pence one could be transported to every part of the world and every period of history. Who can forget Tony Curtis sitting on a horse, clad in a suit of armour, uttering in his best Brooklyn accent "Yonder lies da Castle of my Fada"?  At this point, the reader may be forgiven for asking "what has all this got to do with Dulwich v. Bexleyheath?" The fact is, in searching for a suitable parallel to yesterday's game, I have come to the conclusion that this game resembled nothing more than one of the Hammer Horror Movies that were popular amongst cinema audiences at the time. These films usually starred Christopher Lee or Vincent Price as a Svengali like character (Dracula?, Frankenstein?) hell bent on inflicting misery on his fellow human beings. Bexleyheath produced just not one, but three such characters in the form of Darren Kempson (103 not out), Bashir Khan (66) and Bashir Popolzai (84). These 3 relentlessly drove a stake through the heart of Dulwich's attack, with a blistering assault of strokes. None of Dulwich's 7 bowlers were spared and Bexleyheath duly arrived at the not inconsiderable total of 324 for 3 at the end of their 40 overs. It must be said that Dulwich were responsible in some ways for their own plight: too many balls were wayward, short-pitched and loose.

At the tea interval, skipper Gibson felt like a chaste Susan George or Britt Ekland: helpless while Vincent or Christopher had his wicked way with her. Gibson decided to fight fire with fire by placing a number of attacking stroke makers at the top of the order. Each one of these batsmen briefly flailed away, and, at one point, it looked as if the clean hitting Warriss would be the Messiah with some lusty 6's hit in the direction of the pre-school Portakabins behind long-off.  Van Lare and Williams had a less spectacular but nevertheless, effective partnership but this was curtailed, with the winning total of 325 still a distant and clearly unattainable destination. The Dulwich innings paddled around in mid Atlantic, like Donald Crowhurst's ill fated solo voyage and finally succumbed to the waves when Josh Nava holed out to the bowling of Charlie Monk and Dulwich were dismissed for 104.

There are few extenuating circumstances to explain this overwhelming defeat. Jabargyl Jumagul (apparently a victim of the unpredictable and unreliable train service that Southern Rail fail to provide these days) did not arrive until 2.45, which meant Dulwich fielded with 10 men for the first hour and a quarter. But the fact remains Dulwich were outclassed in every department of the game and various items of hosiery need to be pulled up before next week's derby game against the "auld enemy": Streatham & Marlborough 1870.

Sat 16th July – 6th XI v Wimbledon Corinthians

DULWICH 123-1 (29.2) beat WIMBLEDON CORINTHIANS 122 (37.4) by 9 wickets

Scorecard

Buenos los camaradez dos Dulwich 6th's. Hombres y uno senora Esta victorioso. Capitano Gibsonez tacticiano extraordinare y batsmano de Mano. (This is for the Mediterranean editions, it's all they'll print, anyway) The rest is for domestic consumption.

With the absence of John Smith, Joe Moore and Lord Lucan the DCC selection committee were finally obliged to cast a wider net in finding a captain for this 6th XI fixture. For some inexplicable reason, they decided to ask the man who was the captain of the Dulwich 3rd XI when they won the Surrey Championship in 1993.

Having lost the toss, Dulwich took the field and made the best possible start: Luke Howard bowling the WC's opening bat with his first ball of the match. Gibson manipulated his varied and accomplished bowling attack in a manner reminiscent of Yehudi Menuhin's interpretation of Brahms Violin Concerto (a work which requires great agility of both mental and physical technique.) 9 bowlers were used in the careful and systematic demolition of the WC batting. The first 8 bowlers all stepped up to the plate with great skill. Luke Howard, Tom Scott Bowles, Lyndsay Morton, Alex Vinen and Justus Van Lare bowled with commendable accuracy. Van Lare finding himself on a hat trick at one point and ending up with 3 wickets and eventually the WC's succumbed to 113 for 8. At which point, logic and reason both took their leave as the  Captain brought himself on to bowl. In what has become something of a recent pattern, Gibson found himself summarily dispatched to most of the leafier parts of Raynes Park. At one point, he was humiliatingly reverse swept by the WC's number 11. Fortunately, the final wicket was taken at the other end and Gibson's team mates drew a collective sigh of relief.

The WC's finished with 122 all out. It must be said that this low total was due particularly to some excellent outfield catching: Jabarkyl Jumagul, John Comerford and Justus Van Lare all caught important and not easy catches.

Gibson, in the magnanimous style that has always characterised his captaincy, asked Griffiths to open with Owen. The solicitor was quick to point out that he had kept wicket and was feeling tired. After a careful consultation of his team sheet, the captain decided to open with himself instead. This proved to be a shrewd decision. Owen batted breezily enough but was bowled when the score was 32. A prodigy in the shape of Alex Vinen arrived at the crease, and from that moment, the result was never in doubt. Vinen showed a range of shots that far belied his years and he is clearly a player for the future. Punching the ball through the covers of front and back feet and pulling mercilessly any full toss or short pitched ball, Vinen ended with 69 not out. Such free flowing scoring was not evident at the other end, however, where Gibson prodded, nudged and nurdled his way to a prosaic 26 not out. One was reminded of Clive Radley being outclassed by the emerging Mark Ramprakash for Middlesex in the late 80's.

The finishing line was duly crossed with the pair still together and Gibson wears the mantle of being the only DCC captain with a 100 % record. P1 W1. 

Sat 1st June – 6th XI v Natwest

DULWICH 154-8 lost to NATWEST 156-4 by 6 wickets

Scorecard

With a strong mix of youth, experience and those somewhere in between, the 6th XIs took on NatWest seconds in a crucial, worryingly near the bottom of the table clash at the DSG. I say NatWest seconds, because they are actually the second team, although they call themselves a 4th team. Extreme modesty or a devious attempt to get weaker opposition when seeking conference fixtures?  

Anyway, we batted first after losing the toss and a made a positive start with Shahab playing with his habitual freedom against the new ball. However his LBW dismissal brought in Dean who called Rice for a very sharp single which led to an unfortunate run-out for Rice. Persaud and Dean then rebuilt the innings before Dean departed just when he was looking like going on to make a substantial score. Persaud batted well for the 6th’s first 50 of the season, rolling back the years with some well-struck boundaries. So far this season, Jordan Hancock has risen up the batting order from 11 to 5 on the back of some good performances and continued in this vein before offering a catch to NatWest. At the half-way point we looked like posting a testing total, but a sudden collapse left the innings in tatters, at 125-8, as Woods, Shine and Webster departed in quick succession. NatWest’s bowling was steady without being deadly; most wickets fell to mistimed shots finding fielders within 30 yards of the bat. Craig and Peters managed to take the score up to 154 at the end of 46 overs for eight down, which looked a good score on a wicket doing a bit.

Giles Constantine opened the bowling with Hancock and his highly economical figures of 1 for 15 off 11 overs could have been much better in terms of wickets. He beat the bat regularly and had a very confident LBW turned down by the opposition umpire. At this point we realised that far from being NatYes, as in its latest ads, this was the bank that likes to say not out. Or as the Arfur Daley would have put it, the listening bank copped a deaf ‘un to all appeals.   Hancock also bowled very well and had little luck. Dulwich’s failure to break NatWest’s second wicket partnership quickly was to prove costly, with Dolby and Lynch playing solidly. Dropping a total of six catches of varying degrees of difficulty, from easy to very hard, did not help either. Skipper Craig rotated the bowling in an attempt to pick up wickets, but despite tight bowling from all the bowlers used, the NatWest batsmen. Nevertheless, NatWest had to work hard and took 45 overs to make the runs they needed. Overall it was a frustrating game for Dulwich; one that slipped away but with some positive signs for rest of the season.

Mon 27th May – 6th XI v Bromley

DULWICH 140-6 beat BROMLEY 138 by two runs

Scorecard

The big advantage of an away Bank Holiday league game for the 6ths was the chance to play on Bromley Cricket Club’s main ground, with all the accoutrements of higher XI cricket present; a roller on the pitch when we arrived, scorers, umpires, an electronic scoreboard and a pavilion balcony to watch the action from. Surely this would inspire Dulwich players unused to such luxuries as they took on an unbeaten Bromley side?

Dulwich lost the toss and were asked to bat. The two Daves, Straker and O’Higgins, made a solid start, with Straker hitting a few over the top when seam gave way to spin on his way to 42. Bromley bowled tightly though and Dulwich had to work hard to get runs on the board, with Veryan Boscawen playing a mix of judicious and dismissive strokes for 24 not out, well supported by Jordan Hancock. Dulwich accelerated as the innings went on, with 60 off the last 10 overs enabling a total of 140 to be posted.

If Saturday’s tea at HSBC had been somewhat Marxist in its conception, Bromley’s showed all the benefits of unfettered globalisation, with a cosmopolitan mix of hot food (samosas, onion rings and even mini toad-in-the-hole), rice, pineapple slices and grapes, as well as the usual selection of sandwiches and cakes. Fortified by this smorgasbord of cricketing sustenance, which was almost as good as our own teas at the DSG, Dulwich took the field in good heart. Craig and Hancock both found a nagging length early on, with the latter removing both openers for not very many on the board. However, this brought in Bromley’s Pip France who after offering a difficult chance in the slips, proceeded to unleash a series of high quality shots to bring up his 50 off only 36 balls. At this point Bromley were cantering to victory, but with the score at 98 for 2 off not many overs, France was stumped off a perserving Tim Brown for 68. One run later danger man Thina Perera top-edged another Brown delivery which gave Dulwich a reprieve from chasing leather. With wily slow bowling from Ebert and Brown at both ends, Dulwich chipped away and picked up wickets as they gradually got back into the game. Bromley skipper Richard Matthews had batted soundly and seemed to be steering his team home, but then gave a tricky caught and bowled chance to Ebert. Bromley were now wobbling at 131 for 8. They might well have made it, but for a great catch by Alf Grimsey that turned a likely boundary into a wicket. Now it was the Dulwich team that felt the pressure as the game hung in the balance. Ebert and Brown were bowled out, so opening bowlers Craig and Hancock came back on. Dulwich jubilation then ensued when wicketkeeper Jamie Hall picked up his fourth dismissal of the innings, Hancock inducing a faint edge from the number 11 Kalupahana, leaving Bromley stranded, two runs short. 

So Dulwich somehow picked up a win in a game that had seemed totally beyond them an hour or so earlier. It was a great way for the 6ths to pick up their first league victory against a strong Bromley team, who will be looking for revenge when Dulwich play them again on June 8th.

Sat 25th May – 6th XI v HSBC

DULWICH 116-6 lost to HSBC 117-4 by 6 wickets

Scorecard

After not tossing up, Dulwich were put into bat. An explanation for anyone not used to the vagaries of the Kent Regional League rules; we didn’t have an umpire, they did, so we were asked to bat on what looked a decent wicket. 

The Dulwich 6th XI’s batting performances so far this season have been a case of déjà vu all over again in terms of a slow run rate and this tendency continued. Shahab produced some choice cuts early on, but his dismissal brought Rice and Persaud together for a period of consolidation against some accurate bowling. Most of their well-struck shots found the fielders and both batters departed after trying to up the pace. New boy Andrew Mottram works with Dave ‘Foxy’ Hawes, aka the Poor Man’s Matt Craig, at HSBC and is Australian but don’t hold either fact against him. He looked good before edging one behind, while Tony Ebert worked hard for his 21, which included one hook against their spinner’s quicker ball which bounced like a tennis ball. However the highlight of Dulwich’s innings was a dashing 26 not out from another new man at the club this season, Jordan Hancock, which included his first ever six in senior cricket. A towering blow over midwicket, it sailed over the ropes, took a big bounce off a path and rebounded off the groundsman’s house, a first ever KRL maximum to be remembered fondly. It must be said that at the other end of the age spectrum, several of the Dulwich 6th XI probably can’t recall their last six, due to either memory loss, or an inability to connect bat to ball with sufficient vigour. Consequently, a team total of 116 for 6 off 46 overs looked to have put Dulwich account against HSBC heavily in the red, as it were.

A word about HSBC’s cricket teas; capitalist bean-counter Hawes will be shocked to hear that socialist principles have infiltrated the catering department of his banking employer’s sports club. Has Jimmy Gibson inspired the kitchen workers with his fiery left-wing rhetoric, we wonder? How else can one explain why all the players were served an equal allocation of sandwiches, a mini pork pie and a mini scotch egg on a plate wrapped in cling film, instead enjoying the usual free market-style feeding frenzy. As would be expected with a centrally planned cricket tea, only one variety of cake was on offer, but it was very nice nonetheless. 

Back to the cricket. HSBC started with positive intent, but two quick wickets from skipper Craig pushed Dulwich’s balance slightly towards the black. However HSBC’s Hutton showed the Dulwich team how to hit sixes, as he took on the boundary fielders and cleared them, until a good ball from Hancock closed his account. Dave Woods at the other end kept things very tight, with 8 overs for 11 runs, and Deb Biswas bowled well once he got a bit of rust out of the way. But HSBC only needed 30.5 overs to pass the winning post for the loss of four wickets, leaving Dulwich without a win from three games and facing a tough Bank Holiday Monday trip to Bromley CC.

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