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Sat 16th July – 2nd XI v Old Whitgiftians

DULWICH 225-9 (50.5) lost to OLD WHITGIFTIANS 226-8 (50) by 2 wickets

Scorecard

First and third in the league table clashed in a very tight encounter. Old Whitfigitians won the toss and inserted Dulwich into bat.  A hot day it was, and runs were flowing in both innings.

Dulwich got off to great start with Andrew Inglis and Fergie pilling up some runs in the first few overs. With Inglis playing effective stroke play which brought him boundaries and Fergie knocking it around, the bowlers had no answer.  There were some problems for Old Whitgiftians opening bowler Shahrayz Nazim – stand-in umpire Ollie Steward, with the most casual umpire attire and a rather old sunhat and shorts sporting an increasing amount of painful sunburn to his calves, was called into early action to signal several no-balls. The partnership between Inglis (64) and Fergie (34) had come to an end with Fergie going first and then Inglis shortly after. Zakir Rostami was also dismissed for 9. Euan “The Prince” Johnson was brought to the crease. The Prince had accumulated bulk of runs with some enterprising shots impressing spectating Grandmother and Mother.  Mid-way through the innings there was a dispute between two team-mates of the opposition. Amir Raza had told Old Whitgiftians opening batsman Vishal Khetia to up the ante in his fielding. This caused an outbreak between them, with other teammates and the umpire helping settle matters. The fall of Inglis brought the introduction of colts graduate, Will Deasy, playing his first game for the 2nd XI. 

Not long after a rather royal innings from The Prince, Johnson also fell for 31. This had brought another debutant, Sam Ellison, to the crease. Both new boys needed to rebuild the Dulwich innings but Old Whitgiftians struck breaking the partnership in quick succession as Deasy endured a short stay of 1 run as he was out LBW by Simon Yousaf and Ellison for a duck of the same bowler. Yousaf claiming 3 wickets in the match early on as he continued to bowl 21.5 overs in the innings. The falling of the two new boys had brought none other than the best wicket-keeper batsman in the league AJ Patanker and captain Bridgey to the crease. AJ scoring a fluent 41 runs before getting out having steered the ship brilliantly for Dulwich. Captain James Bridgland (7) and James Hirst (5) provided good support to AJ giving him most of the strike. Bridgland was dismissed first followed by Hirst had brought Patrick George (7*) to the crease. Unlike his bowling unit partners he decided he wasn’t going to settle for playing the support role and launched a big six down the ground which shocked the opposition, as well as his own teammates. Shortly after AJ’s innings of 41 had come to an end with one ball to spare, Dulwich had declared on 225 for 9 sending Old Whitgiftians in to bat 50 overs to chase the runs down.  Simon Yousaf claimed 5 wickets taking the wickets of Inglis, Johnson, Bridgland, Ellison and Deasy in his long spell of 21.5 overs.  Spinners, Amir Raza and Dinesh Yoganathan providing good support to the medium pacer taking two wickets apiece.

The Old Whitgiftians chase had begun with Captain Fantastic Bridgey and new boy Ellison bowling with the new rock. The pair had provided good control beating the bat countless amount of times. Sam Ellison was the first to strike taking the wicket of Sumit Jain with the skipper taking the catch at mid-off. As the pair continued Old Whitgiftians struggled to find their way into the innings. Vishal Khetia played some dazzling shots as he accumulated most of the runs in that partnership as the innings went on. The skipper had made changes at both ends bringing two thirds of the One Direction clan, paceman and newly qualified ECB Level 2 Coach Ian Toppin and the left arm orthodox of George. Toppin first ball was hit for four. His reply was a quicker straight ball which crashed into the pads of Amir Raza, resulting in his dismissal LBW for 14. Toppin’s celebration was rather animated after being hit for four off the first ball of his spell and had given the batsman the perfect reply in dismissing him. Toppin and George had bowled in tandem and took three wickets between them. Toppin dismissed Shahrayz Nazim for a duck caught by the veteran Fergie in the slips and George then dismissing Vishal Khetia for 37. This had brought Shaz Rana and Arun Ramamurthy to the crease.  Toppin struggled with direction but still bowled some testing deliveries to both batsmen as George put the ball in danger area. The introduction of Stuart Ferguson came shortly after and he provided some control in Dulwich bowling. 

Throughout the innings there was some rather good chat coming from Lanky favourite James Hirst and The Prince, who made frequent use of “be the hero mate” in a bad attempt to get into the batsmen’s heads. Shaz Rana played the anchor role by adding some healthy runs in the run chase. James Hirst was introduced into the attack and he had took the wicket of Ramamurthy with a rank long hop which he had decided not to celebrate. It was clear to see the chat had paid off. With Shaz Rana still in Raj Chatwal provided good support to make 26 runs in their partnership. Hirst then removed Shaz Rana with AJ taking an unbelievable catch behind the stumps. Wicket-keeper Rory Subba Row and Raj Chatwal had piled up some runs on the counter attack to Dulwich’s wicket taking bowling. Mid-way through that partnership a rather bizarre moment on the cricket field had occurred. Lila the Dog had decided to empty her bowels on the field as the crowd stopped and gazed over at the dog in laughter. Row was then dismissed for 37 after the introduction of George dismissing him LBW. Dinesh Yoganathan then continued the onslaught and put Old Whitgiftians in a good position. Soon after Captain Bridgey had brought himself back on dismissing Raj Chatwal for 26 with an excellent Yorker. Fergie was then brought on again for one more over – Dinesh Yoganathan dispatching this over for some boundaries which meant Old Whitgiftians needed 12 off the last over. The second last ball of this over proved an important part of match. At this point Old Whits still needed 7 off 2 to win the match. Yoganathan launched a big pull shot. Toppin at the mid-wicket boundary had set his sights on taking the catch. The ball was sailing over him and he tried to push the ball back into play to save the 6 but failed to do so with a brave effort. Yoganathan had scored the winning runs for Old Whits to end a good game of cricket all round, winning by just two wickets off the last ball.

Sat 9th July – 2nd XI v Oxted & Limpsfield

DULWICH 265-8 dec (47.5) beat OXTED & LIMPSFIELD 149 (47.1) by 116 runs

Scorecard

Dulwich travelled to leading promotion challengers Oxted and Limpsfield and were greeted not only by sunshine but a pitch that looked like an absolute belter for batting. The team arrived early, despite a detour to pick up Toppers’ spikes and the plethora of cyclists along the country roads. The warm up started well with a little footy, but quickly deteriorated when the fielding started. After a short game of “how far can you miss the stumps by”, we switched to “how far can you throw it over the vertically challenged wicket keeper”. The team nailed the drills only to be scolded by the opposition skipper as the balls smashed into the pavilion and spectators.

After 15 minutes in the naughty corner stand-in skipper Steward proceeded to lose the toss and Dulwich were inserted to bat. Tulsiani and Stoner strode purposely to the crease to start the innings and were getting the scoreboard ticking before Stone edged the opposing skipper behind, or so we thought. A helmet throw and a couple of solitary laps indicated that Stone felt a bit hard done to. Tulsiani (28) was starting to tick, with boundaries all-round the wicket and literally no singles, until he unexpectedly slapped a full toss to cover.

At 33-2, O&L felt well in the game, but out strode Hazelwood with his eye on a big score, caressing his first fall off the back foot through the covers. This reporter would like to say the following 35 overs or so were chanceless, but Hazelwood made the most of a couple of drops (of varying difficultly) like any good batsmen and deservedly went on to complete his hundred with a procession of boundaries. He was ably supported by Rostami, Ferguson and Munawar who all chipped in with 20s in a number of useful partnerships. Hazelwood eventually fell, “tired” (played on), but a late flurry from the ‘licence to swing’ lower order propelled the Doggies to 265-8 from 47.5 overs.

Tea was a solid affair with plenty of opportunity to overeat. A particular highlight was the home made chocolate brownie, which would have been all the more enjoyable if we had won the toss and were batting second.

Back of the field the mood was nevertheless positive with captain Steward even bringing out a lid in preparation for some time at short leg later in the innings (mistake number 1). Toppin and Munawar got us underway with some bowling resembling the ‘help yourself’ teas we had just consumed and the O&L openers tucked in greedily, dispatching anything loose to the boundary. At 49-0 off 8 overs the chase was well and truly on.

The opposing skipper (who gets full match-fee value by opening the batting and the bowling) by now was chirping positively about how he was disappointed Bridgland wasn’t in the ranks so that he could put him to the sword as revenge for the earlier fixture in the season. A lapse in concentration/decent nut from Munawar saw him on his way a few balls later. A couple more runs and suddenly all hell broke loose; Munawar first pinning the other opener LBW before nicking off the number four first ball via a smart catch from Hirsty at second slip. Munawar, keen to deliver his hat-trick ball, had to wait due to the crazy rule that you only bowl six balls an over, even if you are on a hat-trick…

Meanwhile first change veteran, and self-confessed most underrated bowler in the club, Ferguson (3-29) fooled the batsman at the other end into leaving one that nipped back to take the top of off-stump. Three wickets had dropped for no runs in eight balls and Steward went on the attack. Bringing everyone in for the hat-trick ball, and himself into third slip (mistake number 2), a carbon copy of Munawar’s second wicket was shelled by the skipper leading to a particularly nasty cut, “open dislocation” and fracture, for those that understand that sort of thing.

As Steward set off for A&E, vice-captain Ferguson stepped up to the plate and in tandem with Munawar reduced the home side to 97-7. The highlight of this passage being specialist sledger Hirsty participating in mind games with “Charlie”, who eventually tried to knock his head off at silly mid-off and only succeeded in giving a return catch to the bowler. Charlie did get a brief bit of karma when Hirst was eventually struck on the shin from a fierce drive later in the innings.

O&L then dug in, making it as hard as possible for Dulwich to collect full points. The eighth wicket partnership was eventually broken by Rostrami who hadn’t bowled this much heat since he was 21 – just over 20 years ago. The tail was eventually mopped up by a beauty from Munawar (5-47) and a ‘loopy’ from Hirst with just under six overs remaining.

A good all round performance from the team, although areas for improvement as always. The big downer being Steward’s injury which will see him miss a number of weeks – the boys wish him a speedy recovery and still expect to see him with a pint supporting/berating from the boundary edge. The team sit top of the table, thanks to Cranleighs slip up, but no complacency will be allowed as we host Old Whits on Saturday.

Sat 2nd July – 2nd XI v Esher

DULWICH 180-9 (50.5) beat ESHER 119 (30.1) by 61 runs

Scorecard

In a week of both political and sporting upsets, title chasing Dulwich were very aware of the threat of an Esher side at the other end of the table.

After a warmup overshadowed by Scott Styris Matt Quaife’s quite frankly horrendous ‘80s red Adidas short shorts, skipper Bridgland finally lost a toss and Dulwich were put in to bat on yet another wet afternoon at the DSG.

Tulsiani (or ‘The Tulsman’ as he likes to call himself on WhatsApp) started in typical fashion with his powerful hitting down the ground and minimal running between the wickets. Another week, another jinx from our skipper – “Raj never gets caught at mid-off” – rather predictably, two balls later Raj was out, caught at mid-off. Despite good resistance and stroke play from both AJ and Ferguson, Dulwich continued to lose wickets at bad times (are there ever good times?) and found themselves 80-7 and needing the lower order to fire in order to reach a defendable total. Bridgland, knowing the importance of his own wicket, decided to review his LBW dismissal and, after about two or three minutes of waiting, he was politely reminded by the opposition that we didn’t actually have a referral system and had to trudge off much to his dismay.

At 90-8 Dulwich looked to be heading for a well below par total. However, Trott Quaife and Hirst put on a game changing partnership. Despite two vastly contrasting styles - with Maddy Quaife’s textbook cover drives compared to the rather more inventive and agricultural James Hirst - both were equally effective in rebuilding our innings. Hirst, on his first opportunity to bat all season, made a vital 22 before falling victim to another LBW. However, Bopara Quaife was in an unrelenting mood and continued to attack the tiring Esher bowlers. He ended his fantastic innings of 57* by launching a straight six over the bowler’s head leaving Dulwich with a very defendable 180-9.

Dulwich carried the momentum of their tail-end partnership into the field. The opening bowlers, without the selfie specialist Kamran, continued their superb form putting Dulwich in complete control. Stevens Quaife’s day was getting better and better as he took three early wickets. Bridgland, keen not to be outdone, took two wickets in two balls, before injuring himself mid run-up. However, Esher, unperturbed by early wickets, persisted with their own game plan which involved attempting to clear the boundary every other ball.

Dulwich were getting increasingly vocal in the field, being led by chief cheerleader Oli Steward, before he was informed by the Esher skipper that he had a lot of chat for an ugly bloke… The ever-willing Stuart Ferguson Matt Quaife, making the most of his NUS rate £10 match fee, returned to the action with the opposition 8 down and removed their captain for his fourth wicket of the day. Unfortunately, he was denied his opportunity for a memorable 5 wickets and a 50 as James Hirst only required one ball to seal the team’s victory.

Dulwich secured an unlikely victory after finding themselves 90-8 but the partnership between Quaife and Hirst seemed to deflate the opposition and change the course of the match. 24 points secured, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for the team to celebrate their unlikely win out in Clapham…

Sat 25th June – 2nd XI v Bank of England

DULWICH 130-5 (20) winning draw vs BANK OF ENGLAND 195-8 (46)

Scorecard

After a run of four successive victories, table-topping Dulwich welcomed a struggling Bank of England to the DSG.

The falling pound has not been kind to the Bank of England in recent days and it was no different here, as Captain Bridgland won yet another toss and chose to bowl. With rain forecast later in the afternoon, Dulwich knew they must be at their clinical best if they were to force a result.

Bridgland opened up alongside Instagram filter enthusiast Kamran Munawar. As he so often does, Bridgland made the first breakthrough, inducing a thick edge to Guy Skinner. Never one to relinquish the limelight for long, Dulwich’s resident poet, Munawar, found a prodigious amount of swing, bowling two Bank batsmen in quick succession.

At 40/3, things were looking good for Dulwich. But with every chance of rolling Bank for a cheap total, Dulwich took their eye off the ball. Literally. Before the match, red ink enthusiast Matthew Balch* had led the side in an intense array of incomprehensible fielding drills. His efforts, however, were futile as dropped chances, misfields and overthrows abound: even Bridgland shelled a simple caught and bowled. Dutifully as ever, medium pacer Ian Austin Matt Quaife quickly followed his captain’s lead.

The introduction of spin did little to turn the tide in Dulwich’s favour as Bank opener, Ali Killham, cashed in - launching two straight sixes to bring up his fifty in good time. With the partnership gathering pace, Dulwich were in disarray. Bowlers lost their line and length and no-one could quite decide where exactly they would be best positioned in order to misfield next.

After a quiet chat between slip and long-off, captain Bridgland took heed of the week’s events and stamped out any notions of democracy, placing his only useful fielder at short mid-off. This wise decision paid dividends, as, two balls later, Killham drove straight to safe-hands Skinner for a well made 63.

Two further quick wickets followed, but any sense of order was short lived. With the rain fast approaching, Bank were gifted a stimulus package as they deposited long-hop after long-hop to the boundary. Only the formidable Bridgland-Frezzato partnership providing any respite for Dulwich. It came as some relief when the wrath of Thor descended, with Bank leaving the field 195/8 off 46 overs, Bridgland the stand out bowler yet again with 3/25.

After a sustained downpour, further play looked unlikely. Bogs had formed on the outfield, puddles adorned square, the covers had proved scant protection from the driving rain. However, a determined Bridgland would not be defeated by such trivialities and, eager to make amends for their earlier display, the team set about a rescue operation. The performance levels rose faster than the dollar as Dulwich executed their skill sets manfully. On the bowdry, Zakir Rostami and Balch* settled into their lines and lengths, Bridgland, Hirst, Skinner and medium pacer Binny Quaife found good areas with the pitchforks and Raj Tulsiani kept his eye on the ball… as he sat watching Euro 2016.

With the water cleared, the match resumed in front of a gathering crowd. Dulwich had just 20 overs to chase down Bank’s 195. Tulsiani and birthday boy Johnny Morris strode to the crease. Tulsiani, suffering from a worrying lack of hangover, found the going uncharacteristically tough. At the other end, Morris was having no such problems as he scythed four successive boundaries much to the delight of the crowd.

Both openers fell for 17 in pursuit of an unlikely victory, quickly followed by a selfless Skinner (3) who was bowled trying to up the rate by attempting to hit a 12. The target now out of reach, Dulwich settled for consolidating a winning draw as Rostami (32), Munawar (26) treating the crowd to some extravagant stroke play. The league’s greatest keeper-batsman, Ajmal Patankar (26*) and accomplished finisher Balch* (6*) saw Dulwich to 130/5 at the close, comfortably ahead of the 85 required to claim a winning draw.

Despite their efforts in getting the game back on, Dulwich only received 4 points return for a comfortable winning draw – the same as they would have managed for an abandoned game – with Bank taking home an even harsher 3 point haul. With Cranleigh unaffected by rain and managing to win, Dulwich drop back to second place in the table. There is plenty of the season left, though, and whilst batting, bowling and fielding were not up to scratch this week, in a wet summer the hours of practice on the bowdry may yet prove invaluable…

Sat 18th June – 2nd XI v Cranleigh

DULWICH 182-5 (44) beat CRANLEIGH 181 (52) by 5 wickets

Scorecard

Dulwich journeyed into darkest Surrey in order to take on the, as yet, undefeated table toppers Cranleigh. Once again, captain James Bridgland proved to be a fine tosser by electing to bowl first on a damp track.

Bridgland opened the bowling alongside medium pace, 80s shorts enthusiast Matt Quaife. Earlier in the day, Bridgland had succumbed to hubris by declaring that Ajmal Patankar was "the best keeper-batsman in the league". This unwelcome moniker was to be Patankar's nemesis. With captain Bridgland's words hanging like a Sword of Damocles over his head, Patankar duly proceeded to shell two sitters. Medium pacer Collingwood's Quaife's early parsimony subsided as he appeared to fatigue, complaining of a headache and acid reflux; clearly symptoms of a 'quiet' Friday night. Dulwich found themselves in the rare position of the opposition being wicket-less at the end of the opening spell.

A change in the bowling brought a flurry of wickets, including a fine slip catch by Raj Tulsiani, the Asian Mark Cosgrove, off of the bowling of Stuart Ferguson. Both Ferguson and Patrick George, who had replaced the medium pace Ealham Quaife, salvaged control and brought the opposition run-rate beneath 3 an over. On receipt of his fourth wicket, sensing that he might have to reach for his wallet at the end of the game, the frugal Ferguson gestured to be taken off.

Medium pacer de Freitas Quaife returned and immediately brought some much-needed comedy to the proceedings, by bowling a truly terrible leg cutter which bounced a least five times on its way to gully. Mascarenhas Quaife maintains that this was the first time in ten years that he has been laughed at on a cricket pitch, although, having spoken to some of the 7th XI, I am assured that this is not the case. At some point, it had appeared as if Cranleigh would struggle to make 150 yet, following some sensible batting, they posted 181.

After tea, openers Tulsiani and Luke Cheadle were given 47 overs to chase the target. Tulsiani, fearing anaphylaxis induced by being so far from the urban sprawl, vanquished the opposition's opening bowlers. Captain Bridgland, having not learnt from his prior over confidence, decided to make a wager on when Tulsiani would reach his 50. In this instance, fate was kind to Bridgland as Tulsiani continued to impress with some powerful straight drives and pull shots. Upon reaching his 50, the final rum and coke of the previous night's escapades had been sweated out, leaving Tulsiani with cramp in his right leg. Would it be possible for Tulsiani to bat with more abandon? Needless to say, the next ball sailed over long on for 6.

With the opening partnership having eaten a sizible portion of the required runs, Dulwich lost both Cheadle and Tulsiani. This brought Zakir Rostami and the frugal Ferguson to the crease. The pair batted with calm and elegance as they punished errant bowling. Such was the relaxed atmosphere with which Rostami and Ferguson endowed the Dulwich innings that this reporter was sent into a deep sleep.

I was awoken by the dismissal of Rostami, who had fallen just shy of a well-deserved 50. The frugal Ferguson, who had batted with much grace, followed soon after – also suspiciously close in proximity 50.

Having arisen from my slumber, waving goodbye to an honourable 'thanks-for-coming', I strode to the crease and took guard. I was dismissed by a ball which I am quite certain would have got me out had I had my full eight hours sleep the night before. With 12 runs required off of the final three overs, the match had become the contest it had once threatened to be. Batsman-keeper Patankar, free from the burden of greatness, pierced the field on a couple of occasions to bring glory to Dulwich.