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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.

Sat 11th June – 2nd XI v Trinity Mid-Whitgiftians

DULWICH 148-2 (30.1 overs) beat TRINITY MID-WHITGIFTIANS 147 (40.2) by 8 wickets

Scorecard

On a day filled with international sporting magnitude, the 2nd XI caught the headlines with a convincing 8 wicket victory over Trinity Mid-Whitgiftians CC.

Skipper James Bridgland, still burdening repercussions from attempting to bat first in the previous week, was well goaded by fellow teammates to bowl on this occasion should the opportunity arise. Arise it did. Dulwich inserted Whitgiftians on what looked like a decent batting track but with looming showers overhead throughout.

Bridgland and Matt Quaife carried intensity and prowess into their opening spell with dot balls and play and misses aplenty from the Whitgiftian opening pair. The opening partnership reached 28 before Bridgland got the better of Breitenstein, trapped LBW for 11. Quiafe was accountable for the next three wickets, enforcing an edge that was well taken at second slip by James Hirst and a magnificent caught & bowled that saw the opening bowler into a Schmeichel-esc leap and one-handed grab. One soon became two, three and four with the Whitgiftian top order struggling at 36-4.

Early inroads were put at bay as Whitgiftian skipper Nick Cook and Graham Cobbett looked to steady the ship. Aided by some poor Dulwich bowling in the middle overs, the pair got themselves to 95-4 before the looming rain came to fruition.

With the rain set in, an early tea was taken, displaying popular continental delights such as Greek salad, cous cous, bhajis and samosas. Despite heavy showers throughout the tea break, play was able to resume in a slightly reduced overs affair.

The Red Arrows paid tribute to Bridgland and Quaife’s return to the attack and soon the wickets followed again. 95-4 at the break quickly turned to 112-8. Whitgiftians chanced their arm towards the end but were bowled out for 147 from 40.2 overs. The final two wickets were snaffled by Zakir Rostami (2-7), the last of which was an absolute beauty of a grab by Stuart Ferguson at cover. Bridgland finished with fine figures of 13-2-31-4 and was unlucky not to get a successive five-for, having had a chance dropped at slip. Quaife supported excellently with figures of 16-1-49-4 and etched himself the new nickname ‘Qurtly’.

Opener Tulsani was obviously not feeling himself this week and took all of five balls to hit his first boundary. Luke Cheadle can count himself unlucky, falling to a questionable LBW for 11. Tulsani looked to up the rate as the sky turned from grey to gloomy to morbid and eventually fell for a well worked 27 with the score at 43-2. Rostami and Hazlewood (who was fast building a reputation as a specialised TFC) looked to build a partnership as the Whitgiftian attack found new ways to kill time for rain. The pair took their opportunity well with a century partnership and fifties apiece to see Dulwich home inside 31 overs.

Dulwich go into next week’s top of the table clash with five wins from a possible six.

Sat 4th June – 2nd XI v Beddington

DULWICH 81-0 (13.5) beat BEDDINGTON 77 (32.2) by 10 wickets

Scorecard

After winning three of the first four games of the season, the 2nd XI surged into a promotion spot and second place in the league with a convincing 10 wicket win over Beddington.

The first timed game of the season began with an extensive warm up, with newcomer Henry Hazlewood showing particular prowess on the football pitch to lead caps to a gritty 3-2 victory over their hapless hatless colleagues. There were early signs that the kickabout might be the top-order’s only exertion of the day, as ex-Beddington skipper Raj Tulsiani engaged himself in a rambunctious kickboxing warm up, highlighting his motivation to prove a point to his former club.

The disappointment of few low-flying aircraft was tempered by Dulwich being put into the field in overcast and humid conditions, a decision comparable Hussain at the Gabba. Skipper James Bridgland opened from the Sewage Works End and put in a devastating spell of medium-fast bowling from which Beddington never recovered. At 0 for 1, 9 for 3 and 11 for 5 the opposition top order was demolished in fine fashion by Bridgland, supported by Chris Hope (2/18) and Matt Quaife (1/10). Not to be kept out of the game Tulsiani took two excellent slip catches, whilst the Dulwich bowling performance was only tainted by a failure to convert any of three hat-trick opportunities.

A hint of resistance was provided by a partnership between the Beddington captain and keeper, however, Patrick George showed Aristotelian cunning to break the partnership through a sharp stumping by Ajmal Patanker behind the sticks. Bridgland returned to the attack for a third spell, removing his fourth off-stump of the afternoon to finish with the talismanic returns of 12.3-6-19-6.

Despite being required after just 33 overs, tea was a well prepared affair with a good hot and cold selection including crowd pleasing roast potatoes and a choice of doughnut. Determined to get their match-fees worth, the middle-order tucked in as heavily as the bowlers, whilst openers Tulsiani and Nick Hudson strode out past an expletive-filled Beddington huddle who seemed determined to not go down without a fight.

For the second week in a row, Tulsiani smashed the first ball for four and set the tone for the innings. At times floating like a butterfly (though only to farm the strike), the Croydonite was ruthless in an innings of 56 from 53 balls. Ably supported by Hudson (14 from 31), the opening pair broke the resolve of the opposition before calmly seeing Dulwich home without loss.

As news came in of successes elsewhere for Kamran Munawar and birthday-boy John Morris, the 2nd XI headed out for a team-building trip to East Dulwich with the heady scents of success and positivity in the air. They say that a strong 2nd XI makes for a strong club, and there are signs that success in the first timed game of the summer will set the bar for the rest of a promotion-chasing year.

Sat 28th May – 2nd XI v Woking & Horsell

DULWICH 111-6 (27) beat WOKING & HORSELL 110 (39.4) by 4 wickets

Scorecard

The 2nd XI welcomed Woking & Horsell to Burbage Road for a big game following a loss the previous week to interest rate setters Bank of England. With Captain James Bridgland and VC Oli ‘The Brand’ Steward away on another Saga Holiday trip to Eastbourne, local hero and PHD student Matthew Quaife stood in to Captain the side

Zaki (aged 35) took responsibility for the warm up, taking the team through a complex fielding drill which the players struggled to adapt to, but shortly after, we won the toss and were bowling.

Quaife and Del Boy Munawar started well, bowling tightly with Del Boy in particular showing some good pace. Quaife had Bhade caught by birthday boy John Morris in the gully, and Del Boy took a couple more, using the consistent bounce of the pitch to full effect. Hope came on to bowl tightly from one end (had to get that in there), whilst Lancastrian James Hirst weaved his magic from the other end. Balch replaced Hope, and showed great control after his all day self-promotion to Captain Quaife, as the Woking and Horsell batsman went into their shell. The game came to life as a short delivery from Hirst was hooked into Zaki’s facial region – Hirst responded by an Afridi style bouncer which rocked the batsman and he soon sent him on his way with a classic Hirst dismissal… caught off the back of the bat.

The visiting batman were clearly rocked by the whole ordeal, and resorted to guerrilla tactics as number seven Khan came out to bat with his jock strap worn outside of his trousers. Khan was fearless, and the home side expected fireworks, however a full delivery from Hirst was hit straight to Zaki who made no mistake. The innings was wrapped up as Del Boy returned to bag five for and continued his push for 1st XI selection, as Hirst bowled with excellent flight and guile to finish with four wickets.

Veterans Tulsiani and Balch strolled out to the middle to begin the reply, and showed intent from the off. Tulsiani in particular smashed anything that was, well, bowled at him and Balch hit a couple of boundaries of his own. Balch soon fell however and Tulsiani followed, later blaming his lack of hangover as a factor in his downfall… a mistake he surely won’t make again. Wickets continued to fall, and when Jack fell for 18 following a gritty innings, it was left to Morris to step up and add candles to the cake. AJ stood firm at the other end, caressing the ball through the off side and showing nerves of steel, as the pair saw a much relieved Dulwich side home.

Following three wins from four games the 2nd XI move forward with confidence, with a big game next week against Beddington and an even bigger night out to follow planned.