DULWICH 219-9 (50) lost to ESHER 220-6 (40.1) by 4 wickets
With promotion and the title secure Dulwich travelled to Esher CC to play out the penultimate game at quite possibly the best ground/tea combination going. However, despite the Doggies rolling uncontrollably to the title, the only impressive team event of the day came in their ability to consume the majority of match tea.
It never quite seemed to be a conventional 2nd XI Saturday. The enthusiasm left firmly in the bar, players all over the South of London and a warm up that would make even a village team embarrassed. A far cry from the usually intense warm up and atmosphere that would intimidate even the strongest of sides.
With only nine players ready by the toss batting became more a formality over a tactical choice, and Hirsty could hardly control the excitement of opening in the absence of the world’s most hungover individual. Alas, with minutes to spare his hopes were cruelly dashed as the unmistakeable Aston rolled in. Not that the driver was in a state to bat, gingerly hugging the skipper on arrival.
Despite this Dulwich started well, for all of four overs. For the fifth consecutive innings Stone 2 was sent packing by the outswing keeper combination bringing The Prince to the crease. Raj and The Prince re-built and moved Dulwich along at a steady five an over. But then in true Dulwich fashion, and with some inspiration from the game at Burbage Road, the collapse began. The Prince missed a straight one, which ‘broke his toe’, Raj took on the spinner, and lost, and Stone 1 failed to dig out a yorker.
With five wickets down for just over 100 Dulwich needed a calm and composed partnership after drinks. Yet, unlike the previous Esher fixture, the wickets continued to fall at regular 20 run intervals. Marshall showed the dangers of taking on a rank long-hop and Quaife, who now boasts the best batting average for the year, failed to capitalise on his start. The joy of being the only team to dismiss the invincible batsman was reflected by the magnitude of Esher’s celebrations.
Buoyed by the chance to bat at three for the Academy, Hirsty strode out to join Bailey to revive the stalling innings. With some solid power hitting and creating his own leading edge dil-scoop, Hirsty entertained for at least a while. Unfortunately, it was not the be as Bailey, in his typical style, tried to run two off a misfielded nurdle and Hirsty, after reaching his goal of 20, gave point useful – albeit simple- catching practice (178-8).
All was not lost! The skipper, pumped up on his memories of his first Dulwich innings, showed the batsmen what real intent looks like. As Pickles took a more measured ‘bat out the overs approach’, the skipper showed no let up, his strike rate more akin to a T20 than a save the innings situation. Like eight others before him it came to an all too abrupt end, his strike rate impressive - his score not so. Caught for 15.
At 200-9 the Coach made his way out. With sweatband on his arm the intent to bat the long haul was clear for all to see. In a flurry of singles, and the occasional crowd pleasing drive to the cover boundary from Pickles, Dulwich finish on 216-9. And thus marked the start of Dulwich’s finest work. The Prince leading the way in the competition to recreate Mount Everest out of spring rolls and chicken satay.
Dulwich started fantastically in the field, the skipper taking the first wicket on the fourth ball, the batsman gloving the ball to a delighted Bails behind the sticks. The Esher number 3 failed to trouble the scorers as the skipper took his second wicket, making it two in his opening overs.
It was nearly three, but the call was turned down by the umpire. Esher began to put a few runs together. With wickets being a priority the skipper threw the ball to Hirsty, high on confidence from his impressive batting performance. With few runs off his early overs, all seemed to be going swimmingly, until the third wicket fell and Esher’s number 5 entered the fray. It was at this time we saw the first of Hirsty’s trademark longhops, the batsman gleefully excepted the freebie as Hirsty’s eyes lit up as the batsman fell into his trap, all eyes were focused on the deep mid-wicket boundary. However, it didn’t go to plan, instead of going straight down Stone 2’s throat the ball flew high and long, so long infact that it not only cleared the boundary but it also cleared the fence of the house across the road narrowly missing the car. Hirsty was not beaten. He regrouped and prepared to bowl again. However, the ball once again disappeared over into the same front garden.
However it was Quaife, who had now overtaken Hirsty as leading wicket taker for the season who ended the short but swashbuckling innings of the Esher number 5. As the new batsman made his way to the crease he was given some advice from his partner. “You know how to bat - see ball, hit ball.” However the advice was taken the wrong way, the new batsman proceeded to chip the ball directly to the skipper at mid-off.
Again Esher began to form a partnership, when the sixth wicket fell Dulwich were still in with a chance, however a strong partnership between the Esher captain and the remaining opener, who ended up making a strong hundred, saw Esher home to a four wicket win.
DULWICH 130-7 (40) beat OLD WHITGIFTIANS 133 (44) by 3 wickets (rain affected)
After The Chaos Engine had single-handedly seen off second placed Cranleigh last week, Dulwich entered the final three games requiring just one win to secure the Division 2 title.
First up a trip to Old Whitgiftians, who had inflicted a rare defeat on the Doggies earlier in the season. This was a chance to put that right – a fact that captain Bridgland was keen to emphasise as the 2nd XI left Dulwich at 6.45am for the 30 minute trip to Croydon(1).
As the team entered their fourth hour(2) of intense fielding drills, it was clear to see that this was an outfit at the top of their game. Not a catch was dropped nor a throw mis-directed; a theme that would surely continue throughout the day. With confidence high, the team were buoyed when Bridgland won the toss and, as ever, chose to field.
With most of the regular squad present – but Paddy George missing, whinging about how much he does for the club in sunnier climbs – it seemed like an ideal time to take the team photo. A league winning photo can proudly adorn a bar wall for decades and our readers will be pleased to see that it went as well as the rest of the match:
The Sam twins opened up tidily, well supported by this exceptional fielding side. Runs were hard to come by as the pair restricted Old Whits to just 18 runs off the first 10 overs.
Sam Saleem (7-0-10-1) was the first to strike, frustrating the opener into chipping straight to the experienced Ferguson at mid-off. The very next over, Sam 'McLovin' Ellison, who had bowled a typically penetrating line, found the edge. Moving quickly to his left,
Jonty Hirst executed a miraculous palmed stop to save 4 runs.(3) His effort did not go unrewarded as Bridgland – in anticipation of the leg stump line he intended to bowl – promptly swapped his gun(4) fielder to the specialist catching position of square leg. Wicketless maybe, but McLovin put in a fine shift, bowling tighter than a[REDACTED](5) as he returned figures of 7-2-15-0.
After the strong opening, Old Whits threatened to make use of a flat batting track and boundaries began to flow. However, the Dulwich fielder had different ideas. The Old Whits opener flicked medium-pacer
Hansie Cronje Matt Quaife(6) up to Hudson, who produced an exception two-handed diving slap-stop at mid-wicket to save three.(7) The very next ball, Fleming Quaife trapped the number three LBW.
Buoyed by the breakthrough, Bridgland and Hirst paired up to produce the standout cricket of the season so far. Bridgland, correctly identifying the batsmen's weakness as the leg-stump half volley, probed an accurate line. At square leg,
Gary Pratt James Hirst put the batsmen under severe pressure.(8) First – a sprint round to mid-wicket to bring down the ball quickly in order to attempt a run out. Second – a flying leap to his right to save three. Third – he grasped in vain as he flew through the air like Simone Biles to get a finger tip to a thunderbolt. Inspiring stuff.(9)
At the other end,
Butcher Quaife was on fire. So much so, that Bridgland allowed him to bowl all 10 of his spells at once. Attacking the stumps at a terrifying pace, he ripped through the top order. Another LBW and two bowled as he finished with an excellent 4/22.
With Dulwich on top, Thirsty and Fergie took up the reigns. The bowling may have changed, but the fielding was still tip-top. Some excellent chest-work from Julio Inglis save two certain boundaries whilst Quaife, anticipating his likely role with the bat, wisely saved his energy when the ball looped six inches in front of him. Housewives-favourite(10) Ferguson saved another 4 above his head(11), before showing his class with the ball as he found his way through defence after defence to finish with 5/30. As you can imagine, he looked delighted as he left the field! What an effort from the Doggies, keeping Old Whits to just 133/20 on a good batting track.
With a rain-adjusted total of 130 needed for the title, Playboy Raj Tulsiani and Enrique Inglis(12) began in belligerent mood; boundaries flowed and the target was soon down into double figures. No title is easily won though, and three quick wickets fell. First, the Asian Hugh Hefner was adjudged LBW for 20, quickly followed by Nick “Screech” Hudson (0) and the Spanish Sledger (19) as Dulwich tumbled to 40/3.
Cometh the hour, cometh the (ladies) man. Dulwich felt safe in the gentle hands of McLovin (24) as he caressed the ball around, even stroking it a little harder now and again as he lifted it over the top. At the other end, elder statesman, Zakir Rostami (29) bludgeoned the ball to all parts like a man half his age.(13)
But again quick wickets fell, bringing last week’s match-winning partnership back together at the crease. Steve Patankar eyed the legside boundary greedily. So greedily in fact, the Old Whits skipper swapped the young colt positioned at deep mid-wicket for a man with extra height. But Big Steve was not perturbed by the skipper’s mind games – “Lad. You’re the best keeper batsman in the league!"(14) he repeated to himself under his breath as he bludgeoned the ball in that direction. It was high – higher than The Prince on a Friday night. It was handsome – more handsome than the DILF himself. It was straight to the man. Gone for 2.
At the other end, Fergie had his game face on. This would be his first title since being crowned Most Eligible Bachelor 1989 by Nottinghamshire Weekly and he wasn’t going down without a fight. He nudged and nurdled, he flicked and forced his way to 19, but then – disaster! – he nicked off!
Dulwich only needed 20. But 20 seemed a long, long way off. The tension was palpable – Thirsty went to his trusty leg-side shuffle(15), Quaife showed off his lofted leave(16), Bridgland delivered his best Houghy impression as he paced the boundary.(17)
Then a four! The shovel connected. Then another! The lofted leave morphed into a lofted drive. A squirt through the slips and Dulwich were home with three wickets to spare. Victors! Champions! And what a way to do it. A faultless performance.(18)
(1) There are a number of inaccuracies in this article. Apologies to readers, and we hope that these footnotes provide sufficient clarity for a true reflection of the day’s events.
(2) Although the quality of the warm up was high, its length has been exaggerated. Exaggeration of length is not acceptable to this editorial team.
(3)There is no evidence to suggest that the looping, waist high edge to second slip would have even carried to the boundary. Furthermore, the name “Jonty” does not appear to be a widely accepted shortened version of “James”
(4) Like a potato gun perhaps. Or a faulty water pistol that leaks everywhere.
(5) This was deemed unacceptable to the high-brow readership of this weekly publication. Both Sams’s’s did indeed bowl well.
(6) Despite years of rumour and speculation, there is no evidence that Quaife has ever successfully fixed a test match
(7) There is no evidence to suggest that the slow, leading edge would have made it off the square, save for the momentum imparted by Hudson’s Schmeichel-esque diversion
(8) This is misleading. The dictionary defines pressure as “persuasion or coercion to make an individual behave in a certain manner”. The only coercion visible this weekend was to “keep chipping the ball in the air to square leg mate because there is no chance that ginger bloke will catch it.”
(9) Are we really going to publish this paragraph in the public domain? There have been fewer inaccuracies in the entire season of third team match reports’ description of G. Hough’s bowling. This looks like it was written by that chap who was the Iraqi minister of information, proofread by Bernie Madoff, and translated into doublethink by Richard Nixon. Ignorance really is strength.
(10) This is an evidence-based claim that we support fully.
(11) This probably would have gone for four, but the time it took the gentle(man) bowler to put enough strapping on his limbs to extend an arm fully, the chance was gone.
(12) “Would you dance, if I asked you to dance? Would you run (miss a straight one, get bowled), and never look back?
(13) So youthful is Rostami, and assured is Ellison, that it was often difficult to tell these two apart.
(14) This is an evidence based assertion. We’ve got the best keeper batsman in the league. We’ve got the best keeper batsman in the league. We’ve got the best keeper batsman. Best keeper batsman. Best keeper batsman in the league.
(15) Get on one knee and slog across the line.
(16) Close eyes, lift head, and swing hard.
(17) Bridgland was not being swept for four through midwicket. We’d like to assert that Houghy has never been swept for four.
(18) As faultless as this match report is a reliable and trustworthy account of the day’s events.
DULWICH 225-4 (50) beat CRANLEIGH 185 (44.1) by 40 runs
‘There can only be one’
Picture this, a beautifully English overcast Saturday morning. 11:45 meet. The mighty top-of-the-league Dulwich Dogs chomping at the bit to get their teeth into second placed Cranleigh. Outfield brown, wicket green, Patrick George still complaining about all he does for the club.
12pm: The lads emerge from the changing rooms like Lions on a hunt, the warm up is about to begin…
12:15pm: …the warm up is still going. WHEN! A Prince in a black BMW pulls into the car park, the ground shakes, hearts stop, panties drop, everyone holds their breath (apart from "Daddy" John Morris, walking past, asking the Prince whether he has the Vaseline – to the absolute disgust of his poor on looking mother. I digress…)
12:45pm: The toss loss. In a game full of rare occurrences, Dulwich were asked to bat first. Explicit instructions came from the captain: "Be greedy." The game was about to begin…
1pm: Start of play. With the absence of the ever reliable long ball hitter The Tulsman, Screech (aka ‘Mr Hudson’ aka ‘Forever Young’) took up the mantle, striding to the crease with the ever lippy Enrique Inglis. Could he be our hero?
1:18pm: First wicket. Unfortunately not. Inglis was the first to depart LBW, shortly followed by ‘Huddo’, beautifully guiding a ball to gully and falling to Cranleigh's 12 year-old opening bowler - Zaki left watching the celebrations at the other end. Here entered arguably the most hated player in the circuit. Called a **** more times this season than he has had hot dinners, Prince strode out like a Gladiator entering his amphitheatre, knowing he had to get his head down.
1:28pm: The Anchor. Zaki and the Prince stood at the wicket. “Please give me one of your runs” the Prince begged Zaki, having reached the godly heights of 17 while the Prince was sitting on a 25 ball duck. On came Cranleigh's very own Thirsty Hirsty and, in a fashion that would make the man himself proud, he lured Zaki into snicking off with a ball so short and so wide it was taken on the next strip.
1:29pm: The Legend, The Pro, My Idol. Stuart Ferguson walked to the crease offering solid advice to the young Prince: "GET A F*CKING RUN". Fergie calmly caressed his first ball off the back foot for a single. The young Prince watched on in awe whilst the single was run and proceeded to block out the remaining five balls of the over.
2pm: Drinks. With The Prince finally off the mark Dulwich went into drinks 69 (favourite number) for 3, with strict instructions to rotate the strike. Fergo effortlessly found the gaps whilst the rock at the other end scampered singles on the odd occasion he got bat on ball.
2:10pm: The end of a Balchy-esque innings. Euan Johnson quite simply got the ball of the season, which saw him bowled, caught behind and stumped all in the same instance. Clueless as to what had happened he walked off for 17 off 76 balls - a solid innings from a solid bloke.
2:11pm: With the score 89/4 from 30 overs it wasn’t looking good. Until…
2:11:30pm: The Coach. With coaching via whatsapp from Wham Bamm Tulsman ("Get 180 then slog"), the best keeper-batsman in the league, and quite possibly the planet, entered the fray. Not soon after, Cranleigh were begging for the return of the Prince as the DILF Fergo and AJ started to show why Dulwich are top of the league. Spanking, smashing and bludgeoning with the occassional cry thrown in - it was starting to looki more like a scene from John Morris' Chinese Takeaway party than a cricket match.
2:55pm: The Redemption. After sending the ball to all parts of the ground and watching Cranleigh heads drop, Fergo and AJ both passed their half centuries - guaranteeing jugs for the boys! They managed to secure a respectable score of 225/4 off 50. Fergo 76* and AJ 69* (again, my favourite number).
3:30pm: Lunch. After hearing nonstop complaints from clubman through-and-through Patrick George it became apparent this game was no longer merely for the top spot in the league but the top Euan Johnson in the league. With the Quaifester singing to the Prince all through lunch "You’re not even the best Euan Johnson in the league’" he knew we had to get off to a flyer.
3:35pm: O Captain My Captain. Jamesy Bridgey Bridgland took the new ball and entrusted The Prince to go and flirt the batsmen out so that while they weren’t concentrating he’d bowl and they’d miss a straight one. The master tactician had done it again, trapping the opener plumb in front of all three. To the extreme excitement of The Real Euan Johnson, his namesake was removed for just 2. There can only be one.
3:50pm: In came Cranleighs no. 3? After snicking off through vacant areas of the slip cordon Bridgey decided to take matters into his own hand, bowling an inducking yorker that took the base of the off stump. Captain Dulwich finished with 2-22 from 10 overs and was backed up well by young Sameer Saleem who bowled with good pace but little luck.
4:25pm: Resistance. After a period of Cranleigh fighting back admirably it was very much level at drinks. After some soul searching, strong leadership and words the Dogs went back.
4:27pm: The Dogs. Quaife Dog, The Quaife, Quaifeyyyyy was bowling well in hot conditions and found the edge that flew wide of gully, or so we all thought… Out of nowhere Zaki leaps like a salmon to take quite simply the best gully catch ever taken ever. Silencing all the haters – no man under 44 could take that catch.
4:28pm: THE DOOOOOOGS. The next in leaves a disguised inswinger first ball. BOOM - top of off. Poor kid.
4:29pm: HATTRICK BALL. Quaife steaming in. He releases. It’s a wide. A tragic end to a fairytale story.
4:50pm: Thirsty. Cranleigh were going along nicely rebuilding the ship when Thirsty Hirsty was chucked the ball. Quaife, who was doing well at hiding exhaustion from his spell, was swapped with yours truly. LIKE THAT he's back in the game with a ball two deliveries later chipped straight to The Prince at midwicket. Hirsty is already off necking a pint, Bridgey is celebrating, Fergo is reattaching his body. Alas, straight through the ball goes. But luckily 3 runs were saved…
4:55pm: Language Barrier. Hirsty was thus taken off and placed next to a shell of a being in the covers, still red faced & speaking in Northern tongues, I knew it was about me.
5:15pm: DILF. After a quiet period in the field on came The Real Fergie, now relentless in his hunt for the JL points. It wasn't long before he had made up for The Prince's mistake and dismissed both set batsman in quick secession.
5:45pm: All day they tried all day we dared. Finally it happened - a single to Inglis. Desperation does strange things to men under pressure. Next man in…
6:34pm: Fergie Time. Finding myself on the boundary (right in front of the other Euan Johnson's family), I was acosted by my mother who handed me a bottle of water and asked "Why don’t you stop flirting and finish them off?" Next ball, Fergie Ferg caught a blinder off his own bowling, ending with 3-19 off six overs and ball.
Dulwich 225/4 from 50
Cranleigh 185 all out from 44.1 Overs
Alas it was fair to say on Saturday there was only one.
DULWICH 79-2 (15.1) beat BEDDINGTON 78 (29.5) by 8 wickets
Dulwich faced Beddington on a warm summer Saturday at the DSG. Availability had been far stronger this week, with John 'Daddy' Morris, hero of Addiscombe and father(-figure) to all those under the age of 26, suffering the indignity of being dropped and recalled within two days. Skipper Bridgland returned from his groin strain having been given the 'all-clear' from a physio recommended by Raj 'The Tulsman' Tulsiani. Bridgland informed us that his recovery had been thanks to a series a streches which involved standing firm and clenching his buttocks. The Tulsman, fearing that he had given Bridgland the wrong number, grinned sheepishly. Also returning was underaged paceman Sam 'McLovin' Ellison, whom Daddy Morris asked 'How is it going with the Ladies?'. McLovin replied 'It is not the "going" I'm worried about…but the "coming"'; Daddy Morris was overwhelmed with fatherly pride.
Bridgland won the toss and elected to bowl, much to the dismay of the Beddington skipper. Bridgland shared the new pill with Hawaiian native McLovin, and was immediately successful thanks to an intimidating long-hop. McLovin followed suit, bowling Beddington's number 3 with one of the best balls of the day. By the end of their opening spell, the pair had removed five of the Beddington batsmen thanks to some good bowling and poor shot selection. With Beddington in disarray, wicket-thief and professional northerner James 'Thirsty' Hirst was brought into the attack. Without any provocation, Thirsty regaled the batsmen with a tale of his new mystery ball dubbed the 'Poosra'. The Poosra, whose precise definition is unknown even to Thirsty, is probably a half-tracker which squelches as it lands thus confounding the Batsmen. Needless to say, it was surely bowled and Thirsty, in combination with Daddy Morris' shorts enthusiast
Chris Woakes five years ago Matt 'Up-and-Down' Quaife, winkled out the remaining batsmen for just 78. One dismissal was of note as it coincided with discussion of the title of Tino Best's new autobiography between Steve 'AJ' Patanker and Euan 'Chaos Engine' Johnson.
Tea had come embarassingly early, and those of us who were still picking lunch out of our teeth went over to watch the conclusion of the 3rd XI innings and another Matt Balch red inker.
Play had resumed to the surprise of the majority of the team. The Tulsman was opening with Andy 'The VP' Inglis. The Tulsman carved up the opening bowlers with a flourishing blade whilst the VP took advantage of an 8-1 offside field. Both were playing with panache and brio, until the Tulsman got a fine edge behind for 27. This brought this reporter to the crease, eager to prove my worth and merit Bridgland's trust. I was to do neither as I was bowled by a yorker first ball. I lumbered back to the hutch, and, once again, wallowed in my chagrin. Fortunately, the Chaos Engine was determined to not get out, even as he found the middle of his gloves early on. The VP continued and finished with 43 not out as he brought victory to Dulwich without any further falter.
Following confirmation of promotion, via Pat 'TFC' George's untrustworthy friend, much beer was imbibed especially by Thirsty who was last seen chinning three pints in thirty seconds.