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Sat 19th August – 2nd XI v Banstead

BANSTEAD 236-8 (50) beat DULWICH 195 (47.3) by 41 runs

Scorecard

The second place 2s travelled down to 3rd place Banstead knowing two things. Firstly, it was a big game, and secondly, it was a big game. A win and promotion would be effectively sealed. Captain Bridgand lead from the front, arriving at the ground well ahead of time after leaving his other half in the  Worcester area (Steward being unable to produce a get out of jail free card).

The remainder of the squad rocked up at 11am and set about a strong warm up. Silky smooth football, faultless catching… and then the toss was duly lost and Dulwich took the field to have a bowl, knowing that hitting them hard early on was going to be key. Bridgland asked Stone if he fancied slip. "Gully actually,” came the reply, to which the skipper deferred. Four balls in and Stone took a fine catch at gully to remove the Banstead skipper as Bridgland hit his straps early. Three overs later Jones induced a loose drive and a comfortable catch by Woodgate had them two down. All this brought Hussain to the crease, scorer of 103 in the reverse fixture. An early saunter down the wicket to flick Jones backward of square for six caused a little anxiety, but a few balls later Jones had his man LBW. Bridgland and Patanker then teamed up and Banstead were suddenly 21-4. Unfortunately this is where the day started to unravel for the good guys. 30-5 slipped through our fingers as Tulsiani dropped Condle at first slip – a tricky chance but one the Tulsman would expect himself to grab. A decent recovery took Banstead to 80-4 before Arabi produced a sharp bit of fielding to run out Chesser for 19. At the other end Condle was punishing anything wayward on his way to a crucial red ink century for his team, ably assisted by wicket keeper Elster, as the Dulwich bowling served up too many loose balls. Even the introduction of the Chaos Engine couldn’t bring the breakthrough. Elster and Condle took the score to 206 before the number 7 fell caught and bowled to a juggling Arabi. A couple more wickets went as the hosts struck out for home, finishing on 236-8.

After one of the top two or three teas on the Surrey circuit the Dulwich top order prepared to go into battle. Towner and Stone strode purposefully out to the middle, knowing a solid start was all important – Towner duly falling LBW to the first ball of the innings. Stone and Johnson then underwent a thorough examination from the young left arm seam of Calum Estall, who produced a top-class opening spell, competently backed up by Pitchley. The unmistakable Joshua Gillam came on first change and Stone relaxed his guard too far and chipped tamely to cover. Dulwich 28-2. Woodgate, making his 2s debut, came in at four and, after a lovely drive for four through cover point was caught down the leg side. By now Johnson was hitting his straps, looking determined and playing with style until he departed for a good-looking 26. A hard-charging Tulsiani was next to go for a promising 18 (makes a change from going for a promising 18 year old), a full-pitched ball from Gillam trapping him in front. Arabi tried to bludgeon his way into form but only picked out long on – Dulwich were now 88-6. George and Patanker now at the crease, and the fight back was now or never. George was struggling to find a plan and was soon bowled by Head.

Bridgland then joined an increasingly fluid looking Patanker, who by this time was hitting his stride, punishing anything loose, and producing some lovely leg side flicks. Bridgland was in some big hitting form, and the required 10 an over wasn’t looking out of reach (although it wasn’t looking exactly within reach either). Bridgland and Patanker’s partnership forced the return of 17-year-old opening bowler Estall to try and force the breakthrough. This spell wasn’t quite as probing though, and as Bridgland smacked him back over his head, he somewhat optimistically squared up to the Dulwich captain with a rather petulant push in the back. Not really on, but it was good fun. Patanker, passed his 50 as Bridgland’s hitting finally saw him caught for 22. The Dulwich keeper-talisman was flagging somewhat by this stage but still giving it a go when he was the last wicket down for an excellent 80. Dulwich then 195 all out, to lose by 41 runs.

Dulwich must now prepare for a massive game against league leaders Malden Wanderers next week; a game so massive it has its own internet domain, a game so important it makes Brexit look like a parlour game, a game bigger than The Beatles, Usain Bolt and Raj’s Friday nights combined. In short, a big big game.

Sat 12th August – 2nd XI v Walton on Thames

WALTON ON THAMES 235-8 (50) beat DULWICH 233-9 (50) by 2 runs

Scorecard

This Saturday the 2s travelled to Walton on Thames hoping to build on last week's victory and help cement our bid for promotion. After a warm-up described as "not worth writing about", Dulwich lost the toss and were asked to bowl.

The match got off to a magnificent start with Kam taking a wicket with the first ball, snicked behind to Steve. This was immediately followed by the Walton No. 3 doing exactly the same thing. Unfortunately, this time the umpire appeared to have lost the use of his eyes and his ears, and it was not given. Still, Kam got his man in his next over, caught by Steve for 0 for the second time in the match. Dulwich kept the pressure up with some tidy bowling, and with the score at 16-2 off 10 even the opposition were muttering about an early finish. Alas, it was not to be, as the Walton 2 and 4 proved annoyingly tenacious, scoring well and making the most of any chances we gave them.  We needed something different, something they wouldn't expect, and up stepped the Prince of Dulwich. First ball, again taken by Steve, and the partnership of 124 was finally broken. Walton continued scoring readily, including a massive six off Kam which only bounced once on its way to the line, finishing on 235-8. Mention to Steve, who took four catches.

Following what can only be described as the Best Tea in the League, new opening batsman Rylan Clark-Neal strode to the middle with Ross Ewing to begin our biggest chase of the season. Rylan impressed immediately, scoring a single with his very first ball, however, after making a very rapid 7 off 25 balls, he was caught, and the Prince went out to join Rossco.  Ross was looking good, scoring quickly, but after 3 boundaries he too was caught. The Prince and Oli put on 50 odd for the third wicket before getting out on 23 and 46 respectively. Dulwich continued to chase down the target, with all contributing, but ultimately we didn't push for the second run enough, and were left stranded on 233-9, losing by two runs.

Special thanks must go to Cheese for turning up to annoy everybody umpire whilst sporting an injury sustained during a game of ultimate hopscotch.

With three weeks left, and third place Banstead next week, it is vital that we get back to winning if we want to keep our place in the top two at the end of the season. Come on Doggies!

Sat 5th August – 2nd XI v Worcester Park

DULWICH 181-7 (50) beat WORCESTER PARK 109-9 (28) by 19 runs

Scorecard

After a couple of damp weeks and two hollow performances, the 2nd XI welcomed Worcester Park to Burbage Road on Saturday, seeking to record a first victory since the opening weekend in July and the chance to re-affirm their promotion push. The side was missing skipper Bridgland – on demand for 1st XI duties – and Graeme 'Just Get On With It And Play' Hough, laid low by a bout of hypocrisy with a knee strain. Hirsty, last seen on Tuesday heading to the laundrette to pick up his whites, was also otherwise engaged.

The warm-up began in earnest in the new net facility, with several of the assembled contingent making serious pitches for the third or forth spinner spot – including Ben Lester, valiantly looking to overcome his 4th XI selection as a hinderance to his chances. Football followed (1-0 to the Blues, a counter-attacking move through the left wing casually finished by Jeremy Jones and an intensity-raising fielding session led by the CIO himself.

With the weather proving as predictable as The Tulsman's Friday night movements, Travis "Only 360 degree batsman in the Surrey ChampionshipTM" Scott of Worcester Park chose to have a bat first and openers Towner and Tulsiani made strides to the middle. Tulsiani immediately returned, whereupon Balch proudly joined Ed on his freshly-cultivated Dog. 

Some accurate early bowling was negotiated by the pair, complimented by the occasional piece of sweet timing – particularly from Balch, whose cut shot renaissance continues with aplomb. In fact, with Balch having forgotten to put his shackles in the kitbag the previous night, he was able to really push the initiative for Dulwich – at one stage thrashing Scott through cover and over the top for a scarcely believable three boundaries in an over. Meanwhile, Towner was 4* off 9 full tosses at the other end and really enjoying his batting.

At 60-odd for 1 in the 18th over, with Steward and Bailey reclining topless on the boundary and basking in the glorious sunshine, everything was looking figuratively and, indeed, aesthetically wonderful for Dulwich. Fast-forward two overs later and Matt Quaife is kneeled over the side of cover with a bucket as lashings of rain and hail – interjected by bursts of thunderous lightening – crashed around him.

Quaife returned to his teammates, huddled in the dressing room, looking still significantly less wet than he does three balls into his second over most weeks, to report that we were in some trouble. As the monsoon passed the damage soon become clear. A missing pipe on the middle cover had allowed a pool of water to congregate and leave an area just back-of-a-length damper than Faiz Kassam's face. All eyes looked for the Ground and Works Coordinator, who spent half an hour trying to retrieve a supersoaker from another county while captain Steward attacked the offending patch with a floor mop.

Play resumed an hour and 45 minutes later, after some good work from the Dulwich boys and the sacrificing of at least one shower towel. Balch and Towner continued ut prius before Balch cut one to a juggler at backward point for a very well made 38. 

The Prince entered the fray and straightaway confirmed Towner's rightful suspicion of the low full toss (now 4* off 12) by pumping one straight to shortcover. Steward then embarked on a run only marginally less disappointing in its outcome than the Bolt-Gatlin 100m showdown later that evening. No amount of anabolic assistance could rectify a calamitous yesnoyesnoyesyes call and he was run out by the best part of 36 yards for 1. 82-1 had become 86-4 and there was work to be done. 

Andy Bailey, and his amusingly inconsistent covering of stomach hair, helped Towner move the score on to 96 before yet more rain brought proceedings to a halt again. Tea was taken, and another 15 minutes lost. Shortly after, the dual keeper axis of Bailey and Patankar departed and we were 120-6. It was left to Quaife (19) to help push things along with Towner, now finding his range, and Dulwich posted 181-7 in 50 overs and 9 and a half hours. Towner was dismissed for an important 82 in the final over to take his tally versus Worcester Park this season to well over 200 runs.

Five men, three calculators, a NASA computer and Rinaldo's ouija board were utilised in working out the Worcester Park target - importantly remembering to carry the 0.01 and setting them 128 in 28 overs in reply.

Steward opted to open the bowling with Quaife (3-15) and the spin of Abu Arabi on the basis of trying something different, but not too different (wish we'd picked Ben Lester), and some excellent containing bowling brought a flurry of early wickets – that man Quaife removing Mayhew and King for ducks. Bowlers were chopped and changed, and Jeremy Jones (3-20) entered the fray, soon removing the very dangerous Scott and the resulting middle order to reduce the visitors to 40-odd for 6. A couple of tricky partnerships were ended by spin-twins Arabi and Balch and Toppin held his nerve with the final over to seal a good 19 run win.

A long and interesting day's cricket, one that Dulwich were decent value to win. We remain second with four games to go. We wish Quaife a swift recovery from his finger-breaking effort at long-off off Abu and hope he is able to play some part – whether on the pitch or with the other fossils (Hough) on the sideline – in the final weeks of the season. Get better soon Q!

Sat 1st July – 2nd XI v Old Rutlishians

OLD RUTLISHIANS 141 (48.1) lost to DULWICH 145-2 (38.4) by 8 wickets

Scorecard

As the first half of the 2017 season drew to a close, the 2’s made their way off into the previously unknown territory of Morden and the old boys sports club of Rutlish school, alma mater of the 20th century’s least remarkable British P.M, Sir John Major.  To mark the occasion, this lefty scribe set off with Jnr Tory aid Ross Ewing and arguably the least political player to ever wear a Dulwich cap, Ed Hopkins.

In what has become a modern tradition of Dulwich away trips for those lucky enough to experience the blue 3 door Peugeot, the course was set via Balham (gateway to the south) where the driver was quick to regale his passengers of past glories (The Regent, Exhibit, B@1, Balham Bowling Club… the list goes on) and share stories of ‘how much Balham has come up since I moved here in 2002’ with fellow SW12 alumni and the soon to be fully fledged member of the South London ‘nappy valley’ brethren, Ed Hopkins.

Having negotiated the back streets of Earlsfield, we hooned on serenely past the old dog track and into the south Wimbledon badlands before a combination of traffic, Google Maps and the threat of PTSD earned at Malden Wanderers a fortnight earlier forced the driver into a what was to be his only pressure situation of the day, whereupon he failed abysmally in making an injudicious left onto the road to Morden and into the route we had specifically aimed to avoid from the outset. Nonetheless, we arrived only fractionally late and with the hairdryer tucked away, we embarked upon a short, entirely average warm up of tikka taka football (there were no winners) and wild throwing.

So onto the main event, where the sight of a worn, dry, flat pitch brought about the now ubiquitous decision to roll the oppo out. And that we did. With skipper Bridgland charging in from northern end with the wind at his tail and carthorse Quaife in support up hill from the other, the oppo had no answer in what was a brutal opening spell of pace, bounce and poorly masked fear. Quaife was the first to strike with a ball that lifted onto the splice and into the hands of the grateful skipper at mid off, before he struck again - this time to Rosco at second. Two for now’t quickly became 3-13 and 4-19 as Hopkins and Steve both took a couple of fine grabs to get into the act. With resistance in short supply and Bridgland smelling 3s players taking guard, some short tactics ensued, resulting in Hough moving well to take a skyer ‘reptilian’ style at square leg from a hurried attempted pull shot.  

At 5-30 odd off 16, thoughts turned to getting back to the club to watch a Sav masterclass and possibly a fight over the road at DSG involving the 4s stand-in skipper for the day and his leg spinning vice. Alas, it was not to be, as the students dug in against the miserly Hough whilst unfurling a few boundaries at the other off Crawford-Khan. As the runs accumulated, skipper Bridgland turned to the left arm mystery of Hirst, who duly delivered via a Hough low taken screamer at backward square. With his wicket column at zero and his weekly JL point in jeopardy, Hough was quick to capitalise on the absence of neutral officials, demonstrating a soft signal of ‘out’. In what soon became a battle of wills, the senior offie’s word was duly accepted as the batsmen became the second player to ‘walk’ to leave the home side on their knees at 7-70 at the 30 over mark.

With that came the arrival of the Old Ruts n.o 9 (amusingly nicknamed ‘half price’) and the home side’s first display of resistance, as he drove and cut his way to a well made 34, shepherding the tail effectively. With ‘half price’ showing the top half how to do it and the Dulwich attack starting to look ragged, it was left to Bridgland to take responsibility and finish off the tail. This he did with the minimum of fuss to end with a fine 5-36 to wind up on the newly built O.R.C.C honours board. Other standout performances were Quaife’s 3fa, Houghy’s 12 over spell of none fa not many and Steve’s 3 grabs.

After a tidy serving of half time oranges from the O.R.C.C tea ladies that will surely put them in the higher echelons of the COT tea table come end of season, Faizal and Ted set about chasing the the 142 needed for full GinKing tokens.  With the home side’s only seamer ‘half price’ opening up into the wind up the hill and some ‘dob’ at the other enjoying what could be his farewell appearance on the main ground, scoring was tough going as both openers exercised caution via some classic defence. It was left to Faizal to break the shackles in the 4th over with the first boundary of the innings courtesy of a smoked sweep shot, quickly followed by some tidy footwork down the wicket to smear one over wide long on. Unfortunately, this is where it was to end for the young Zimbawean from the east midlands, as he was soon adjudged LBW playing one smear too many to leave the score at 1-9 off 6.  

With the dismissal of Kassam brought June’s form player Crawford-Khan to the crease. Never one to to be tied down, Zaki was busy from the outset, sweeping and bludgeoning his way to 24 before the innings’ decisive moment saw him dropped by the Old Ruts captain at wide mid on. With Towner cruising on 1 at the other end, and ‘half price’ out to stables nursing cramp on the boundary, the partnership picked up the pace against the two off spinners as both batsmen took charge at various stages, Zaki’s cutting and Ted’s driving the un-doubted features.

As the Bridgland / Balch umpiring error battle reached a stalemate at 1-1, Zaki and red ink Ed moved on serenely. Zaki was first to pass fifty, as he mixed assured defence with violent drives, while Ed gave a masterclass in how to wait and capitalise on the bad ball. As the late afternoon sun came out, the Old Ruts heads went down and victory looked ever more assured.

Then, with 10 required, disaster struck as Crawford Khan smashed a ball from the young promising off spinner into the keepers’ gloves. Awoken by the commotion, the umpire at the southern end had not a clue as to the events which had taken place, until the guilty batsman, defying the gentleman’s agreement to ‘walk’ so diligently displayed by the home side stood his ground. Head bowed with the body language of a puppy that’s weed in the kitchen, the umpire’s finger was duly raised, sending the aggressive number 3 off to the showers to end the day’s stand out batting performance at 72.  This brought the rusty Ewing to the crease whereupon he nervously defended and attempted to blast 10 balls before Ed mercifully finished the game with a spanked 4 to end 57 rouge. 

And so we returned in good spirits to the warm, sun drenched confines of Burbage Rd with yet another away win to the good. As the season takes its half time oranges, we sit 19 points behind Malden Wanderers in second and 42 points ahead of Sutton in 3rd. 

Sat 17th June – 2nd v Malden Wanderers

MALDEN WANDERED 124 (41.1) beat DULWICH 61 (29.4) by 63 runs

Scorecard

Dulwich's day began with inauspicious circumstances. So few had arrived at Malden Wanderer's ground on time that Ed 'Henry' Towner was unable to fulfil his 'Carrick' role in the warmup game of football. This may have been the result of a late-night text message from James 'Captain Chomper' Bridgland in which he described the opposition attack as 'devastating'. When a cabal lead by Matt 'Tugga' Balch finally arrived at the ground, barely half an hour before the start, Captain Chomper and his sycophantic stooge Oli 'Pilky' Steward made certain that Tugga would never again offer to give anyone a lift to cricket. 

Captain Chomper proved once again that he is a delightful tosser by inserting Malden on a dead track. Would Dulwich miss the inimitable Matt 'One Over Spells Please' Quaife? Given that the mercury was at 31 degrees, it would have seemed unlikely. And so that was the case as the bowling performance was of a typically high standard. More surprisingly, the fielding was also of a high standard. This opinion is in antipodal opposition to Pilky's aspersion that Captain Chomper could have put more effort into some half chances. Such insubordination was treated with contempt by Captain Chomper who, as a result, bit Pilky very hard. Standout performers were Kamran 'Waqar' Munawar, Graeme 'Jonty' Hough and the drinks break. Highlights include Captain Chomper cartwheeling leg stump from a full toss and hearing about John Morris' trip to Tugga's more-than-just physio. Malden were bowled out in the 42nd over for a paltry 124. 

Tea was excellent, as was the fact that the Korean community within Malden is the largest outside of the Korean peninsula (approx. 4×10^4).

Despite witnessing a poor display from Malden's batsmen, Dulwich decided that the best way of showing their superiority was by batting half as well. A cornucopia of defective decision-making meant that even a meagre 124 was too demanding; not even Tugga went to war. Only new boy Faisal '69' Kassam provided any resistance. Kassam, who last
week assured this reporter that the reason his squad number was 69 was because 'it was the same as my favourite player (sic) Charl Langeveldt', despite the fact that Langeveldt wore 67. Spare a thought for Pilky who, according to a source, is still gently weeping in the shower at Malden. Notwithstanding the fact that the game was concluded
over three days ago. The source also confirmed that he was indeed 'packing heat'. 

Immediately following the defeat, this reporter sought refuge in the golden California sunshine. He will remain there for the rest of the season and knows that the 2nd XI will bounce back next week at Cranleigh. He would also like to send best wishes to everyone at Dulwich, and will see them in the winter!   

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