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Sat 3rd June – 2nd XI v Worcester Park

WORCESTER PARK 208 (47.2) lost to DULWICH 212-2 (44.3) by 8 wickets

Scorecard

As the sun set on overs cricket, Dulwich’s dominance of Division 1 continued with a strong 8-wicket win over Worcester Park in the first of the timed games.

This week saw VC Ollie ‘Lancastrian’ Steward take the reins as James ‘Hambling’ Bridgland fancied a weekend looking up kilts in sunny Scotland. Nick ‘Screech’ Hudson returned from a break with Llyod ‘Sugarhut’ Edwards also back in the fold.

Most of the team turned up well before for the start of the game, Rajgoose ‘The Big Licker’ Tulsiani and Sugarhut taking in the local scenery trying to find “parking” spots getting to the ground just before the start of the game. Rajgoose cheekily wishing Hopey was around to describe just what happened that fateful day Hopey lost his innocence. Not to be outdone, our very own Rooonaldo decided to go on a mini adventure visiting all the 5000 clubs within a mile of East Mosely, Leatherhead, Epsom, Guildford, Worcester Park arriving shortly after Steward won the toss and decided to have a field on another two-drinks day. News of the Worcester Park deck had percolated through the team and we were expecting a tricky half on what looked like a decent deck, quick outfield, a short boundary and a belter of a day.

Missing William Wallace in Scotland and Matt ‘sorry chaps, I got Fwisbee innit’ Wright, Cameron ‘Pakistan are going to demolish India’ Munawar and Matt ‘Yippee Ki Yay’ Quaife took the new ball with Quaife taking a wicket in his first over. Worcester Park settled in quickly as they got off to a good start, Quaife struggling for rhythm up the hill. Kambo sat in for an economical, but lacking his usual consistency, spell on the flat deck seeing Worcester Park reach 43-1 after the first 10 overs. Switching to Graham ‘best Lancastrian in the world – he’s still a Lanc though’ Hough and Sugarhut up the hill seemed to trouble the batsmen more. Hough, bowling with his usual control with 2 scalps and Sugarhut bowling with more steam than previous weeks looking the most threatening of the four so far, claiming the 1 bunny wabbit after a cracking few overs.

What looked like a familiar oppo collapse, at 85-4, took a turn as Hough took some lusty blows around the ground from their skipper. Quaife, replacing Hough, to take on Hans Gruber – Worcester Park’s villainous skipper, settled into a recovery not seen since Scott Boswell’s first over after the C & G final of 2001. Sugarhut, troubling batsmen uninterrupted for 12 overs as Worcester Park made their way to 150-4, bowling his best spell for the 2nd XI to date. At the 36th over, just the 37 overs late, Jekyll Hirst was eventually(!) introduced into the attack chomping at the bit to take on Worcester Park’s pantomime villain. Without saying he told you so, but he bloody well told you so, Thirsty broke the partnership with 2 wickets in his second over before taking a third in his next. Kambo, Quaife and Sugarhut all returning to take wickets at the death as Worcester Park eased their way past the ceremonial 45 overs.

Looking slightly (only slightly mind you) perilous at one stage, the Doggies restricted Worcester Park to Worcester Park to 208 all out from 47.3 overs. A cracking effort in the middle overs from Lloyd squeezing the life from the oppo’s batting effort leaving Dulwich 53 overs to claim 24 points.

With Ed 'Tonner' Towner and The Big Licker opening the batting, the Doggies settled in for this years’ largest chase. The first overs from Worcester Park swinging round trees, Rajgoose and Tonner hung on for dear life reaching 21-0 at the 10 over mark. Rajgoose, turning a corner benefitting from a change in this season's fortunes to see off the swinging ball, was unlucky to mistime one straight down midwicket’s throat departing for 15. Matt ‘bounced out’ Baulch seemingly shrinking to Bail’s height this week was unfortunate to be given out leg before bringing Screech to the crease at the 15th over at 37-2.

Strangely a few of the lads thought a lap or two was on the cards, Hopey’ll be pleased to know there was talk of a reconstruction, just not quite as realistic by all accounts.

Henry Tonner, defying Worcester Park's proverbial kitchen sink, started to wonder just how batting apparently gets easier when you’re hammered the 3 nights before off a shot of Apple Sourz. Screech and Tonner picked up 1’s and 2’s, the odd 3 nearly destroying Tonner – presumably from that 2nd shot of Apple Sourz 2 nights before. The pair looked increasingly comfortable reaching 100-2 at the 28th over as batting got easier. Tonner, with a slight head start converting a series of 40’s into his season’s first 50 from 94 balls, and Screech combined for this season’s first century partnership as they put in the early hard yards as Worcester Park rotated their bowlers. Screech, looking like he’s not missed a game, helped himself to a chanceless 50 from 52 balls, driving and flicking the ball around the ground. Free from reaching the milestone, Screech picking up pace and smashing 22 from the next 13 balls to finish with 72* from 65 balls. Tonner expertly nurdled, pushed and drove the bowling around as he wondered just how much Apple Sourz he could get in a jug before converting his 50 into a chanceless 100 from 154 balls batting through to hit the winning runs in the 44th over to maintain maximum points from each game this year. An absolutely cracking effort from Ed and Nick to bat through combining well to record a 175-run partnership to see us home.

With the first convincingly ruthless batting performance from the Doggies this year to back up the bowlers, Dulwich remain the pace setters for Division 1. With an unprecedented 5 complete wins from 5 games Dulwich have an important month of games coming up to continue that run as we push for promotion.

Sat 27th May – 2nd XI v Sutton

SUTTON 143 (33.4) lost to DULWICH 143-6 (48.2) by 4 wickets

Scorecard

A wealth of evidence has shown that participation in team sport is linked to better physical and mental health. However, new research into the “Steward effect” suggests that playing cricket at Burbage Road is associated with high blood pressure, chronic stress, and hair loss.

This week saw the return of incomprehensible Northern Irishman Ross Ewing, Matt Fwisbee Wright, Matt Quaife, and the in-form anchor Matt Balch to Burbage Road, where we were playing on the same track for the fourth time this season and which had less life than a Guy Skinner anecdote. Newlywed skipper Bridgland and VC Steward also returned to the helm after a wet and wild week on honeymoon in Seville.

The day began with the Champions and Women’s World Cup trophies loitering on the boundary edge and getting in the way of Kamran’s selfies. Fortunately, the media presence didn’t pick up Raj Tulsiani’s deeply penetrative account of his Thursday night, nor his motivational loss of the plot during the warm up, which was not found for the rest of the afternoon.

We won the toss and bowled, which was a horrid decision given the conditions, the pitch, and pretty much everything apart from our confidence in our bowling attack. The small crowd, presumably sticking around to watch the procession of A380s over the ground, were treated to a slapdash start from the Sutton openers who raced to 30-odd without loss. James Hambling Bridgland executed his leg stump half volley plans perfectly to remove their opener to a sharp legside catch by AJ Patankar, before Kamran and Bridgland took quick wickets each.

This led to something unfamiliar for the second eleven in the last year or so, a couple of opposition partnerships, eventually broken by a tight spell from Matt Frizby Wright, some self-destructive running from the oppo and good work in the field by the Shop Steward. Graham G-bangerr Hough chuntered his way through another tight spell, overcoming an impaling on the railway railings to finish with figures of 2-18 off 6.4, including one well-timed LBW. Simon “Matt Balch” Kerrigan took control from the other end with an antagonistic spell of 2-19 off 5, and would have taken more if run outs off shit balls counted to the bowler. Steward also took a good grab off a Balch delivery that was straight out of the James Hirst school of line and length.

Tulsiani and Balch opened the innings. Confusing teammates and scorers, Balch aimed to deposit the first two balls of the innings into Brockwell Park, missing both. Normal service was resumed immediately afterwards and as news filtered through from the first team where Sav had tonned up after 22 overs, Balch was cruising on 23*. Yet, irritatingly for the writer of a match report, Balch’s obdurate approach was critical as wickets fell at the other end, and the interruption of tea after 20 overs saw us wobbling. Tulsiani fell after trying to nurdle his way into form and spent the rest of the afternoon gaining extracurricular inspiration listening to podcasts of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

On a day when future Dulwich cricketers Else Ferguson and Cameron Cornick were present, the greatest number of toys thrown out of a pram were by Ewing after being given out caught behind after hitting the cover off his pad, shouting “Boutye,willgriggs,tayto,ulster,bushmills,rorybest” before leaving the field.

Cameron Cornick and Kamran Munawar then met for the first time, translated by Dad Andy:

Andy: Kamran, this is Cameron.
Kamran: Kamran?
Andy: Cameron.
Kamran: Camran?
Andy: Cameron.
Kamran: Cameran?
Andy: Cameron.
Kaman: Ah good name mate.

Meanwhile, Steward was doing his bit for cricket by making a game of it. The official play-cricket record reads “Run out (unsure)”. We can only assume that this uncertainty relates to a) Steward not knowing that a genuine game of cricket was going on whilst he was perfecting the forward defensive, b) their skipper pushing the field back to keep the comparatively Gayle-esque Balch off strike, or c) seeking to describe Steward’s self-immolation of a run out to end the innings.

Essentially there were loads of dots and we ended up needing 25 or so off the last 4. Enter the big show, the main man, David Kamran himself, so determined to increase the run rate that he immediately ran Balch out for 62. Matt Fryzbee Wright smashed his first ball for four to steer us home with ten balls to spare.

A decent effort in the field and a pretty grim run chase at 2.97/over, but the 2s keep on finding ways to win when not at their best, and sit top of the league as we head into timed cricket. 

Sat 20th May – 2nd XI v Guildford

GUILDFORD 125 (42.5) lost to DULWICH 156-9 (50) by 31 runs

Scorecard

As we all know Dulwich turns 150 years old this year. 20th of May certainly did not disappoint. With Captain Kirk leaving the bridge in the hands of Steve ‘Cheeky wish’ Patankar nobody could foresee what was to happen next.

With the finest burger stalls in England congregated on the hallowed ground of the Giant Arches car park, something extraordinary was about to happen. As ever, the top four were hungry, chomping at the bit to get their teeth in and they did not disappoint. 45-5 with the young Prince and his beloved Uncle, the Tulsman, two double stack burgers down, the scene was set.

Ed ‘Big Show’ Towner took it upon himself to be the resident weather man, claiming the BBC don’t have a clue. "Bright sunshine in Dulwich. The useless… Look up there - Armageddon is upon us," the gorgeous but, equally useless, Carrick impersonator grinned at me. It’s fair to say the rain dances were in full flow. For a while it looked like Towner: Messenger of the Gods had nailed it as the covers were rushed on to the field. Alas it was short lived. With Rinaldo rushing back to field all seemed doomed. We needed heros. "We need true Yorkshire grit" – Steve winked at me as he watched Kambo and Ishi stride to the crease, the prides of Yorkshire. For a while it seemed the White Rose would flourish again but a few quick wickets, and a master blaster innings from the Ginger Giles saw the entrance of The Lion, The Animal - Dulwich's very own Dorian Gray. Determined to show the War of the Roses is still at large, Houghy, accompanying The Big Cheese managed to hit Guildford for 150 - a total which the Tulsman was adamant equated to 260 at Guildford and was not shy about letting them know.

The belief was back and the fire was roaring. The Doggies were about to take the field but not before intimidating the prey. The new catching cradle was called for. Looking more like we belonged in a cradle than cricketers, needless to say it was a disaster. After a verbal lashing by the crucial 12th man, Jenny, we knew losing was not an option.

After a good start from Guildford, Kamran Amir decided to put his winter training into practice, getting two wickets in two overs from no balls - one of which saw the diving Jonty Marshall grab the dying ball at backward point, which has been dubbed the catch of the century. 36-0 and The Big Cheese and Kambo were fired up. Kam, speaking more with words and eyes than ball, refused to take a backward step, taking on the mental battle and leaving the cricket stage to his partner in crime. ‘The Big Cheese winds up, pulls out the cheese slicer as if cutting through Wensleydale and proceeds to Wallace and Gromit the opposition with a combination of flight and guile. Wallace and Gromit would have been proud.’ – Cheeky Steve. Thanks Steve. 45-5….Deja vu? Not in this life.

110-7 and Guildford had hope, but we all know. Hope is the worst thing you can give a man in this life. Running from long off to long off Mystic Towner kept mumbling "We’re gonna lose this." Oh Towner, sweet naïve Towner. In a moment of brilliance from the King of Spin, the gift that just keeps giving, Houghy - who had watched Hirsty grip, rip and rag his way to 9 overs 1 wicket for 19 – managed to leave the set batsman bamboozled as the ball turned from the outfield strip to take middle stump.

The brains trust wasn’t finished, Guildford were over the barrel, but who was going to pull the trigger? In typical Maverick fashion the skipper threw the ball to The Big Show. "MADNESS" were the cries from the boundary as Sav and Ed Matten chugged their 16th pint of the afternoon (shout out to you boys for funding the bar for another season by the 3rd game of the season). I for one, standing at deep cow had no doubt that a man who had been so consistently wrong all day had to come up with the goods. It was written in the stars.

The Warm Up: Honestly, I've seen more stability in a toddler on ice. Limbs flying everywhere, head all over the place. Criminal that I had been overlooked, but we play on. We digress.

First Ball: Once it got going it was rhythmical, from the handbook of Michael Holding himself. The stride, the take off, the action. Mesmerising. Unfortunately the umpire wasn’t as engrossed in the technique as I. Wide.

The Shearer: Called ‘The Big Show’ for a reason, Towner was never going to leave the field before The Shearer came out. Oh how it came out! It soon became apparent to me it had all been a brilliant joke. With a cheekiest of winks from Towner, the slow roll had been completed. Pushing mid off to the boundary, the next few moments became an emotional rollercoaster. Towner delivered the slowest of slower balls, pitching just back of a short ball length and the nagging line of 2 stumps outside off. Needless to say it went straight to long off.

The Catch: Seeing the ball thunder skywards I immediately knew it didn’t have the legs. Seeing Sav and Ed at the bar, I knew I had to get there asap. Silence had taken over. For clarity, I have provided three separate perspectives on the next couple moments (The Bowler, The Skipper and The Catcher) as its all a bit of a blur to me.

"It was a sitter. Nowhere near as good as Jonty's at backward point, but I bet Hirsty will give you a great description." – Ed ‘The Big Show, Carrick’ Towner (Bowler)

"Well well well, given I have the best view in the house. The ball goes up in the air and Spaghetti Fingers Hirst, looking like a lamb underneath it decides, to run around, arms flailing, arms going everywhere. He's like 'Eurgh theres a ball there, I guess I better catch this.' Suffers some incontinence problems, but he takes a good catch.’ – Cheeky Steve (Keeper, Captain, Number 3)

"So Towner started his over, with a massive wide down leg side and I was thinking 'Oh we could be in trouble here. They only need 4 an over and this guy is going well - he's hit a couple of long balls before.' The next ball, outside off and I thought 'That’s gone a long way up in the air.' Seeing Steve running the opposite way I knew it was up to me to get there and claim it. Like a Northern Usain Bolt I’m off, thinking to myself, 'Really glad I was the one hitting the catches in the warm up - this is my time.' Sprinting a good 120 yards, the whole time thinking 'Oh no oh no oh no, if I drop this I’m going to look like a clown.' The doubt started to creep in. I composed myself - I’m having this JL fielding point. A man possessed I set myself. It lands in my hands. I looked around and thought 'Yeah boys, never in doubt.' Amazing what you can achieve with raw God-given talent and a massive pair of plums.’ – James ‘Big Plums’ Hirst (Catcher)

Who knows what really happened - I personally don’t even remember I was in the bar doing shots of tequila with Sav and Ed, but I do remember The Shearer. We all remember The Shearer.

Victory was ours, or so it seemed when Golden Arm Towner returned for his second over, figures already 1-0-1-1. He saw his name in lights, number 11 chipping the ball to the man at square leg and the second half of the brain trust, the man who engineered this winning position – the Daddy of Dulwich, Tulsman. Sprinting back to Sav and Ed for the next round, I knew it was over. However Raj Mignolet unleashed his inner keeper to push it round the corner. Alas it was not to be, ending with figures of 2-0-2-1, Towner didn’t get the fairytale ending but has put his name in contention for best all-rounder in the club – if not league.

With an angry and ruthless Sugarhut Edwards storming in 4 balls later it was all over. Guildford succumbed to 125 all out.

Dubbed the most epic game in Dulwich history I hope it is not another 150 years until we see another outfit as ruthless, devilishly handsome and banterful as the Dulwich 2nd XI. 3 Games, 3 Wins, Top of the league.

A special performance, by a special team, in a special year, on a special day, for a special captain.

Congratulations Skipper on your big day.

Sat 13th May – 2nd XI v Cranleigh

CRANLEIGH 101 (28.4) lost to DULWICH 102-6 (29.5) by 4 wickets

Scorecard

A four wicket win against fellow newcomers Cranleigh CC was enough to place Dulwich firmly at the top of the 2nd XI Surrey Division 1 and underline their credentials as early season promotion favourites.

Dulwich welcomed back opening bowler Matt Quaife to their ranks as Bridgland won the toss and elected to field – sticking to a formula that’s turned him into one of the most feared captains in Surrey cricket.

Bridgland and Quaife took the new ball and made early inroads, destroying Cranleigh’s hopes of setting anything resembling a competitive total. The pace and swing combination proved too much as Quaife recorded a season’s best haul of 5-35 off 10 overs, removing four of the top six, most noticeably the threatening Max Barson (22), while Bridgland happily took the back seat picking up 2-32 off his eight overs.

At 46-6, an early finish seemed inevitable yet Cranleigh’s captain, Josh Cummings (44) stood strong, protecting his partners with mature crease and strike management. It was left to Dulwich legend, Graeme Hough, to clean up the tail, finishing with figures of 2-6 off just 2.4 overs.

Such was the clinical efficiency of the home side’s bowling, only two Cranleigh batsmen reached double figures in a miserable total of 101 off 29 overs. Dulwich’s caterers had misjudged the strength of Cranleigh’s batting line up and weren’t prepared for the players to take an early tea, therefore both teams were instructed to head straight back onto the field of play for 20 overs. Many spectators were questioning whether Dulwich even needed that long.

Tulsani (13) and Towner’s (11) dreams of a 10-wicket win were quickly dashed as both were removed cheaply. It was left to Northern Irishman, Ross Ewing, on his Dulwich 2nd XI debut, to take control of the innings. He played with trademark panache, dominating Cranleigh’s bowling attack while carting them to all parts, before being bowled by Sam Wade for a promising 33.

A middle-order crisis ensued as Dulwich lost a number of wickets, AJ Patanker (0), Jacko The Aus (5) and Lloyd Edwards’ slightly dubious innings of 0, all fell in quick succession. Bowling hero Matt Quaife (2*) and a solid looking Ishy Baksh (23*),who was keen to finish the job and crack on with some Year 9 marking, were both calmness personified as they steered Dulwich to a four wicket victory and another 20 points.

Another win means, once again, Dulwich are top of the league (ignore the fact it’s purely by means of alphabetical order), it’s certainly a promising start for a team yet to field a full-strength side. Joyous captain, James Bridgland, reflected on the win with cautious optimism: “I’m proud of the lads, racking up the wins at this stage of the season is essential.

“Frustratingly, a couple of us are unavailable next week, I’m getting married, but the lads are in safe hands with Matt Quaife. I’m not sure what I’m more nervous about, getting married or how the team will get on without me. I’ll be checking my phone throughout the ceremony”.

Sat 6th May – 2nd XI v Epsom

EPSOM 110 (44.5) lost to DULWICH 112-3 (27.3) by 7 wickets

Scorecard

After a long winter break, Dulwich 2nd XI picked up where they left off, with an emphatic seven wicket victory at Epsom.

Last season, the 2nd team had steamrollered all before them and came into 2017 in confident mood. Unusually for Dulwich, no players had left the club and some promising new recruits had arrived. So, despite being shorn of three of his star performers, captain Bridgland was still able to put out a very strong side.

On winning the toss, Bridgland stuck to type and asked Epsom to bat. As the innings began, all signs pointed to a long day in the field for Dulwich. The sun had made a fleeting appearance, the outfield was lightning and the track was flat. After four overs, Epsom had strolled to 18/0, both Bridgland and Matt Wright had been taken for early boundaries and Steve Patanker had dropped a stinker behind the stumps. The omens looked bad.

Bridgland rarely fails to get an early wicket though, and again found the edge of Berry (11). This time, Steve made no mistake and Dulwich were off the mark.

At the other end, walking ego Matt Wright was not to be outdone. His new teammates were quickly learning that you do not want to make Mad Matt angry… and EVERYTHING makes Mad Matt angry. “I’ll show them who the Big Cheese is around here”, he roared as he sent Windsor’s off stump tumbling for a duck. 19/2.

The two quick wickets knocked Epsom on to the back foot as Bridgland and Wright delivered five maidens in a row. Eventually the pressure told as the batsmen attempted a suicidal single to Jonty Hough – 19/3. Dulwich were well and truly on top. Runs had stopped, wickets were tumbling and Mad Matt was bullying colts.

A double change followed, but the pressure did not let up as perma-tanned Lloyd Edwards took a quick break from his bronzing regime to deliver yet more maidens. At the other end, Hough took no time in ending the obdurate resistance of Allen (8). 22/4.

Looking to get through the overs, Bridgland opted for spin “spin” at both ends. Even Hirst’s ‘variations’ were proving difficult to get away as the scoreboard crawled along, but Retief (27) and Beswick (13) were proving difficult to dislodge. Reaching to the bottom of his crafty bag of tricks, Hirst found the ball labeled “Big Full Toss, Wide of Cut Strip”. It did the trick – Beswick chipping straight to Steward at short cover.

Epsom tried to push on, but could never quite get going. Retief and Hudson (12) fell to Hirst (3-26) and Mad Matt (2-17) trapped Secchi in front for 5, giving him another opportunity to practice his send-offs.

Only a hard-hitting cameo from Stranger at number 9 did any damage as he took 29 off 26 balls, including a monstrous 6 off Bridgland.

Bridgland had the last laugh though, as Stranger sliced to point where Ismail Baksh took an excellent catch. Two balls later, the innings was over as Bridgland (3-23) took his third.

Epsom finished with a below-par 110 off 44.5 overs thanks to a hugely impressive display from Dulwich. All 5 bowlers were on top form, assisted by a magnificent all-round fielding performance, in particular from Hough, Baksh and Ed Towner’s knee.

Despite the small total, Raj Tulsiani was taking nothing for granted, enlisting the help of James ‘The Arm’ Hirst for some testing pre-match throw downs. Hirst extinguished his 47th cigarette of the day and heeded Raj’s plea to “throw it as fast as you can”, delivering some testing 25mph wide yorkers to help him get his eye in. Alas, Hirst’s efforts were all in vain as Tulsiani was beaten for pace third ball; chipping the ball to point for a duck, Dulwich were 0/1 – his lack of hangover obviously affecting his batting mojo.

At the other end, Ed Towner was having no such problems. Tonner had been struggling all day after a ‘big one’ the night before. Flagrantly disregarding the captain’s strict curfew, Towner had hit the town straight after work, throwing back no fewer than three pints of lager shandy and a shot of Apple Sourz. Sure, he’d had fun at the time, but when he staggered to bed at 8.45pm the night before, he’d given scant thought to the hangover hell he would have to suffer at the crease.

Towner is made of stern stuff though. Whilst many of us would have been in bed for days after such a heavy one, Towner was out in the middle and doing what he does best – stroking it straight to mid-on for no run. At the other end, Steve Patanker looked in fine touch, before he edged behind for 19 to make way for mid-week specialist, Guy Skinner.

Skinner’s weekend travails were well documented in these pages last season. Try as he might, he just couldn’t replicate his Jazz hat form in a Dulwich cap at the weekend. But this year he looks determined to change that reputation. “Deus facere Martis, augendae mea mediocris” he told himself as he strode to the wicket to join the struggling Towner.

It seemed to work. Skinner raced to a well-made 33, including a barrage of boundaries off his legs, before being adjudged LBW with just 27 needed. Steward (11*) entered the fray to see Dulwich home alongside Towner (45*), by now severely dehydrated.

The perfect start to the season for a 2nd XI with big ambitions; a fine effort in the field backed up with solid knocks from Towner, Skinner and Patanker. With three home games to come, Dulwich will be looking to impose themselves on their new league.​​

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