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Sat 23rd July – 3rd XI v Ashtead

DULWICH 194-9 (47.5) beat ASHTEAD 193 (52) by 1 wicket

Scorecard

The 3rd XI won a thriller by one wicket off the penultimate ball on a roasting day in the depths of Surrey. Credit must go to both teams for one of those games that, whilst nervy, was a pleasure to play in, played in a good spirit and made the long journey worthwhile.

Playing at Dulwich you get used to rather annoying away trips but for our longest away trip of the season we were greeted by the beautiful architecture, surroundings, pitch and ground of Box Hill School. The delightful ground and setting would put many first team grounds to shame – how lucky Ashtead are to have such a facility as their second ground.

The much changed team once again gathered pretty much on time, except for (post-graduate student) Sam Hunt who had gone to the wrong ground!! First sight of the wicket resulted in a unanimous verdict that it was a road. This fact, plus the heat, did not stop skipper Graeme Hough choosing to field having won his 10th out of 11 tosses this season. In any case it did not get any cooler. Whilst Dulwich’s senior citizens initially made the most of the shade and watched an always youthful Ashtead side go through their warm up, match heads were soon switched on.

Jeremy Jones and young left-armer Rordon Daws opened up. Daws, quickly settling in to a good rhythm, made the first breakthrough with an in-swinging beauty to castle Ashtead’s captain Wint. Meanwhile, at the other end, Jones bowled what he would readily admit as being one of his worst spells for many a year. He did, however, manage to surprise the other opener with a good length ball on off stump and induced a regulation catch to keeper Dan Peters. The expletives of frustration became louder and stronger from Jones, but not as strong as those that the skipper was muttering to himself as he contemplated bowling changes at a very early stage. But in the ever increasing heat, second spells from seamers later in the day were a risk and so Jones was persevered with in the hope that it could only get better. Suffice to say it didn’t, and with Daws having bowled his allowed quota (1-21 off 7) a double change was made with off spinners Hough and Ben Lester entering the fray.

Now the above may sound a bit harsh on our ‘Jezza’ but that is only because we have been so used to his consistency. This was a very rare off day and Jez will be back next week to put things right no doubt – he remains one of the best opening bowlers in the league.

Back to the game, Hough settled in to his usual miserly line and length at one end and Lester offered his usual F&G with skipper Hough kindly letting him have use of the slight slope in his favour – a level of charity not usually becoming of the captain! Lester struck first bowling the no. 3 with a flighted beauty, Hough trapped another plumb in front and Lester induced a catch to mid-off. 69 for 2 had quickly become 81 for 5 and Dulwich scented blood. All through this Ashtead’s young no. 4 Ben Sidwell was holding things together and it was clear at an early stage he was a class act and was going to be difficult to budge. However, wickets were snaffled at the other end – another LBW by Hough and James ‘The Pickler’ Pickles got an excellent caught behind by Peters in his first over having replaced Lester (2-39 off 10).

At 122 for 7 a score of below 150 was on, but Sidwell continued to toy with bowlers and fielders. Without taking the bowling apart at any point his placement was excellent and skipper Hough was even forced to utter (very reluctantly of course) a couple of ‘good shot’ calls to him. Ashtead’s young tail wagged well as the heat took its toll on the fielding Dulwich team. Wickets were eventually gained through a third Hough LBW (had the heat got to umpire Chris Reardon? Were bribes involved? No, they were all just plumb out), a run out and another wicket from ‘The Pickler’. But Ashtead had moved well to 193 all out off 52 overs. Sidwell remained at the end on 82 not out in an innings of maturity, patience, concentration as well as skill. A rather tired Hough toiled through 19 overs for 3-41 and special mention again to Sam Hunt for some energetic and athletic fielding.

In such sumptuous surroundings it was no surprise that the tea was to match. After feasting and hydrating well, Guy Woodgate and James Chudley strode out with 48 overs to chase down 194. Things quickly took a turn for the worse as Woodgate miscued a pull shot second ball and Chuds surprisingly missed a straight one soon after. At 14 for 2 the target of 194 seemed some way off. The increasingly ‘Bearded Wonder’ Andy Cornick joined Julian Dean to begin to repair the damage. The openers were seen off and they were beginning to look comfortable as the score was moved to 43 for 2. Enter JD’s nemesis – any spinner in Surrey! The exotically named left arm spinner Marcus Caprano-Wint entered the fray – who, by the way, had figures of 16-11-8-3 the previous week. He is only 15 but had bowled well in the first match earlier in the season. Anyway, JD had a good look at him… well for two balls… then launched the third in to orbit… end of. 43 for 3 quickly became 55 for 4 as Dan Peters was bowled having played his shot seemingly in a different time zone to the ball – in his defence it was there to hit but kept on the low side.

Sam ‘I’m a keeper really’ Hunt joined Cornick who by now was unleashing some pleasingly timed drives for which he is known when on form. Sam Hunt is one of those who commentators would describe as a ‘busy cricketer’ and they began to build a good partnership and increase the run rate. Cornick cleanly lofted the spinner over the top a couple of times and Hunt showed a liking, as well as a skill, for the sweep shot which spinners generally do not like. Having serenely moved to 47 Cornick then attempted to go over the top again, missed and was stumped as he lay in a crumpled heap on the ground – 96 for 5 and game in the balance.

Lester joined Hunt and they upped the run rate as it was the turn of Ashtead’s bowlers and fielders to feel the heat. Hunt punished anything short with aggressive pull shots – this included a comical bit of fielding from Ashtead as a full blooded pull shot rebounded off deep square’s knee almost back on to the pitch… ouch! Lester also struck a monstrous 6 – well that is what he is telling everyone who wasn’t there as it was really a push for two followed by four overthrows! Having moved Dulwich in sight of victory at 163 for 5, Lester eventually perished to a good catch on the boundary showing his inability to hit a proper 6! ‘The Pickler’ joined Hunt and they moved the score up to 179 when Hunt was run out in a mix up for an excellent 65.

Dulwich nerves were beginning to increase, not helped by Jez Jones’s day not getting any better as he eyed a quick single… from a push straight back to the bowler – another run out and 185 for 8. This quickly became 187 for 9 as Pickles was cleaned up for a handy 12. So it all came down to the last over – 7 to win with Daws and the cool, calm and collected (not!) captain Hough. A couple of singles were followed by a couple of lusty Daws blows for two runs each. Scores tied and two balls to go. As Daws offered incredibly helpful advice to his captain to ‘just run fast’ (little chance) the penultimate ball thudded in to Daws’ pads. Whilst Ashtead appealed in vain for LBW they forgot about the ball and the victory was sealed with Hough thankfully not having to run that fast at all to make it home.

An excellent match, made better by news later in the evening that leaders Wimbledon had lost against Spencer. 7 points now separate four teams at the top – GAME ON!

Captain’s man of the match for the John Lawrence Award was Sam Hunt for his batting and fielding, with Andy Cornick second and Rordon Daws third.

Sat 16th July – 3rd XI v Weybridge

DULWICH 113-0 (17.4) beat WEYBRIDGE (36.2) by 10 wickets

Scorecard

The 3rd XI romped to a 10-wicket victory against relegation threatened Weybridge at DSG on Saturday. The team was greeted with some surprising sunshine and a move to Turney Road pitch 1. The only down side to such a comprehensive victory was that the number of TFCs was more than is desirable with just four bowlers and two batsmen called in to action.

A much changed team welcomed Chris Hope and James Pickles back from injury with other changes required due to lack of availability. Skipper Graeme Hough’s skills at the toss continued as he won his 9th out of 10 this season and did not hesitate to insert Weybridge to bat on what looked a good deck and quick outfield. After a good warm up and a little wait for Weybridge to arrive Jeremy Jones opened up and cleaned up one of Weybridge’s openers in the first over. At the other end Hopey quickly settled in to a good rhythm. Weybridge’s giant number 3 (6ft 8ins was the official stat) showed a keenness to put bat to ball, whilst their left handed opener showed a remarkable skill to play and miss on a regular basis as a full slip cordon waited in anticipation.

Hopey soon cleaned up Weybridge’s BFG and Jones got in on the act soon after with a strangled caught behind down the leg side by Bailey. A suicidal attempted run saw a run out thanks to ‘The Pickler’ and Hopey cleaned up another to leave Weybridge in trouble. Matt Balch had replaced Jones (an excellent 2-19 off 8 overs) by now whilst skipper Hough wrung every ounce of energy out of ‘sore side’ Hope until he threw in the towel after 11 overs. A welcome return (2-35) dampened somewhat by his after match announcement of non-availability for two weeks, after 5 weeks out with injury….

Hough replaced Hope to provide some double spin action and the remaining five wickets did not take long to snaffle. Smart catches from Hough, Skinner and Bailey gave Balchy another three wickets (3–32) whilst Hough snared a couple (2-20). Weybridge 111 all out after a good bowling and fielding performance. Aside from the catches special mention to Sam Hunt for an outstanding piece of fielding on the boundary to protect the captain’s figures – this always goes down well!

After tea the two Guys – Woodgate and Skinner – strode out and both looked confident from the off, keeping out the good balls, punishing anything loose, and running well between the wickets against an increasingly dispirited Weybridge. Both timed the ball well in particular off their legs and it quickly became clear that victory was going to be a formality, just by how much as ‘pad rash’ began to set in on the boundary. The race to 50 was on which Skinner just edged as Weybridge’s change bowlers offered little threat. Game over by 5.30pm in the 18th over leaving lots of celebration time – Skinner 50* and Woodgate 46*.

As the team tucked in to a few jugs they were joined by the victorious 4th team to cheer on the 2nd team in a nail biter on the next pitch. The weekend’s results saw Dulwich move up to 2nd place but still more than a win behind the seemingly rampant Wimbledon 3s. We can only win our games and so the team moves on to the long trip to Ashtead hoping to keep up the pressure in what continues to be an excellent season with 8 wins out of 11.

Thanks as ever to Chris Reardon for umpiring and JL for scoring.

Sat 9th July – 3rd XI v Sunbury

DULWICH 137-5 (28.4) beat SUNBURY 136 (42) by 5 wickets

Scorecard

The 3rd XI got back to winning ways with a comfortable 5-wicket victory at Sunbury through a good all-round performance. After last week’s mauling at the hands of Wimbledon a win was vital to keep the team in the mix for the title. Welcoming youngsters Sam Ellison and Rordon Daws the team headed to a sunny, but breezy, Sunbury in determined mood.

Skipper Graeme Hough’s fortune at the toss continued as he won his 8th out of 9 tosses and inserted Sunbury to bat. Although generally a good batting track with a quick outfield, early assistance for seamers Jeremy Jones and Sam Ellison was offered and they both quickly settled in to a good rhythm. A first over drop in the slips was soon forgotten as both grabbed early wickets – Ellison struck first through an excellent catch from Daws diving forward at point; and Jones first enticed a caught behind and then hit the poles of Sunbury’s confident looking number 3.

After a number of close calls, play and misses, lobbed up balls dropping in to gaps, etc, Sunbury began to edge the score forward. Rordon Daws showed promise, if a little rusty, and skipper Hough was having a rare off day as he also struggled for consistency but did manage to capture the 4th wicket. Matt Balch was introduced and showed Hough how to bowl off spin. After his 4-for last week he is clearly on a roll with the ball as he captured three vital middle order wickets. It would be remiss not to mention that one was caught off a full toss and another off a long hop skied to mid-on but it does not say that in the book!

With 7 wickets down for less than 100 it was vital that things were wrapped up quickly. Skipper Hough finally gave up after probably keeping himself on too long, and re-introduced Ellison who quickly wrapped things up bowling full and straight. The last three wickets were all bowled including a memorable last wicket which broke no 11’s middle stump clean in two – a nice memento for Sam and a hat trick ball next up. It is always good to see youngsters performing well and Ellison’s 4 for 15 off 11 overs was just reward for excellent control and skill. Balch ended with 3 for 30 and Jones 2 for 29 to complete a pretty good bowling display.

After the usual good quality Sunbury tea the two Guys – Woodgate and Skinner – strode out to open the batting for Dulwich. It was clear from the off that Sunbury were keen to get in Dulwich’s faces as the noise level was ramped up. This only increased as Woodgate teased the fielders first ball by lobbing up an attempted pull shot, only to be dropped by the bowler. Skinner was first to go, caught in the slips fishing once again outside off stump. Enter Andrew Inglis who likes nothing more than a battle with the opposition. Sunbury perhaps should learn that if you are going to give it, at least choose the right person, and back it up with your own performances rather than 136 all out. Inglis is certainly not the right man and he proceeded to return the chat in good style, whilst at the same time unleashing a flurry of boundaries off  Sunbury’s opener Plaha in particular. Four superb boundaries in one over from Inglis was greeted with a sarcastic round of applause from Plaha – very strange indeed especially as the score was rocketing along, aided and abetted by a constant stream of no balls from all of Sunbury’s bowlers.

At the other end Woodgate was accumulating steadily but he eventually fell for 20. Euan Johnson entered the fray at no. 4 and was greeted by the same Sunbury welcoming party. This soon quietened, however, as Johnson took the aerial route and blasted a quick 30 to take Dulwich close to victory – welcome runs with Johnson showing glimpses of the form he is capable of. What should have been a comfortable 7 or 8 wicket victory became something a bit more tense as Johnson, Inglis and Ellison departed in fairly quick succession. But with 10 to win Balch and Imran Iqbal-Mian saw things home in the 29th over.

A comfortable victory in the end with cricket the winner over inane, ill-directed and pointless chat. With all the top 4 teams winning it is as you were at the top with Dulwich remaining in 3rd place. Wimbledon are 25 points ahead after last week’s win over Dulwich but all is certainly not lost. The team take on Weybridge next week at DSG looking to continue to apply the pressure.

Sat 2nd July – 3rd XI v Wimbledon

DULWICH 158-10 (42.5) lost to WIMBLEDON 267-7 (45.5) by 109 runs

Scorecard

The 3rd XI got a thorough reality check at DSG on Saturday as they were comprehensively beaten and outplayed by a strong Wimbledon side.  Whilst Dulwich had a rare off day all credit to Wimbledon who took the game to Dulwich from the off and did not take their foot off the gas all day.  However, heads should not be down too much as this represented the 3rd XI’s first defeat of the season at the halfway point.  Sometimes it is just not your day.

With showers forecast skipper Graeme Hough once again won the toss and invited Wimbledon to bat.  The first ominous sign came immediately as Jeremy Jones’s first ball was a perfectly reasonable one, but which was effortlessly clipped through midwicket for four by Wimbledon’s skipper Eddison.  With Ian Toppin operating at the other end to Jones they troubled the Wimbledon openers occasionally but anything loose was routinely dispatched to the boundary.  With the 50 brought up at around 5 an over it was clear it might be a long day in the field.  Toppin eventually bowled one of the openers, but this did not stop the runs flowing.

Skipper Hough replaced Jones and was soon swept for four and summarily dispatched for six over long off.  Ben Lester replaced Toppin and his first ball was a juicy full shot, which Eddison hit straight to deep square leg for a welcome, if fortuitous, wicket.  In the course of his innings, Eddison passed 500 runs for the season which is a monumental effort and not a surprise as he played many pleasing shots all around the wicket.

It should not go without passing at this point that, however well Wimbledon had played in the early stages, Dulwich did not help themselves by shelling numerous catches.  A clear area for improvement and one of those things that seemed to become contagious, and certainly does not help the bowlers or general spirit and morale.

The rest of Wimbledon’s innings continued in the same vein with the run rate increasing to six an over.  Although Hough eventually exerted a small degree of control (in relative terms) runs were coming freely at both ends as the bowling changes became more frequent.  Only the introduction of Matt Balch (too late with hindsight) put the brakes on, as well as making the scoreboard look more respectable as he bagged four wickets at less than four runs an over – exceptional in the circumstances.  But continued hard hitting, errant bowling, average at best fielding saw Wimbledon able to declare after 45 overs with a mammoth 267 on the board with three batsmen making 50s – all at a run a ball.

With 55 overs to bat, a small boundary in places, this was a gettable score and Dulwich’s batsmen seemed up for the challenge at tea.  What was needed was a good start that would enable a push later with wickets in hand.  That grand plan soon went out of the window as Dulwich were fairly quickly reduced to 27 for 3 with the two Guys  (Woodgate and Skinner) plus Balch all departing to a mixture of good bowling and less good shots.  Thoughts of victory were diminishing fast but Andrew Inglis (35) and Euan Johnson (21) dug in and began to score more freely taking the score to 75 for 3.  At which point Johnson saw a quick single…..to short midwicket….and the inevitable run out followed.

Wickets then fell at a regular rate though Bailey (32*) and Jones (19) added some respectability against more easy pickings from some of Wimbledon’s change bowlers.  But the inevitable happened and the return of Wimbledon’s quicker bowlers soon brought the innings to a close at 158 all out in the 43rd over.  So no big scores in the batting, good bowling from Wimbledon and indifferent shots all led to a comprehensive down to earth defeat.

With 6 wins out of 9, one defeat and a drop to 3rd place it is vital that the team re-groups for the matches ahead.  You do not become bad players or a bad team overnight and the measure of a good team is how you respond to setbacks like this.  With Reigate improving to 2nd spot and with Spencer on our heels, Dulwich are one of four teams well clear of the rest and the winners will come out of this group.  As the lowest ranked team in the league by some way, to be mixing with these teams at the top is a credit to the players and the strength at this level in the Club.  It is vital, however, that the second half of the season does not just drift into anonymity.

Onwards, and hopefully upwards, to Sunbury next Saturday,

Sat 25th June – 3rd XI v Old Rutlishians

DULWICH 233-3 dec (48.1) match abandoned vs OLD RUTLISHIANS

Scorecard

After a welcome return to home turf the 3rd XI suffered a setback with biblical rainfall at tea scuppering any chance of returning to play after posting a challenging total in some style.

First things first. Huge credit has to go to all the team at DSG for getting the pitch and ground in such a fit state for play after the epic midweek rain – the players are all grateful and it was shame all their hard work came to nothing. The team gathered in confident mood, well 10 of the 11 did as Euan Johnson had gone missing in action – well missing asleep to be more precise. After eventually arriving half an hour after the start he remained coy about his reasons but it turns out it was everyone’s fault but his own – the nightclub the previous night for staying open so late, his sister for not waking him up, etc. But, ever the mummy’s boy, he had found time to buy his mum some flowers – nice touch but he was placed very firmly in the captain’s doghouse!

Skipper Graeme Hough lost the toss for the first time this season and Old Ruts inserted Dulwich to bat. James Chudley and Guy Woodgate strode out to open and quickly got in to their stride against some wayward bowling. In no time 50 was on the board at close to five an over, at which point Chudley went fishing and was caught behind for 24. Enter Chris Stone, who the previous week had shown admirable defiance against a testing Reigate attack, found Old Ruts’ bowling more to his liking as he quickly got into his stride. Runs continued at a fair rate of knots until persistent rain forced a slight delay.

Six overs were lost so the need to crack on with things was imperative. The second wicket fell after the dreaded drinks break, Woodgate plum LBW for a well-crafted 46 – clear jug evasion territory which Guy bowed to later in the bar. But an excellent innings on his first appearance in the 3rd XI this season. Enter Andrew Inglis who kept the momentum going, whilst Stone continuedto punish some errant bowling with a string of boundaries and many other pleasing shots. The run rate increased but the dark clouds were looming, and with thunder and lightning in the background, things were not looking great. After a rather unseemly and unnecessary spat with the opposition, Inglis moved to his 50 – well 52 actually before apprentice scorer Chudley realised he had reached 50! Stone fell for an excellent 73 mistiming to give a simple catch, his second 50 in two weeks and great to see. Dan Peters entered the fray, to provide possibly the most argumentative batting partnership you could imagine with Inglis, and flayed a couple of boundaries – to the leg side of course! With Armageddon-type clouds approaching skipper Hough declared after 42.5 overs on 233 for 3 to leave 52 overs back.

Covers on, tea taken but the heavens opened and that was that. No chance of returning as parts of the outfield resembled a lake – the nearby moored boat almost began to float once again as it had midweek.

The team began a long stint at the bar and gave some boisterous support to the 2s who had managed to return to play for a 20-over bash which was pretty much in vain. Wimbledon looms next week for a top of the table clash with the hope for better weather and a full game.