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Sat 3rd Sep – 3rd XI v Spencer

DULWICH 252-9 (50) v SPENCER 106-6 (19.5) – match abandoned (rain)

Scorecard

Saturday 3rd XI vs. Spencer – Dulwich (252 – 9 off 50 overs) vs. Spencer (106 -6 off 19.5 overs) – match abandoned

The 3rd XI’s season ended with a damp squib….literally….as their match was abandoned at DSG one ball short of a result which would have given champions Spencer an undeserved victory. The quirks of the rules at this level meant Spencer would have won on straight run rate after one more ball. Maybe Spencer’s umpire did not realise this, maybe he was feeling charitable but he deemed conditions too wet and dangerous as the heavens opened as forecast. But it would have been a travesty for Dulwich who dominated pretty much from start to (early) finish.

With our 4th XI in a title clash at Spencer the team took on an unfamiliar look with just a handful of 3rd XI regulars, with the remainder players who have played most of their cricket this season in the 5th or 6th XIs. Even more credit is due, therefore, as they did not look out of place and it goes to show the strength in depth of the Club at this level. Two special mentions to start with:

  1. Giles Constantine – a 4th and 5th XI regular for the last few seasons played his last match for Dulwich before setting off on a round the world trip and then returning to settle in York. One of club cricket’s good guys, a wholehearted cricketer who always tries (sometimes too hard), a bowler of some ability on his day and, according to him at least, a batsman of some quality though no one at Dulwich has ever really seen it!
  2. David Woods – simply a Dulwich legend who played his first Surrey Championship match of the 2016 season on Saturday at the ripe old age of ?? This meant he had played in the Surrey Championship every single season since its inception in 1968, a magnificent achievement and the only player to have done this.

On to the match. Skipper Graeme Hough won another toss and chose to bat, despite the forecast and in the hope it would be wrong. The antipodean quota was doubled with the presence of Sean Keaton and he strode out to open with John ‘birthday boy’ Morris. As the first ball was stroked effortlessly through the covers by Keaton to the boundary the signs were good. However, Sean was adjudged LBW in the second over – a decision he was not too pleased with it is fair to say. Matt Balch replaced him and quickly got in to his stride with some pleasing pull shots off some errant bowling. Meanwhile at the other end, Morris was laying the foundations with some circumspect batting. Runs flowed at 5 per over until Balch was out plumb LBW to league leading wicket taker Sindhu off his first ball.

Dan Edwards joined Morris, who by this time was fully in to his stride and began to dominate the bowlers. Some pleasing drives and good running were interspersed with some massive 6s and other well played boundaries. After playing second fiddle Edwards also began to unleash some powerful shots until he eventually fell for a well-played 42. Morris went on and on and eventually reached an excellent and well deserved century. The rest of the innings saw wickets tumble including Morris eventually for 113. Special mention to James Worley on his debut at this level who played a beautiful cover drive for 4 but was then caught behind attempting a reverse sweep – nothing like a bit of confidence! The innings eventually closed at 252 for 9 off 50 overs.

Early pressure and wickets were vital as Jeremy Jones and Giles Constantine opened up. Gilo was straight in to a good rhythm and snared a caught behind by Joe Moore, then induced a mistimed pull shot to the birthday boy Morris soon after. Jezza was feeling left out playing second fiddle to Gilo, but not for long. A good ball, a thick edge and an absolutely stunning low, one-handed diving catch by keeper Moore snared the 3rd wicket. Gilo was definitely wanting to finish on a high and earned the 4th wicket with a plumb LBW. After 12 overs Dulwich were well on top.

But the gloom descended and rain clouds hovered. As a steady drizzle came down the skipper changed the openers and got slow bowlers Balch and Woods on to try to get through to 20 overs and a result. Spencer thought likewise and sent in a couple of hitters to try to up the run rate and gain victory according to the perverse rules. This worked more for Spencer than Dulwich as bowlers struggled to grip the ball and the fielding standards dropped. Woods nibbled another couple out, but Sindhu for Spencer rode his luck and hit enough boundaries to just edge Spencer ahead on run rate. The umpire intervened, no chance of a return and a long evening in the bar for many followed, with a notable mention to the ‘birthday boy’ who cannot have remembered much the following day!

All in all, an excellent season for the 3rd XI eventually finishing 4th. But for two rained off games against the two relegated teams things could have been very different. For the lowest ranked team in the league (in terms of 1st and 2nd XIs) to stay in the title race all season was magnificent. Highlights were many but the two nail biting wins against Spencer and Ashtead and beating Wimbledon in a close one stand out. Plus many excellent individual performances from the 47 players used in the season. Not forgetting of course huge thanks and appreciation to Chris Reardon for his umpiring, to Jackie for the teas, and to John Howard and all the guys at DSG for their help and great wickets, ground and facilities.

Captain Graeme Hough has taken the decision to stand down and hand the reins over to someone younger and to focus more on his other roles in the Club. So it is thanks from me to all the players for making captaincy a real pleasure, and for the great friendships and team spirit on and off the field.

Sat 27th Aug – 3rd XI v Wimbledon

DULWICH 118 (45.4) beat WIMBLEDON 104 (47.1) by 14 runs

Scorecard

Although the 3rd XI’s own title chances had disappeared over the last couple of weeks, the destiny of the title still lay in Dulwich’s hands with the top two of Wimbledon and Spencer to play. Bit of a Hobson’s Choice here but the title was decided as Dulwich saw off Wimbledon in a tight encounter and Spencer won elsewhere to clinch the title.

The early start time of 12.00 did not deter an impressively on time crew assembling for the reasonably short hop over to Chessington. Good progress was made until the ground was neared. An impressive crowd looked as though it was on its way to the match as a tailback of a mile or two was encountered close to the ground but the Chessington World of Adventures signs were a bit of a giveaway.

Those who have played at Wimbledon’s second ground a few times know to expect a ‘sporting’ wicket. Although the wicket looked OK it turned out it had many demons. This, together with the long grass on the outfield, contributed to the low scoring though questionable batting and good bowling on both sides also played a part. Wimbledon won the toss, chose to field and Olly Steward and Guy Woodgate strode out to bat. Both looked reasonably comfortable, or as comfortable as you can be on a pitch where it could rear past your head off a length. Both took a couple of blows and progress was sedate which was not surprising as a 1 or 2 on this outfield was worth easily double on a normal outfield. It therefore came as a bit of a shock when Steward mistimed to mid-off.

Enter Guy Skinner to provide a pair of Guys at the wicket and provide ammunition to those who like the pun related to a famous, former Turkish footballer (Tugay for the uninitiated). Now having the same name does not mean you share the same wavelength so, after another period of calm batting, Skinner decided to call Woody for a run that was not there – a tad unnecessary.

To cut a long story short much of the rest of the innings followed a similar path- batsmen battling the pitch and some decent bowlers, not getting value for money for shots but fighting hard knowing every run will matter. So scraping in to double figures does not sound much but it was a fair achievement.

The first boundary came in the 22nd over (byes), with Matt Balch hitting the first one off the bat soon after from a crisp cover drive. James Chudley had perished the ball before drinks (aarrgghh !!) chipping one up Balch missed a straight one though he will give a different interpretation of the extent of movement on the ball; Rordon Daws also missed one and Be ‘pretty boy’ Lester popped a nasty lifter back to the bowler. Through much of this Rhys Williams, playing his first 3s league match, stood pretty firm and played some nice aerial shots until skying one to the keeper. At 81 for 9 things looked bleak as skipper Hough strode to the crease to join Chris Hope. Though a dodgy wicket and a ridiculously slow outfield a par score was a bit higher than this.

Talk between the two was trying to get to 100 and take it from there with 120 or 130 deemed a very good score. Numbers 9 and 11 showed those higher up how to do it and put together the biggest partnership of the match to take the score up to a competitive 118. Hope hit powerfully and went aerial a bit, and Hough provided good support until he holed out to deep square leg on the hook. Hope ended with an excellent 22 not out which turned out to be the highest score of the match.

Buoyed by the last wicket effort Dulwich took the field in positive mood but knowing that Wimbledon can easily take the game away from you. Hope and Rordon Daws opened up, with Wimbledon captain Eddison eager to add to his 800+ runs this season. A big swing at the first ball showed his intention, and caused Dulwich’s more vocal players to immediately ramp up the chat volume. Hope struck in the first over as Eddison’s opening partner fell first ball to a shot a no. 11 would have been embarrassed about. The dangerous Anand joined Eddison and played a couple of pleasing leg side shots before Daws made the crucial breakthrough trapping Eddison plumb in front, soon followed by Anand hitting a long hop straight to Balch at cover. Hope then followed up Daws’ crucial wickets with another lobbed up catch to Daws.

Hough rang the changes as Daws had reached his age group limit of overs and Hope was held back for later – but they had done the early damage that set Wimbledon back and Dulwich in the ascendancy. Now for the spinners to follow this up. Hough started well bowling tightly whilst Ben Lester offered more flight with a slope to utilise to his advantage (very unusually kind of you, skip!). Lester struck first with a flighted delivery beating the huge, injudicious heave of Wimbledon’s number 5. Meanwhile Hough was in a personal duel with no. 6 Oliver James who played a few nice shots whilst at the same time being bamboozled regularly. As the close fielders questioned his technique and ability to read deliveries, Hough just glared or smiled and eventually won trapping him plumb in front. Although Dulwich were on top at 6 down there was still much to do defending the small total. More spin was introduced with Matt Balch and Spencer Daws, on his debut. Balch bowled tidily (apart from a few wides) and snaffled another caught by Chudley at point. It could have been more but two caught and bowleds were put down – one probably regulation for Matt, the other a great effort.

At 7 down Wimbledon began to dig in and the score crept along to less than 30 to win with plenty of overs left. Hough returned to replace Spencer Daws who bowled well in his first appearance at this level. A series of probing deliveries and close calls ended with a rap on the pads right in front, umpire’s finger raised – 8 down and the end getting closer. Wimbledon’s no. 10 did not last long, again trapped plumb in front by Hough. Hope returned and with his first (long hop) ball the ball was blazed to cover where Woodgate held a good catch to seal victory by 14 runs in the 48th over. A great win, with Dulwich fighting hard with the bat and competing fiercely in the field with a fantastic team spirit. All credit with nothing riding on the game for Dulwich other than pride.

Thanks once again to Chris Reardon for umpiring. The final game next week is at home to Spencer with the title decided but the captain will ensure that whatever team takes the field goes out with the same attitude, fight and desire as shown here. Man of the match was Chris Hope for his performance with bat and ball, Rordon Daws second for helping to set up the win at the start and Rhys Williams for his battling innings.

Sat 13th Aug – 3rd XI v Reigate Priory

DULWICH 176-9 (50) tied with REIGATE PRIORY 176 (50)

Scorecard

The 3rd XI’s championship challenge was dented with a rare, but thrilling tie with Reigate at DSG which did neither team any good in terms of their league standing. Sitting in 3rd and 4th place before the game both teams remain there, but with the top two Spencer and Wimbledon both winning Dulwich are now more than one win behind. Although Dulwich have to play both these teams they both seem to be winning comfortably against the other teams they are playing in the bottom half. Hopes are slim but it is still too early to give up and it should be remembered that, whatever happens, this has been an excellent season.

The team gathered on time once again, the usual warm up undertaken (except the skipper who is too old for all that running around), whilst Reigate lounged in the sun on the grass. But that is their way and they always present strong opposition. Skipper Graeme Hough lost a rare toss and Reigate understandably chose to bat in what turned out to be a lovely summer’s day. Blue bails on in support of the Cricket United initiative, Chris Hope and Ian Toppin opened up the bowling. Both bowled OK but runs came freely from Reigate’s aggressive openers, Bukhari in particular, as it quickly became obvious the wicket was offering little assistance to the seamers. Having raced to 50 plus off the first 10 overs it looked like a long day in the field but Hope induced an aggressive shot too many from Bukhari and Toppin took a good catch at mid-off for the first wicket.

By this time JeremyJones had been promoted from last week’s third change bowler to first change to replace Toppin and a degree of control began to be exerted. This improved as Hough replaced Hope and the second wicket came when Morris caught the no. 3 off a well-disguised short of a length (long hop!!) delivery from Hough. Further wickets quickly came as Hough snared the other opener LBW and bowled Reigate’s no. 4. At 4 down, and the run rate quickly reducing to manageable proportions, things were looking a lot better. Ben ‘Milky’ Swanson replaced Jones and the spin twins (or should that be more like grandfather and grandson!) of Swanson and Hough turned the screw on a helpful, turning wicket. Swanson bowled with maturity and control with Toppin taking an excellent catch out of the sun at mid-off and two classical dismissals caught at slip by Oliver ‘sore hand’ Steward.  Swanson’s spell was topped off with snaring the dangerous Briggs LBW.

Having been looking at 250 plus at one point 60 for 0 had changed to 130 for 8. Swanson returned an excellent 4-32 off his 10 overs and Hough a miserly 3-18 off his. On a turning wicket the captain turned to Matt Balch’s off spin to replace himself and he quickly reeled off three overs for little whilst the seamers returned at the other end. However, Reigate’s youthful number 10 Tiley showed he is an avid watcher of 20:20 cricket as he mixed obdurate defence with more extravagant shots including a switch hit for 6 off Balch – annoying but most Dulwich players could not help raising a chuckle to themselves. The end eventually came as Toppin cleaned Tiley up attempting a ramp shot (!!) and Jones captured the final wicket. 176 all out was a good effort in the end considering the start, the only criticism being there was still too many wides (17).

Steward and Morris opened up and the former again looked in good nick with a couple of nice pull shots to the boundary. Third time unlucky, however, as the next one lobbed to mid-on. Balch joined Morris and began to grind things out against Reigate’s tight opening bowlers. The score edged to 50 or so at the 20 over point but things were in control, wickets in hand and the run rate more than manageable. Things can turn quickly in cricket though and Balch lobbed an easy return catch to spinner Tiley, Morris fell LBW and Guy Skinner hit a full toss to mid-on. 50 for 1 to 60-odd for 4 and the game had taken on a different complexion.

Although our own ‘Bearded Wonder’ Andy Cornick at no.4 was perturbed to see that Reigate’s captain, Brickley, had beaten him hands down in the facial hair competition he was not put off by this as AC and Andy Bailey at no.6 began repairing the damage. Both batted circumspectly but punished anything loose and nudged and nurdled the score along. 100 was well passed and the required run rate under control with wickets in hand. At around 130, however, AC missed a straight one for a well-crafted 42. Chris Hope joined Bailey and a few lusty blows took the score closer to the target, including an exquisite cover drive from Bailey amid the stoic defence. Hope tried one hit too many and skied one, then Jones did not last too long. Suddenly the game was back in the balance at 7 down with still 20 or so to win and the run rate creeping up. The captain joined the fray to bash a few runs but Bailey skied one and Hough followed soon after in similar fashion – a bit of panic from these experienced players.

The match came down to the final over – 6 to win with last pair Swanson and Toppin at the crease. A wide, some scampered singles resulted in two runs off the last ball to win. Toppers swung but hit straight to mid-on for a single – match tied. A good match that swung various ways throughout the day but Dulwich got themselves in a position to win at a few points. Some soft dismissals in the top order and injudicious shots from the lower order contrived to throw it away. But credit to Reigate for not giving up and bowling with discipline at the end to make it difficult.

It is vital that the team finish strong, as you never know what may happen and Dulwich will have a crucial say in who might win the league - though the choice is Wimbledon or Spencer…

Man of the match was Ben Swanson for an excellent spell of left arm spin bowling and thanks once again to umpire Chris Reardon.

Sat 6th Aug – 3rd XI v Malden Wanderers

DULWICH 242-2 (50) beat MALDEN WANDERERS 122 (40.2) by 120 runs

Scorecard

The 3rd XI’s championship challenge got back on track at DSG on Saturday with a comprehensive victory over mid-table Malden Wanderers as the format reverted back to the 50 over win/lose format. Victory was assured through a dominant batting performance, followed up by an efficient bowling display. The team was much changed once again with only four players surviving for various reasons from the previous week’s heavy defeat to Walton-on-Thames, and resembled much more of a 3rd team line up with a decent top 6 batting line up (well, top 5 plus Andy Bailey at 6) and an impressive array and variety of bowlers.

Skipper Graeme Hough once again won the toss (12 out of 13!) and chose to bat first on what looked like a decent DSG wicket, and in welcome sunshine. Chris Stone returned from his mini-tour of Europe and Oliver Steward from his poorly finger. Both set about setting the foundation and got things off to a rattling start at close to five an over against Malden’s seamers. Steward dominated the early proceedings playing some pleasing drives and clips off his legs, with Stone playing more of the anchor role. 50 was soon passed and the openers seen off. However, the introduction of left arm spinner Walters soon showed that the pitch was a bit of a ‘bunsen’.

Having looked comfortable on making his way to 44 Steward was then surprisingly stumped off Walters. As he trudged off muttering expletives the rest of the team were unsure whether this was aimed at himself or the decision – it turned out to be the former. Having racked up a number of TFCs in the 2nd team, and suffered immense pain for a few weeks with his sore finger, it was good to see him finding form albeit in August. Matt Balch, himself the holder of quite a few TFCs recently, joined Stone but immediately looked in fairly good nick. As his loud calling reverberated around Dulwich and its environs he continued to push the score along with Stone.

With Stone having rid himself of a bit of rustiness it was then a surprise to see him bowled for 31 playing back to Malden’s fairly impressive young leg spinner Morgan. The ‘Bearded Wonder’ Andy Cornick joined the fray at no. 4 with the score just past 100 close to the halfway point. The entrance of AC to the crease always brings a sigh to umpire Chris Reardon who knows he is going to be talked to death when AC is at the non-striker’s end – Andy likes nothing more than a chat with anyone in his vicinity. Both batted reasonably circumspectly to start with but were quick to punish anything loose. The spinners were eventually bowled out with the score continuing at around 4 runs per over. With plenty of eager batsmen waiting in the hutch a score well in excess of 200 was on.

On and on Balch and Cornick went, as poor no. 5 Jonny Stone’s pad rash began to set in. The last five overs saw a significant increase in tempo and the end came at a challenging 242 for 2 after 50 overs with Balch an excellent 84* and Cornick a more supporting, but still impressive, 47*.

As Dulwich took the field after tea, the 2nd team on the adjacent pitch were just walking off after walloping Beddington. The 3rd XI knew that the second half would be played in front of a welcome, but vociferous and increasingly boozy, crowd. Not quite the Western Terrace at Headingly but plenty of advice to bowlers, fielders and captain would be offered – why not, as the 2nd XI are such a talented array of cricketers who never, ever, ever make any mistakes….

Back to the game skipper Hough decided to relegate Jeremy Jones to one of the change bowlers as Chris Hape/Hope and Ian ‘Level 2’ Toppin opened up. No room for complacency and early wickets were the order of the day. Hopey/Hapey probed his usual miserly line and length whilst Level 2 took on the role of ‘destroyer-in-chief’. Bowling with some pace he castled one of Malden’s openers and induced a lobbed up catch off the other. This was quickly followed by a catch behind to keeper Andy Bailey, another one bowled whilst Hapey also got in on the act bowling another. At five down and less than 30 on board the game was as good as over. This could have been 6 down and a 5-for for Toppin but Steward had spilled one at slip after manfully offering to field there despite only just returning from one of the worst finger injuries in history…

With the damage done Toppin was given a rest and Ben Swanson introduced to provide some classical left arm spin. Swanson quickly settled in to a groove beating the bat with regularity. With Hape bowled out (1-23) the skipper came on for a twirl and also found prodigious turn and bounce. Malden’s middle order went in to cross bat mode and the ball on numerous occasions fell agonisingly in to gaps. But the end was nigh and it was just a matter of time as the run rate required by now was close to 8 an over. Hough got a wicket through a fine one handed catch from Balch and Swanson bowled another. Jeremy Jones – the best 3rd change bowler in the league – replaced Hough whilst Swanson rattled through to complete his 10 overs capturing another (2-32). Jones induced a catch to Hapey at mid-on off that most dangerous of balls, the full toss.

At 9 down and with Toppin re-introduced to replace Swanson it was just a matter of whether Toppers would complete his 5-for, or whether Jonesy would spoil the fun. In the end it was the latter as the final wicket fell to a simple catch at point by Chris Stone (no brotherly love in action here as younger brother Jonny was due to bowl the next over). Toppin ended with an excellent 4 for 34 and Jones 2 for 9.

So a comprehensive win and a good all round performance which sets the team up well for the final run in when all three of the other challengers are to be played, starting with Reigate at DSG next week. With a similar strength of team there is no reason why the season cannot be kept alive down to the wire.

Close call for man of the match between Balch and Toppin, but the former just edges it for his innings.

Sat 30th July – 3rd XI v Walton on Thames

DULWICH 68 (34.3) lost to WALTON ON THAMES 147 (53.2) by 79 runs

Scorecard

The 3rd XI’s championship challenge was seriously dented with a comprehensive defeat to Walton-on-Thames at DSG on Saturday. You generally get what you deserve so no complaints at all as Dulwich’s bowling was generally below par and the batting capitulated against a surprisingly strong and disciplined opposition seam attack. But all credit to Walton-on-Thames who it is hoped avoid relegation as they were a good bunch who played the game in the right spirit.

Whilst not intended as an excuse in any way the batting line up was seriously affected by non-availability throughout the Club and late changes. But thanks to all those who stepped up, particularly those at the last minute. No one performs below par on purpose – it was just one of those days.

Skipper Graeme Hough won the toss once again (11 out of 12!) and inserted Walton on what looked the usual, good DSG wicket – something in it for bowlers and batsmen. Jeremy Jones and Ian ‘Level 2’ Toppin opened the bowling. However both were wayward as the opposition raced to 30 off 4 overs through a combination of wides and four balls. With a spin dominated attack, Hough persevered rather reluctantly with the openers and was rewarded by Jones snaring Walton’s dangerous looking opener, caught behind by Peters. Level 2 also began to find some rhythm and the captain’s faith was rewarded soon after with two excellent catches at first slip by Julian Dean off a couple of beauties from Toppin.

Despite Jones’s wicket runs were still coming too easily so Hough brought himself in to the attack early to try to bring some calm to the proceedings. As the runs were dried up at one end, Toppin found an excellent rhythm at the other and Dulwich began to exert some ascendancy. Hough got an LBW and, on drinks, an over the top bit of acrobatics from Andrew Swain at short midwicket meant Walton were 5 down at the halfway point as Hough bagged another. Toppin’s marathon stint (2-36 off 13) was brought to an end soon after drinks – an excellent spell apart from his first three overs.

Ben Lester’s more flighty off spin was introduced but he struggled for consistency, as did James ‘The Pickler’ Pickles when he followed. Meanwhile Hough continued at one end having snared another LBW. Jez Jones was brought back as Walton’s 7th wicket partnership began to take Walton to respectability. Despite runs continuing Jones took wickets on a regular basis and ended with the team’s first 5-for of the season, ending with 5-47 off 11 overs representing an excellent comeback in his second spell.

Meanwhile skipper Hough had just bowled… and bowled… and then bowled some more at one end to get through 23 overs for 3 wickets, conceding just 20 runs and including 10 maidens. Without this control things may have been a lot worse than Walton’s eventual 147 all out in the 54th over.

With 47 overs to chase 148 the task was not a daunting one, on paper at least. But Walton’s excellent early control with the ball and keenness in the field quickly had Dulwich in trouble at 3 for 3 after 4 overs with JD, Zeeshan and Dan Peters having departed. Suddenly 148 seemed a mile away. Imran Iqbal-Mian and Jonny Stone began to repair the damage with some solid defence but Walton offered few balls to hit and the situation warranted circumspection.

Having frustrated Walton for a number of overs Jonny Stone eventually departed for a hard-fought and patient 16. Andrew Swain joined Imran to inch the score forward but fell shouldering arms to Walton’s incisive and accurate change bowlers. The end was getting close and neither Lester nor Pickles offered much resistance and Imran succumbed trying to push the score along after the drinks break. Only pride remained and the fact that the watching 2nd team wanted some entertainment. However, they got little even though captain Hough struck a few late blows but both Jones and Toppin fell to Walton’s flighty leg spinner to end the innings on a pretty feeble 68 all out in the 35th over.

This loss – only the second of the season it should be stressed – pushed Dulwich back to the 3rd place with 5 matches left. There is time to repair the damage but better availability in the Club and performances by the team are required.

Thanks to Chris Reardon for umpiring at both ends once again and to John Lawrence for scoring.