DULWICH 144-1 (29.3) beat OLD RUTLISHIANS 140 (46.1) by 9 wickets
Skipper Hough won the toss and, with one eye on the weather, elected to field first on a wicket that looked like it would offer a bit with the new ball. Jones opened up from the 'pavilion' end, and Swain from the tennis court end. Swain, fresh from not bowling for a couple of years, fired down a couple of half pace Harmison-esque deliveries towards 2nd slip in his first over before settling down into an excellent rhythm to tie the two young Old Ruts openers down. Jones struck first with the wicket of the day, a good length away-swinger pinging back the top of off-stick, to reduce the hosts for 16-1. This quickly became 33-2 as the number three chipped Jones (2-25 from 9) to Hollows at mid-off; the Doggies were on top. Hollows was introduced to the attack, bamboozling the number four with a leggy, followed by a toppy that would have had Boycott purring as it kissed the top of off.
Enter the main man to the stage, who quickly decided the best way to deal with the spinning ball was to try and break the hand of the man who bowled it. He hammered a full ball back at the bowler who could only deflect it, and what was left of his fingers, for 4 through wide mid-on – still a drop's a drop and his no show in the bar later means a double fine is due next week. Whilst this chap was in, there was never a dull moment with some good shots interspersed with a few ugly heaves and some interesting calling. Swain (1-32 from 9) at the other end deservedly got into the wickets column with a loopy caught and bowled (that actually carried – see below). Old Ruts recovered to 78-4 before the big fella tried to clear Peters at long off, who gleefully accepted the flat catch, the ball before drinks.
Callaghan replaced Swain and quickly settled into a rhythm in tandem with evergreen skipper Hough as Dulwich applied the squeeze. Callaghan (1-18 from 8) pushed one through a little quicker that surprised the solid looking number six as he top-edged into his lid with Bailey running round to take what many witnesses believe was the best catch they have ever seen (based on a survey of one). Hough had the opposing skipper caught by the diving Tulsiani (genuinely!) – the first of three catches for big fella - at cover before pinning the next man LBW. Promising young leggie Daniel 'I would never dare drop a catch off my own bowling' Peters was introduced into the attack and gave nothing away (0-6 from 4). He thought he had grabbed his first Dulwich league wicket via a cheeky caught & bowled, only to find out the one-hand one bounce rule doesn't apply in the Surrey Championship. Thankfully a regulation nick (top edged heave via the keepers grille) to slip gave Hough (3-22 from 9) his third wicket and an early tea looked on the cards. However the young numbers nine and 11 showed great application in a last wicket stand of 20, before a returning Hollows (3-37 from 7) had ended the innings for 140, via another catch to Tulsiani, this time at mid-wicket.
After a pretty good tea in the rain, and a "heads on" pep talk from the skipper, the experienced Dulwich campaigners Tulsiani and Cornick strode out to bat. After a couple of early half chances the two settled down, punishing the bad balls and progressing the score at a healthy rate with a number of
quick singles to the men in the ring big biffs to the boundary. Meanwhile on the edge of the field Swain, obviously pleased with his earlier bowling performance, went to lengths to explain how he pinned Headingley hero Jonny Bairstow lbw when he was about ten with some raw pace. Thankfully a large Tulsiani six over long on ended the conversation/fairytale early, and Jones ensured the new cherry was wet through by throwing it over the fielders head into the long grass. Further errant village throws from Peters and Morris only further embarrassed the skipper, who retired to chain smoke under the cover of the changing hut roof.
Peters handed over scoring duties to Jones, who was so perplexed by having to add balls faced by the batsmen that we only got round to cheering Raj's 50 when he was on 55. Stingray by this point was pulling his hair out as Cornick, often at the non-strikers end with Tulsiani very adept at counting to six, talked his ear off all innings. When Cornick departed, clipping the young Old Ruts seamer to square leg for a well made 39 off 59 balls, his delight at the peace and quiet mirrored Morris' annoyance at having to bat with only 6 to win. With new pup Henry Hazlewood scrabbling around for his pads Morris finished the game off quickly with a boundary. Tulsiani (90* off 109) was clearly the stand out performance of the day as he deservedly left the field to a standing ovation.
Another good win for the 3s, who host newly promoted Ashtead next Saturday in a confident mood.