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Sat 3rd June – 3rd XI v Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON 175 (44.2) beat DULWICH 125 (37.3) by 50 runs

Scorecard

Dulwich 3rd XI travelled to top of the table Wimbledon on Saturday full of confidence after three wins on the spin. Arrival at the ground this year indicated that there had been a significant change to the football-esque pitch prepared the year before. The beautifully mown outfield sparkled in the sunshine and the marquee erected in the corner may have confused some that this week was ‘yet another’ wedding rather than a cricket match.

Having quickly changed in the tent, the boys went out to the middle to find a pitch looking a bit green but generally true. Skipper Bailey, changed his mind about 4 times before dutifully losing the toss and being asked to field. Knighty, fresh from doing very little over the last few weeks, managed to convince Jez that he deserved the top end and started well. Bowling at a good pace he troubled both opening batsmen, with a few plays and missed as well as a number of inside edges from their skipper, Slater. The run-rate was good, however, as anything loose was punished.

Jez at the other end took a couple of overs to settle, but once he did managed to cause a few problems for Slater as the run rate began to be reigned in. Knighty finally found some luck to catch the edge of the right hander McArthur’s, only for Lester (in at first slip due to bending Bailey’s ear about how he had the most catches in the league) to shell the chance. Zaki immediately removed himself from second slip, to the delight of Marshall who proceeding to grass another chance off Knighty at second slip only a few balls later. The following over continued with more of the same, Jez this time the unlucky bowler as Lester was targeted again at first slip, only for the same result to occur. Euan therefore was brought into the firing line, due to having the best hands in the club, as the others were all dispensed of. He showed these great hands by shining the ball meticulously for the entire innings and wishing he was fielding at cover.

With no luck for the opening pair, debutant Loz Taylor was thrown the balls and was immediately into his stride. His first wicket was a bit of the gift as MacArthur mistimed a full toss back to the bowler for 52 in the 23rd over. Wimbledon quickly tried to rush the the drinks out, only to be sent back by the Dulwich team who sensed there was an opportunity to nip out the nervous looking number 3. And right they were as Loz angled through the gate of the picture perfect defensive and removed the leg pole.

Looking to put the squeeze on after drinks saw Abu brought into the attack, but it was Loz who was in the action again straight away. Fuming that a toe crusher in front of middle stump was given the shake of the head by the umpire he managed to get his man courtesy of magnificent catch at mid-wicket. Jones at full length managed to hang onto the ball that was timed to perfection by Anand, and would certainly have been given the chorus of “shooooottttt” in the nets.

Dulwich really had their tails up now and things were only going to get better a couple of overs later. Cooper pushed the third ball of the over to the left of Lester at cover and sheepishly called for the single. Broken, but keen to make up for earlier mistakes, Lester swooped in and fired into the gloves to run out Slater for 62. Two balls later, new batsman Roodt (number 3 of 4 left handers) left a straight one from Abu around the wicket, before playing a shot a minute after it hit the pad. Stingray saw right through the attempted deception sent him on his way LBW. Sixth ball of the over, same delivery, and same result, this time with an attempt to actually play the ball!

It got even better for the Doggies 2 overs later when a thin edge from Cooper, still mulling over the run-out of his skipper, went through to Bailey. 104-0 had become 142-7 in the blink of an eye.

The chaos began to calm as numbers 8 and 9 dug in, even playing the odd leave, which those who have played with Dulwich long enough know is frowned upon by the Wimbledon masses. Thankfully Loz, starting to tire, got one to shape away to take the edge of Hetherton’ bat, through to the gleeful Bailey behind the stumps.

Whipple unfurled the shot of the day, lofting Abu (4-37 off 11) effortlessly down the ground for a maximum, before Abu managed to entice the number 10 to try the same, only to be caught at mid-on. Loz was pulled from the attack, with fantastic figures of 4-40 off 11 on 3rd XI debut, and replaced by the ‘fresh’ legs of Knightsbridge, who finally got into the wicket column thanks to an excellent catch by Ismail full length at short cover. All out for 175 was an excellent comeback, but left the team wondering what might have been if the two openers hadn’t been given as many lives.

It’s safe to say the rest of the match didn’t go to plan. New opening pair Zaki and Ismail strode out to bat looking to get us off to a good start, but Zaki was trapped LBW to an inswinger lbw from the left armer Roodt. Euan soon followed after a few nice shots, caught behind to one that moved away from the same bowler. Johnny Stone played all round a straight one that he’ll want to forget and suddenly we were 38-3. Ismail was looking solid at the other end however, and in tandem with an expansive looking Marshall they begun to get the scoreboard ticking over at a decent rate. However just when they were looking on top Ismail fell to a good delivery just kissing the top of off, and Wimbledon sensed blood.

Marshall was beginning to be tied down by Roodt, angling the ball across him. There were a few plays and misses, with Marshall just trying to lay a bat on him, but when he did, he could only find first slip who made no mistake. At 83-5 Bailey and Lester attempted, and failed, to dig in, both being sent back in quick succession, followed not too long after by Abu.

When Jez and Knighty ended up next to each other at the bowlers end, to complete a simple run out, the game was as good as gone. Euan was at the vets getting his booster injection, Marshall was already on his fourth piece of chocolate cake and Loz was reminiscing his 30-odd once a few years ago. Unfortunately he couldn’t replicate this on the day and we were bowled out for 125.

A poor batting performance letting the side down this week, but a great effort in the field to give ourselves a chance. Spencer visit DSG next week, so we will need to be on our game to defeat the reigning champions.

Sat 27th May – 3rd XI v Normandy

NORMANDY 92 (15.4) lost to DULWICH 94-1 (15.4) by 9 wickets

Scorecard

Dulwich 3rd XI welcomed bottom-of-the-table Normandy to the DSG on Saturday, with a win crucial to keep Dulwich in touch with the top of the table in advance of games against the top two and last year's champions Spencer in the next three weeks.

Some deep research by Sunil on Friday evening had unearthed the opposition's desire to bat first, get knocked over cheaply and get back home in time for some tarte tatin and a game of Petanque on Omaha beach. Jeremy Jones, skippering his first cricket match since he took his GCSEs, thus resolved to have a bowl on a typically hard, greenish DSG wicket that promised a bit for the bowlers first up. In the event Normandy captain Michael Collins, enjoying a well-earned retirement in France after previously captaining the Irish to independence from His Majesty George V's government, duly won the toss and chose to bat.

So Dulwich took to the field looking to get stuck in quickly with some early wickets, Stingray's gentle (verbal) prodding ensuring Captain Jones remembered both bails and a ball. A sturdy wind promised to make bowling from the top end tougher than overcooked frogs legs, so Jones opted to have Sunil join him with the new ball into the breeze, resting Knightbridge's legs for an assault on the middle order later on. A tight start brought the wickets of Rosser and Job in successive balls for Sunil, shortly followed by Jones strangling Scott down the leg side (shortly after Zaki had made an early bid for drop of the day by shelling a regulation catch at first slip). Three wickets down it was time to change the angle and bring on 3rd eleven debutant Lloyd Edwards' left arm seam down-wind, and Grevious Bodily Harm's Zaki's probing seam up-wind. There followed 20 overs of Dulwich dominance, Edwards bowling superbly for figures of 3-25 off his 10 (although against proper batsmen he could have had 7), and Zaki nabbing 3-18 of his 10 (which could have been 4 if Knightbridge, resting his legs for an assault on the tail standing at second slip, had catching skills equal to his reaction time – next week Knighty will take a slip catch, you heard it here first).

By this time drinks had come and gone and Normandy languished at 59-8. Jones looked askance at Knightbridge, but reluctantly agreed to rest his legs for an assault on Wimbledon next week. Thus Abu's off spin entered the game; flight, guile and a quicker ball requiring first slip to back up the keeper ensuring Normany remained camped on the metaphorical back foot. Jones then made his own bid for drop of the day off Abu at point by mistaking a cricket ball for a rugby ball, shelling it between his elbows while diving moderately forwards. With Zaki bowled out and Normandy 9 down it was Johnson's turn to trundle into the wind, picking up the final wicket after some tidy length bowling. It should be noted at this point that wicket keeper Darren Cason, despite catching the first four wickets, somehow managed to avoid a jug through mechanisms unknown, almost certainly involving luck, probably involving voodoo dolls and possibly invoking the dark arts and the sacrifice of a sacred chicken.

Normany bowled out then for 92, a target that should present a strong Dulwich batting line up with few problems. And thus it proved, with Chudley and Kassam punishing anything off line or short of length from both opening bowlers. Normandy had a look at spin first change, with much the same result: Kassam dispatching Singh's first three balls backward of square for three boundaries, before falling LBW missing an attempt to lap sweep a full toss and having the ball hit his forearm in front of middle and leg. This brought Zaki to the crease to join the Dulwich Chuddler, and the two of them continued to accelerate to the finish (albeit with a regulation drop of Chudley at first slip), with Chudders bringing up a fine 50 with the winning boundary.

A good, clean and well-executed win for Dulwich, which allowed everyone to get home early and earn a decent amount brownie points with their better halves (and Chudley postponing his jug until another time, mark it down please editor). A win which should leave everyone feeling confident as we move into the timed games next week.

Sat 20th May – 3rd XI v Malden Wanderers

MALDEN WANDERERS 114 (40.4) lost to DULWICH 186-7 (44) by 72 runs

Scorecard

This week the 3rd XI were hosting Malden Wanderers at the Arctic Tundra Turney Road.

Ben Lester was skippering his first League game. The oppo were late and arrived at 12.50 pm. After having a very quick inspection of a slightly damp wicket, Ben duly lost the toss and we were batting.

Fashionably late is one thing, but turning up at 1.10pm because you cannot find the keys to you fluffy handcuffs, Knightbridge, is not an excuse!

Chudders and Faizal opened, and Chudders was looking to kick on from last week. Malden opened up with leg spin from one end and seam from the other. Faizal had obviously been practicing hard all week in front of a mirror, and looked well set from the off. Sadly Chudders played round one and got bowled by a good young leg spinner for nothing. Enter Zaki who, from the get go, quickly tucked into the bowling. At one point Zak was playing a game within a game and was clearly enjoying hitting a lovely 9 iron over long-on. We quickly accelerated to 120 odd before Faizail (44) was caught. Zaki fell for a well-played and cavalier 58 and five & six were quickly despatched by the oppo.

Ben Lester and Matt Balch put on a valuable 30 odd before Ben fell for a well fought 13. Balchy ended the innings on 52 not out.

With a rain affected game, Dulwich finished on a respectable 186 for 7 of 44 overs.

After enjoying a wonderful tea provided by John & Jackie Howard we were all set to grace the field again, in much warmer and sunnier conditions!

There was a little bit of handbags as you would expect from Knightbridge and Jez as to who was bowling into the wind. Sunil was quick to point out that, coming from Wellington NZ, this was nothing and took up the into-the-win task. He bowled beautifully picking up figures of 10 overs 2 wickets for 26 runs removing the promising young MWCC openers wickets.

Jezza bowling down wind was hitting some serious wheels and clearly enjoying good bounce and carry with 6 overs for 17 runs.

Knightbridge, clearly disgruntled at not having the new cherry, adopted a quick leg theory of bowling, which was genuinely quick and dangerous for 3rd XI cricket and scared the oppo and slip cordon alike. After managing a meaty 5 overs he was knackered again. David had to be rested at slip as a spectator for the rest of the game, dreaming of one day finally getting a girlfriend.

Zaki & Abu returning from a two year lay off bowled in tandem quite beautifully – Abu with with strong figures of 9 overs four wickets for 24 runs. Zaki picked up three wickets.

One final mention was Darren Carson, who Kept wicket superbly on 3rd XI debut and how he dealt with Abu’s arm ball deserves a special note.

Malden Wanderers were bowled out for 114 of 40.4 overs, for all you stato’s out there.

Sat 13th May – 3rd XI v Ashtead

ASHTEAD 137 (38.5) lost to DULWICH 139-2 (25.3) by 8 wickets

Scorecard

Hello, my name is David, and this is my story.

I awoke late Saturday morning. Vague memories of a particularly wild Friday night came flooding back as I tried to open my eyes, where had I been? Who knew. The mud on my shoes and knees of my jeans gave a few clues, but they were only clues.

‘Cricket!’ I suddenly thought to myself, as I raced around my mansion block apartment skidding across the mahogany floors as I desperately tried to pack my kit for the day. Whites – check, boots – check, hair straighteners – check, I was good to go! I threw my bag in the back of the Audi TT, put the top down, and raced around to the home of cricket, Dulwich Sports Ground. I was aware I was a few minutes late and in for a tough time from some of the more mischievous lads, but I didn’t mind.

A few snide comments from Hopey greeted me as I joined the group mid warm up. "Hi lads" I said, but me being late clearly created an early divide. John Morris, or Animal as he’s affectionately known, came over to offer a big olive branch. "Don’t worry Knighty" John said in his fading northern accent, "Stick close to me, and you’ll be just fine."

After a quick hard toss Captain Bails informed us we were bowling. "Great! If I take some early wickets, the lads might forgive me for being late," I thought to myself. After the team talk I changed into my whites, applied a quick touch up of hair product and with one final spray of Davidoff, Cool Water. I was good to go. Bails informed me I was opening the bowling, "Come on Knightbridge," I thought to myself.

Jezza and I opened the bowling and, although we found it tough to settle into an early rhythm (not something I usually struggle with), I dug deep. Ball after ball, yard after yard I kept going, I was tired but hey - that’s super fast bowling for you. I showed good pace, but we failed to get an early breakthrough as the Ashtead openers looked well set. I was done in, knackered. "This must be what Mo Farah feels like at the end of a marathon," I thought to myself and, after a mighty four overs, Bails brought me off.

A double bowling change worked, Chudders bowled brilliantly from the top end, taking two wickets in two balls, and Hopey bowled number 4. A few dropped catches cost a few extra runs, but another double bowling change brought Gokhul into the mix and Toby Lester’s brother, Ben. The spin twins showed no mercy to the batsmen. "Wow, I’m impressed," I thought to myself. Four wickets for Toby’s brother (who had also taken an outstanding catch earlier) and a three for Gokhul brought the innings to a close and were chasing 137.

We ate tea quickly, focusing on the job at hand. Morris said he’d brought his own picnic with him and there was enough for two but I didn’t want to sit in his car away from the lads. After a quick team talk from Captain Bails, Faz and Chudders were out in the middle. Faz went early. "Oh no," I thought to myself. Chudders however went about constructing a fine innings, punishing anything short and, once Assad was removed, was joined by Chris Marshall. The pair regularly hit boundaries and the game never looked in any doubt, both looking a class above. I watched intently from the side as they both went to 50. No doubt Chudds was the real hero of the day, two wickets and 68* to see us home, even battling a migraine during his innings.

"A win!" I thought to myself. After a quick spruce up, we were over to the bar to join the victorious 2nd XI. One Daiquiri and I had to be away to a friend’s birthday down in Vauxhall. "Pack your swimmers," he’d said, not sure why… but I knew I was in for a big one.

So until next week, cricket fans, this is yours - David Knightbridge. The 3rd XI season is well underway, bring on next week.

Sat 6th May – 3rd XI v Reigate Priory

REIGATE PRIORY 164-7 (37.3) beat DULWICH 163 (45.4) by 3 wickets

Scorecard

The first league game of the season started at last years top of the table rivals, Reigate away. It should have been a wonderful honour to write this report, as last year at the same ground, almighty groans could be heard throughout Surrey as Dulwich patted back the majority of the game to secure a draw. The Reigate match report that day was titled “The Death of Cricket”, it would have been great to have written something similarly witty in response. Alas Dulwich 3rds lost this time round, and that’s not the best foundation on which to brag. 

The chat on the train to the ground was that the pitch away at Reigate 3s can vary massively. Some had played on roads here, some of the Northerners in the team felt it was sometimes similar to an early April pitch that they’re used to back home. As we turned up though, it was clear to see the pitch was a cracker, hard, even and promising lots of runs. 

Andy Bailey took on where his predecessor had left off, by winning the toss, and electing to bat. 
Sadly, the response from the Dulwich top order did not reflect the state of the pitch, due to some extremely tight bowling from Reigate’s openers. 

To begin with, two league debutants for Dulwich opened the season's batting account and looked to be progressing nicely. Ross Ewing and Faizal Kassam scoring early boundaries when the opportunities presented themselves. The deadlock was undone as Ross missed a good one from Briggs clipping the top of off. This brought John Morris to the crease, just as Briggs was getting into his groove, slanting the ball down the considerable slope. 

Morris was trapped in front without scoring, and when Faizal clipped a ball into a leg side trap at mid wicket, the team were in trouble. New parent Inglis who has had more practice with nappies than he has with the bat followed quickly after to leave Dulwich 28/4. 

Stepping to the crease, new skipper Andy Bailey, to join the Aussie pro and Chief Intensity Officer, Matt Balch. The situation was ripe for both batsmen, and Bailey started making up for the awful shout of batting first on a 28/4 pitch. 
They soaked up the pressure as Briggs bowled out his ten, and then looked to push on. The gritty Bailey knew which shots to play at which time, and Balch played some sensual drives and pulls to the fence. He even pulled the trigger on a lofted cover drive, yes, LOFTED! 

The most memorable of Balch's innings however was a stunning on drive from the left arm seamer that seemed to accelerate as it split mid on and mid off, reminding everyone why they’d missed cricket so much over the winter. This was not be the only thing the Sydney star would smoke today, as later he revealed he liked a cheeky toke on a fag at cricket. We apologise if this is news to the new Mrs Balch. 

The pair pushed on and registered a very much needed 100 partnership. 

However, the acceleration to the 50 over mark was a little premature, as Balch miscued a pull to the keeper, Lester nicked off for 1, and Bailey followed shortly after which tarnished the recovery somewhat. The 50 overs were not batted out as the top order and the tail could not provide "Benson & Hedges" Balch (51) and "Bollocks to Buying a Jug" Bailey (49) with the support they needed. Nonetheless, 165 had been posted which was something to bowl at. 

Tea was taken to the already rather grating dulcet tone of David Knightbridge trying to upset as many of his own team as possible. 

He turned his attention away from below par chat to opening the bowling, and to be fair to the Inferno’s regular, he bowled with controlled aggression, perfect for a flat deck. 

It was his new ball partner who opened Dulwich’s wicket taking season though, with a wicket we’re likely to see repeated many times this summer. Like Jeremy Corbyn, Jeremy Jones swung to the left, finding the all too eager outside edge of the opener, sailing through into the grateful Bailey’s gloves. 

A couple of overs of tight bowling and pressure building led to an interesting passage of play. Two rash shots either side of some “run out at the non-strikers’ end” luck saw Knightbridge involved in three quick wickets for the Doggies. A short and wide one was spooned to Lester at point followed by someone going for one too many swipes (an expression Tinder Knightbridge knows all too well) and being bowled. 

Jez carried on his campaign making a mess of the left hander's stumps with yet more swing. 5 down and the game was on. 

However, things slowed down in the period before drinks as both teams wrestled for the upper hand. 

At the half way point overs wise, Reigate were at roughly half the runs, but with half their batsmen in the hutch. Their hopes appeared to hang on their talisman Briggs who had earlier taken 3 wickets. 

Straight away after drinks, Joe Day picked up a wicket at the other end to Briggs as a catch was given to Knightbridge at short cover. Briggs was still there though and he didn’t disappoint. He, like Bailey and Balch before him seemed to choose the perfect situations to attack and defend, his balls stay hit slightly longer than Balch and Bailey though. 

Dulwich had chances to remove Briggs, newbie Gokhul bowled impressively to him with little luck, but the Reigate man passed fifty with a top knock. 

The target loomed, but there was to be a late twist, some lovely field placing from Bailey saw Briggs drive Day in the air to deep extra cover, as Faisal held on to an important catch. 

With plenty of overs to go, Dulwich’s only chance was to take the remaining 3 wickets. On another day, some chances many have gone our way and seen us victorious, but Reigate got home as Burgess flayed just wide of mid on to hit the winning runs.

There were plenty of positives to take from the game however, and we look on to next week where Ashtead come to the DSG.

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