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Sat 1st July – 4th XI v Streatham & Marlborough

DULWICH 127 (37) beat STREATHAM & MARLBOROUGH 122 (37.1) by 5 runs

Scorecard

On Saturday afternoon, Dulwich 4th XI welcomed Streatham and Marlborough to the DSG. It was understood that S&M had endured a difficult week with the news that a long serving clubman and father of two of the players at the club had sadly passed away. A minutes silence was held before the game and on behalf of Dulwich I would like to pass on our thoughts and condolences to S&M at what must be a challenging time.

Onto the cricket and stand in skipper Inglis lost the toss and was duly asked to make first use of the deck. With a strong batting line up this caused no worries to Dulwich which was backed up by an excellent start with the scoreboard rocketing to 32 for 0 off 4 overs, Durrani taking a particular liking to opening bowler Guest who went for 27 from his first two overs. However, revenge was soon served as after Choudrey was adjudged LBW to Harris, Guest finally found his line and length to not only induce a caught behind for Durrani (24) but also quickly picked up Marshall and Peters, both also caught behind to leave Dulwich at 32 for 4. It was great faith shown by the S&M skipper to leave Guest on and it paid dividends.

A rebuilding job was needed by Woodgate and Meade but unfortunately the S&M bowlers had really hit their straps, bowling excellent line and length on a wicket offering something for the bowlers. With the score just above 50, Meade drove to short cover where James took a wonderful reflex catch and shortly afterwards Inglis also nicked off after the ball popped viciously off a length and Dulwich were suddenly 61 for 6.

Mahoney joined Woodgate at the crease and the two were excellent foils for each other with Woodgate watchful whilst Mahoney counter punched. The score ticked just over 100 before Woodgate (33) was the 5th caught behind of the innings and a jug was due from the S&M keeper Lansdown. Some lusty blows by Mahoney (32) and good nudging from Woods lifted the Dulwich total to 127 before Scott-Coombs became the last man out, caught at mid-on.

At tea, the general feeling was that if the bowlers could hit a good line and length there was plenty on offer in the wicket and the score was perhaps not as below par as what was first thought. However, a quick look at Whatsapp showed that 4th team regular and club nutritionist Prassana had put a few quid down on an S&M win declaring Dulwich had no chance.

Rea and James opened for S&M facing Mahoney and Taylor. After 4 evenly matched overs, S&M found themselves at 24 without loss with a mixture of good shots and plays and misses. Rea in particular looked impressive whilst James struggled with the pace of both Mahoney and Taylor. In the end, Mahoney was too good for James who edged to slip where Woods took a sharp chance with some minor juggling and commentary before it was finally snaffled. Gray did not last long, being clean bowled by Taylor and suddenly S&M were 30 for 2.

Bartolo joined Rea, with Bartolo seeming more interested in providing commentary to the game than actually batting. With a partnership materialising, the first bowling change was made with Peters coming on for Mahoney. The change worked instantly, Bartolo looking to sweep Peters first ball, but only managed to glove the ball to Durrani, shortly followed by skipper Hughes who pinged Peters straight down Woodgate’s throat. S&M were now 55 for 4 and worse was to follow quickly as Woods, who had replaced Taylor at the Pavillion end trapped Henderson LBW.

A real cat and mouse period ensued in which Peters and Woods probed and nagged the batsmen but S&M held firm with Davis and Rea steadily getting closer to the target. Woods eventually broke the deadlock, enticing Rea into one drive to many where Inglis used midrift and hands to keep the ball from the ground. This was the important breakthrough as Rea had scored a magnificent 59 and was the real key wicket in the S&M line up.

There was one more wicket apiece for Woods and Peters, bowling Lansdown and Taylor catching Davis respectively. The latter being a fantastic diving catch on the 45 by Taylor, before Inglis turned back to opening pair Taylor and Mahoney to try to capture the last two wickets with about 15 runs needed for victory.

Taylor did the damage, his first ball enticed Harris to edge through to the keeper. Mahoney thought he had also struck with his first over back trapping Guest full on the toe without much foot movement but the appeal was turned down. 

Tension grew as Davies and Guest brought the runs required down to 5 with very cautious and sensible batting. The tension, similar to that of Edgbaston 2005 was mounting, Mahoney came steaming in, a good length ball, a faint edge, a regulation catch for Durrani… cue wild scenes of celebration by Dulwich and 24 points for the league.

Unconfirmed reports quickly circulated that club nutritionist Prassana has agreed to fund the next team social for doubting the Doggies' ability to defend the total so well worth getting ahead of the game and getting required passes for the night from other halves. A special mention should also be made to Tom Scott-Coombes who agreed to play on Saturday morning following a late withdrawal from the team, it was very much appreciated. Next up, Walton-on-Thames away.

Sat 24th June – 4th XI v Oxted & Limpsfield

DULWICH 238-8 (43.5) beat OXTED & LIMPSFIELD 129 (32.2) by 109 runs 224-7 (40) by 23 runs

Scorecard

Runs from Inglis, Durrani and Callaghan coupled with 8 wickets for stand-in skipper Swain propelled Dulwich 4s to their 3rd win on the bounce at the DSG.

Once again losing the toss, stand in skipper Swain was asked to bat on a breezy, cloudy day at the DSG. Openers Peters and Durrani led an inexperienced but talented lineup out to the crease, on a pitch which had seen over 400 runs scored on it the previous week.

Peters looked good early on, striking some classy boundaries square of the wicket, before some uneven bounce took his edge, caught behind for 11. Durrani was joined at the crease by Inglis, and together they proceeded to add almost 100 runs for the second wicket. Both players played with strong defence and punished any wayward bowling on a fair track that was offering assistance for both sides.

Durrani continued to work the ball calmly around the field, while at the other end Inglis showed some of the classy shots which have often seen him play for higher teams at Dulwich. With the score reaching triple figures Durrani was the first to fall, caught trying to work the ball down to 3rd man for a classy 49. Inglis lasted only a few overs longer, caught for a fine 56.

With the batting lineup having a slight wobble, newcomers McNeice and Emery looked to consolidate in their own ways – McNeice working the singles effectively and Emery hitting his first ball for 6 over mid off…

Unfortunately Emery’s judgment of a run was not up to the standards of his hitting, as he was soon run out, the 6 his only scoring shot. Next up was youngster Cormac Meade, who immediately looked at home in the 4s, playing several classy and powerful shots on his way to 21. McNeice fell for 15 and Williams made only 3, and with Meade joined by Callaghan, the game was finely balanced with Dulwich 5 down.

20 minutes of Prasanna, however, and Dulwich were well on top. 48* off about 25 balls, Dulwich reaching 238-8 and a slightly early declaration on the cards. Swain gave Prasanna one ball to reach his 50 before declaring, he didn’t get it.

A fine batting performance, with great performances from newcomers and old heads alike.

With 47 overs to take the required 10 wickets, Dulwich started off with an aggressive field for Sunil’s opening over. A good start from him and Swain opened up at the other end. First ball, head high wide down leg side. 2nd ball, banged in and hit for 4. 3rd ball, full toss. This was not looking good.

From out of nowhere on the 5th (legal) ball of the over, Swain induced an edge from the opener which flew straight to Inglis at gully, before he trapped number 3 LBW first ball. Oxted 5-2 and reeling.

Another good over followed from Sunil but with no luck, before Swain was hit for 4 first ball of his 2nd over. Next ball, another leading edge induced, this time taken by Meade at Gully, and Oxted were looking a long way off the target.

This pattern continued for the first 9 overs of the game – Sunil bowling with good control and movement, Swain mixing 4 or 5 dangerous, seaming balls with one pie each over. 

By the end of the 10th, Swain was on his 2nd hat-trick ball and had taken a 5-fer in just 5 overs – number 5 bowled and 6 LBW first ball. The game was all but over as a contest.

Prasanna got in on the act, bowling with great pace and seam movement to dislodge the tricky Hanrott for 44 caught by Inglis. With one end open, Swain proceeded to dispatch his 6th, 7th and 8th victims in quick succession – one to a very good catch behind from Durrani, a catch by McNeice at 2nd gully, and a swinging, seaming ball to clip the top of off. Oxted 9 down, Swain bowled out with figures of 13-1-55-8. Not bad.

The last wicket pair managed to hold out for 9 overs, Sunil and Woodsy (FINALLY introduced to the attack) bowling well but unable to get the penetration on a dampened wicket, before finally Woodsy trapped the last man LBW for 66 in the 33rd over.

Some fine individual performances, a great team effort, and a 3rd win in a row – the 4s go marching on.

Sat 17th June – 4th XI v Sunbury

DULWICH 210-7 (38.2) beat SUNBURY 206-9 (47) by 3 wickets

Scorecard

On a scorching hot day at the DSG, Dulwich got themselves back into the title mix with a hard-fought win at home to second-placed Sunbury.

Winning the toss, skipper Dixon duly inserted Sunbury on a firm looking wicket. Newbie Jack Mahoney and Joe Day opened up, looking to make inroads into Sunbury’s high-flying batting lineup, whose form has propelled them to a top-2 position in the league.

Unfortunately for Dulwich, some wayward bowling along with some clean hitting from Sunbury’s openers soon put paid to this idea. Both openers came out firing, edging good balls away for singles and boundaries and tucking in to anything short or wide, and soon the score had reached 60 off 6 overs. Dixon introduced Swain to the attack to try to bring some control to proceedings, but he too was unable to stem the flow of runs, being launched for boundaries off all parts of the bat.

After 10 overs of carnage, and the score fast approaching 100, Dixon rang the changes, introducing spin from both ends in the shape of Ramakrishnan and Lester. The rewards were immediate, opener Greaves bowled by Gokhul for a rapid 47, before number 3 came and went in the same fashion.

At the other end, Lester was tormenting the other opener Sehmi, who couldn’t lay a bat on him for 3 overs in a row, all of his big shots against the seamers apparently forgotten when facing spin. Eventually Lester put him out of his misery, trapped LBW for 37. Number 4 soon joined him back in the pavilion as Dulwich’s spin twins began to turn the screw.

Lester picked up his 3rd and 4th wickets via good catches from Ramakrishnan and Day, both batsman trying to hit over the top, and Gokhul claimed his 3rd scalp with a nice catch in the gully from Scannell (despite the batsman claiming he didn’t hit it – did I mention it went to GULLY!)

With Sunbury’s vaunted batting lineup collapsing like a proverbial pack of cards, Dulwich were hoping to skittle the tail and get in for an early tea. With Lester picking up a well-deserved 5th wicket, stumped by Durrani, things were looking good.

However, Sunbury had a sting in the tail, as numbers 9, 10 and 11 set about adding vital runs with some aggressive shot making. Lester had Patel caught for 20, to finish with incredible figures of 6-29, but as he and Ramakrishnan (3-44 off 13) bowled out, Dulwich still needed another wicket.

The returning seamers once again struggled to make any inroads on what was a pretty flat wicket, with Sunbury’s last pair adding over 40. Eventually Sunbury declared on 206-9 off 47 – a good comeback from Dulwich, having been staring down a 350+ chase before the spinners were introduced.

After a strong tea and inspiring team talk, the Dulwich openers strode out into the stifling heat to take on the challenge of this season’s biggest run chase. Unfortunately Zeeshan was striding back a couple of overs later, gone for 8.

4th XI debutant Durrani joined Scannell at the crease, and the pair set about milking singles and twos off the accurate Sunbury bowling. Durrani survived a leg-side catch scare, and Scannell a couple of edges through slips, but on the whole the batsmen looked comfortable as the score moved up past 70.

Having seen the impact Dulwich’s spinners had made at a crucial part of the first innings, the Sunbury captain soon turned to his own legion of slow bowlers, as the score continued to creep up. Durrani eventually fell to a great slip catch off the evergreen Clarke, and with Woodgate departing soon after, Dulwich were wobbling. Enter skipper Dixon, whose calm head and textbook sweep seemed a perfect counter to Sunbury’s spinners.

At the other end, Cian had begun to find his range, smashing the bowlers over the top on numerous occasions, and brought up a well-crafted 50 with a blow into the leg side which was dropped by the fielder over the boundary. Oops.

Dixon finally missed a straight one having made a crucial 25, and with Scannell’s leg giving him problems, Sunbury felt they were still in the game. Kaffurudeen joined the fray and kept up the attack, smashing the bowling to all parts to bring Dulwich’s score above 150, whilst Scannell, who could now hardly move, stood and delivered and the other end.

Having made an exquisite 69, Cian eventually fell to Sehmi, which brought number 7 Lester to the crease with 35 still needed and Dulwich nerves jangling.

Some fine boundary hitting and single-running later, and Dulwich were well within sight of the total. Kaffurudeen and Swain fell before the total was reached, but Mahoney smashed his first ball for four and the game was won. Lester had added a chanceless 20* to his earlier 6 wickets, and a brilliant run chase was completed in just 38 overs.

A great win, and a message to the rest of the league. Next up are Oxted at home.

Sat 10th June – 4th XI v Spencer

SPENCER 131 (38.5) lost to DULWICH 169 (32.2) by 38 runs

Scorecard

Dulwich got back to winning ways with a hard-fought 38 run win away at local rivals Spencer.

With Skipper Dixon away on business, VC Swain stepped up to lead the side against a team that had cruelly denied the 4s the league title on the last day of the 2016 season. After a very professional and engaging warm-up led by Ollie Tobin, Swain marched out to the middle and promptly lost the toss, meaning Dulwich were asked to have a bat.

The stand-in skipper was hoping for some big early runs from openers Peters and Zeeshan to pile the pressure on a depleted opposition, who started the game with only 8 players. After 2 overs we were 7-2, not ideal. Chris Marshall and number 4 Darren Cason thus set about repairing the innings – Marshall mixing a solid defence with some powerful shots to punish any wayward bowling, while Cason milked singles and 2s with some great field manipulation.

Having seen the score advance above 60 and the Dulwich batsmen looking well set, the Spencer skipper sought to introduce some pressure in the form of a 13 year old off spinner. Unfortunately for him, Cason and Marshall took a liking to the youngster’s head-high full tosses, taking him for 23 in his first over as the score swiftly approached 100 and Cason moved serenely past 50 (his second of the season for the 4s).

Eventually Spencer managed to get the breakthrough, Marshall falling to Abbas for a gritty and well-made 36. Pickles followed soon after stumped down the leg side, and then the Dulwich innings really began to fall apart when Cason was caught at mid-on for 62. Hope, promoted to number 7, lasted a couple of balls before being bowled by Abbas, who then proceeded to clean up Swain and Ramakrishnan first ball for a pretty uninspiring hat-trick.

At the other end Ollie Tobin was showing some good form with the bat, running well and hitting some cultured boundaries, and he managed to inch the score above 150 before being caught off Sindhu for 26. Last pair Jones and Day managed to squeeze a few more runs out before Day was last man out for 8, leaving Jones unbeaten on a useful 12. 169 all out in just 32 overs, having been 108-3 off 17. Not a great total, but on a seaming wicket and slow-ish outfield, Dulwich had a chance.

After sampling one of the better teas on the circuit, the Dulwich team came out fired up and ready to get stuck into the home side’s lineup.

Jeremy Jones and Chris Hope opened up, both bowling with good control in the face of some immediate aggression from opening batsman Naqvi. After a few edgy boundaries and some aerial wafts, the first wicket fell when Naqvi was well caught by Zeeshan off Hope for 19. A suicidal run-out then helped the Dulwich cause, Tobin’s accurate throw accounting for the other opener. This brought together Jafri x2, as captain Hussain joined Hassan at the crease.

Jones had bowled with good accuracy and pace but without any luck, and with the skipper signalling to debutant Joe Day to warm up, JJ knew he needed a wicket in order to get another over.

2 balls later, Jones had a pair of wickets and another over – first bowling Hussain Jafri with a great ball which nipped off the seam, before having Aun Naqvi caught behind by Peters off a decent edge. Unfortunately JJ couldn’t match the feats of Abbas and complete his hat-trick, despite having 8 catchers around the bat!

The next few overs featured some calamitous catching from Dulwich, which in truth almost let Spencer back into the game. Hassan Jafri was dropped twice early in his innings before going on to make 32, while Ali Hussain made the most of 3 chances going to ground to move the Spencer total up towards 100.

The introduction of Joe Day to the attack finally removed Jafri, before the gritty Khan was bowled by Ramakrishnan with an excellent ball which turned sharply down the slope past the batsman’s textbook leave.

Ex-Dulwich man Rehan Malik immediately provided some hope for Spencer, smashing a pair of boundaries off Ramakrishnan, whilst at the other end Hussain continued to chance his arm, smashing the ball in the air to all parts of the infield.

Ramakrishnan, however, held his nerve and eventually grabbed a second wicket, Malik chipping a lofted offspinner straight to Hope, who managed to hold the catch and atone slightly for his two earlier drops. With Hussain approaching his half century and Spencer 7 down with 40-odd to get, the game was on a knife-edge. Luckily Dulwich had a secret weapon – Spencer’s comical running.

After just a couple of balls at the crease, the young number 9 decided to run out Hussain for 42 (a great throw from Pickles), all but sealing the game for Dulwich. The batsman could then only watch as the newly introduced Pickler cleaned up his mate at the other end for the 9th wicket.

Not to be out-done, the young man decided to run himself out to end the game, with Spencer all out for 131.

A great bowling and fielding performance (the less said about the catching and batting the better), and with Sunbury and Wimbledon both dropping points this weekend, Dulwich are right back in the title hunt. Next week we host Sunbury, who we must beat to maintain our charge.

Sat 27th May – 4th XI v SinjunGrammarians

SINJUNGRAMMARIANS 137-7 (36) beat DULWICH 136 (34) by two wickets (10 players)

Scorecard

It wasn’t meant to happen like this. After selection on Tuesday, skipper Dixon had hatched a (very simple) plan and it went something like this….

Having seen the depth of batting riches in the team at his disposal, he was going to win the toss, choose to bat, score 300-ish in the scorching sunshine, reduce the Sinjun team to melted wrecks in the heat and skittle them for 100. Simple.

The plan was going well. The sunshine was out, Dixon won the toss, batted and the Sinjun fielders were sloping out to field with nine men and the weariness of a team who had been hammered for 275 runs the previous week against an understrength Spencer.

Cian played out the first over for a maiden and Zeeshan then slapped his first boundary straight past the bowler. Peters, Dixon and Williams – batsmen 5, 6 and 7 were still in shorts – Life was sweet…

This was where the masterplan began to unravel like that toilet roll in the Andrex adverts. Except Sinjun’s aren’t half as cute as that puppy…

At 2.30pm we were 60-7. This was not part of the plan. Peters, Dixon and Williams still had

shorts on. Unfortunately, they had changed back into them since being dismissed.

There is not a lot to say about that first hour and a half. Sinjuns bowled very well. In fact, they didn’t bowl a single wide in the innings – a miracle in 4’s cricket. Their openers Lawrence and Salman bowled with nagging accuracy and the Dulwich batsmen simply could apply themselves to build an innings despite wickets falling at both ends.

However, this scenario was familiar. Did we not do this in the same fixture last year? Back in

2016, Prasanna had strolled to the wicket in equally catastrophic circumstances and broke the oppo’s collective mind, body and soul with an explosive 97 not out. Could he do this again?

Er, no. Instead of tearing the game away from Sinjun’s, he tore his hamstring. Rhys had to, yet again, get changed out of his shorts and become a runner for him.

In fact, for a 15 minute period a handy partnership formed between Prasanna, who despite batting on one leg, could still swipe a ball to cow and Ollie Tobin who chipped in with a handy and relatively cultured 19. Together they wagged the Dulwich tail and dragged us to 136. Half ofwhat the skipper wanted, but something to bowl at.

With Prasanna standing gingerly in the slips, Ollie and Luke Howard took the new ball. Ollie was fired up and soon manged to remove Sinjun opener Ali for a duck. This was obviously something of a shock to the next batsman, Latty Clunes, who after much shouting towards the pavilion, carried his kit to the square and padded up next to the stumps. First time for everything….

Howard, although short of match fitness, was very economical, frustrated both batsmen, who swung wildly at almost every ball without a breakthrough and prompted a doubled change with Woods and Pickles coming into the attack.

In an entirely predictable fashion, Clunes charged Woods second ball, trying to hit him into the nearby Spencer ground. Dan Peters efficiently completed the comical stumping. Woods soon picked up his second, with opener Muneer carting him to Rhys Williams at deep midwicket, who took a comfortable catch and the game started to get interesting when Pickles removed Walters to a smart catch by Cian Scannell.

Sensing the batting didn’t run particularly deep, Dulwich attacked, but Sinjuns’ held firm and Lawrence and Akbany got the score close to victory. Working in rotation, Woods, Tobin and Howard all then picked up a wicket each to leave Sinjun’s 7 down (and with 10 players) Dulwich had only 2 wickets to take.

Alas it was not to be. They scraped over the line, to typically gentile and reserved applause.

All in all, a bad day at the office for the 4’s which shone a spotlight on the batsmen needing to perform over the coming weeks, for our title challenge to maintain momentum.

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