DULWICH 338-7 (45) beat WOKING AND HORSELL 41 (24.3) by 297 runs
If last week’s dreary victory against the dogged Reigate Priory was the cricketing equivalent of a British seaside holiday, this win against Woking was the full Las Vegas pool party with unlimited cocktails and a hot tub of admirers.
With a dodgy weather forecast giving skipper Dixon a few Friday night nerves, a chance rendezvous with Chris Reardon in the booze aisle of the East Dulwich Co-Op was enough to convince him to request a last minute move to the main Burbage Road ground and the security of a covered wicket.
Having bowled Woking out for 62 earlier in the season, this game was seen as a 20 point banker, especially with a strong line up of bowlers to call on. Keen to avoid any complacency, the team talk focussed on doing the basics well, playing to our strengths, blah, blah, blah… Ok, forget it it lads, attack them and win the game.
Winning the toss, the W&H skipper spotted Knighty lurking menacingly, (impossible to miss in a garish red top) and remembering how he destroyed their team in the reverse fixture, decided to bowl, with the resigned attitude of a man whose batting wouldn’t stand up to the Dulwich test for long.
After 25 minutes of play, his decision looked totally vindicated with the top three of Peters, Irvine and Chaudhry all back in the dressing room with only 24 on the board and the skipper on his way to the middle to join Will Cooper.
Cooper making only his third Dulwich appearance of the season and using a borrowed bat and some pads from 1992, that Matt had dug out of his loft that morning, was imperious from the start. Using his diminutive stature to pull anything slightly short, he and Dixon attacked the Woking bowlers forcing numerous changes. Running well between the wickets, the pair accelerated to 145-3 by drinks, with the skipper starting to find the middle of the bat after a season which had brought him few runs.
Powered by orange squash and sensing the Woking team were struggling to contain the flow of runs, Cooper and Dixon turned on the afterburners and scored 70 in the next seven overs, flaying the bowling all around the ground, taking plenty of chances with the security of plenty of batting to follow. Cooper was first out, stumped for a pugnacious 87 that contained 5 sixes, a great knock. If he is able to play more regularly for the club more next season, he’ll be a massive asset to the higher teams.
Cooper and Dixon had added 184 in 22 overs and had set the attack, attack, attack, tone for the rest of the innings. By this point, the Woking fielders already believed Dulwich had won and so the question was how many runs they could get. With this in mind, Prasanna was promoted to join the skipper and he carried off from where he left in his last innings at Sinjuns – mainly the mid-wicket and cow corner areas of Burbage Road.
Matt had swept to a streaky but valuable 73 before finally being dismissed, leaving Prasanna to be joined by Swainey, in his new role of head of the tail. Freed from the shackles of his innings making any difference to the result, he and Prasanna (47) gorged on the shell-shocked Woking bowlers, powering past his previous 2016 best of 8* to end up with a red-inker of 55.
The innings came to an end with a blob from Knighty and a classy cameo from Ben Lester, to finish on a mighty 338-7. A holidaying Julian Dean toasted the innings with an extra portion of Carbonara in Rome and the skipper spared the team the ‘don’t take victory for granted talk’.
After a delicious tea, the Woking batsmen faced a mammoth task. This was not helped by their non striker, Michael Walsh running himself out of the first ball of the innings, trying to steal a sharp run to Alex Irvine who threw the stumps down – his second direct hit in two games.
More wickets followed. Scourge of Woking, Knighty extracted bounce out of the track to see off the number 3, gloving a catch to Dan Peters and then the opener Kumar who was snaffled by an uncharacteristically good one handed dive by Matt. Sunil got in on the act, proving too slow for Thabrew, who dollied to the skipper at mid-off and he then bowled Lumby soon after. Woking were 8-5, with their skipper tweeting about a club record 300 run plus loss.
Knighty picked up his third wicket, smartly caught by Ben Lester at point to rapturous applause from his watching family and dogs – his mother swinging her cerise pashmina scarf above her head in delight. Such adoring crowd pressure prompted Dixon to immediately introduce him into the attack and he soon dislodged the impatient Khedekar, stumped by Dan. New bat Styles quickly followed, easily caught by Zeeshan at mid-on. Prasanna wrapped up the final two wickets and victory was achieved by a significant margin with a clear message of intent sent to next week’s opponents Wimbledon.
Despite the margin of victory, much credit should go to Woking who remained engaged and acted impeccably throughout the day, even scoring their innings in the Dulwich book. Their skipper has much to be proud of, even in defeat. They look to be safe from relegation the league and we look forward to playing them next season.
Back at the club, the team celebrated heartedly, although the skipper was slightly miffed to learn that James Hirst had toppled him as worse fielder in the club, after a particularly cack-handed afternoon for the 2s.
Two games left and 21 points needed for the league title. The team now entertains defending champions Wimbledon at home. Whilst it is likely to be a much sterner test, this Dulwich side, full of confidence, camaraderie are capable of beating anyone in the league. On the day the 2nd XI won their league, we are determined to do the same.
Many thanks to Chris Reardon for umpiring.