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Sat 18th June – 4th XI v Reigate Priory

DULWICH 132-5 (40.1) beat REIGATE PRIORY 129 (36.1) by 5 wickets

Scorecard

The 4th XI have found themselves in unfamiliar territory recently, failing to win any of their last three games and languishing in the bottom half of the league table. So the visit of third place Reigate Priory to DSG was for many a must win game. Despite the rainy (or reverse dry) season remaining for most of the week a fairly dry (or reverse wet) pitch and outfield were waiting for the teams. Usual skipper Matt Dixon was away so Simon  'stand by skipper' Bailey was drafted in to lead the side. Things started well for Bailey as he skillfully flipped a 10 pence piece to land heads up (or reverse tails), after Reigate had called tails (or reverse heads).  Bailey made the only sensible decision and elected to field (or reverse bat).

Dulwich took the field to a rousing team talk from Bailey and the clear message – to work as a team and do it his way. Prasanna only just made it out for the first ball, having thought it was a 1.30 start he had to run on at the last second (or reverse on time) wearing what can only be describe as questionable cricket sun glasses! Dulwich's opening attack of Kieran Reeves and (Ashley) Giles Constantine quickly (or reverse slowly) got into their rhythm, bowling an excellent line and length which put the Reigate openers under pressure straight away. Going at barely two an over the pressure finally told as Rob Hawke stayed cool and chose the right end after some suspect calling to run out De Mello for 1. 

Reeves continued to put the pressure on, gathering pace in his first appearance of the season (a reverse regular) and he soon had the second opener caught behind (or reverse dropped) by skipper Bailey for 14. The Reigate number four then strode to the crease and looked like a very useful batsmen playing his first few balls off Reeves with confidence, but after striking a solid boundary over mid-on he then tried to repeat his efforts, only to send the ball skywards and away over point. Ben Trembath chased back after it and pulled off a terrific reverse drop over his shoulder to snag a valuable wicket. Reigate then went about rebuilding their innings and Dulwich began shuffling their many seamers (or reverse spinners). Prasanna, Laurence Taylor and Will Burgass having a chance to build on the great start by Reeves and Gilo. It was Laurence who looked the most menacing and he broke the promising fourth wicket partnership as Guy Woodgate took a sharp reverse drop at gully. Wickets then fell at regular intervals. Laurence grabbed two more, and Will 'variations' Burgass got in on the act, Bailey and Woodgate each took another catch and it looked like Dulwich could restricted Reigate to under a 100 (or reverse over a 100).

Matt Van Staden at number seven for Reigate had other ideas and he came out on the counter attack (or reverse defensive), quickly finding the boundary on several occasions. Burgass had managed to execute a delightful slower bowl (or reverse pace) previously but when he tried a variation to Van Staden it slipped well down the leg side on the full (or reverse short) and was promptly dispatched a considerable distance over fine leg for a huge 6 (or reverse dot ball). Dulwich continued to take wickets at the other end, if not always in a conventional fashion. When Van Staden skied another Burgass slower ball straight up into the stratosphere, Bailey set off after it with the gloves, despite running full tilt (or reverse slow) for what seemed like forever, the ball was clearly swept up in the jet stream of the upper atmosphere and kept travelling away from Bailey. When it finally hit the ground Bailey was no where to be seen (much to the amusement of his team mates), fortunately Stuart Gardner watched the reverse catch closely and was quick to the landed ball and promptly threw to Burgass at the bowlers end to run the Reigate batsmen out attempting a second run! Gilo then returned to pick up his first wicket, before Reeves came back at the other end to dismiss Van Staden caught and bowled for 35. This closed the Reigate innings on 129. Reeves finished with impressive figures of 3-13 off 11.1 and Laurence finished with 3-32 off his 7.

It was as close to a perfect bowling and fielding display as the 4th XI have had for a while. They left the field in good spirits as attention turned to the second half of the game. Bailey delivered the batting line up which for a brief moment, as he looked to his left rather than right, appeared to indicate that Gilo might be opening with Andy Cornick, but it was clearly Guy Woodgate who should have been getting the skippers attention! Tea was enjoyed as usual and when Jackie delivered a plate of hot (or reverse cold) pizza to the table, thoughts of the run chase were put on hold for a few minutes of quiet munching. 

With the eating done Guy and Andy strode out to the middle to set about the job of chasing 130 in just over 50 overs. Reigate's opening bowling settled into a good line and length which provided little for the openers to get after. When they did stray, it was usually to Guy who quickly got bat to ball and did the bulk of the early scoring. Andy was determined to stay with him and look for some form himself but he soon played on for 5. Ben Trembath joined Guy at number three and the pair dug in as the bowling continued to stay tight (or reverse loose). Guy began to hit the ball crisply though and the scoreboard began to tick. Drinks came and went without the loss of another wicket and the score around 75. Soon after drinks Guy hit another boundary to pass 50 and see a much needed return to form for the reliable opener. Guy was finally dismissed with the score on 93 when he edged (or reverse middled) to the keeper for 56. Skipper Bailey then came to the crease, but he couldn't continue his recent good form and also reverse middled the ball to the keeper without scoring. Bailey left the crease very quickly to avoid giving Gilo (who was umpiring) the pleasure of raising his finger (or reverse not raising it) to the skipper. The resentment from Gilo dates back to an incident last season when stand in skipper Bailey correctly declared after Gilo had faced just one ball (albeit a wide – or reverse straight) , in order to give Dulwich more overs to bowl out the opposition.

Rob Hawke replaced Bailey at the wicket and Dulwich still looked set for victory (or reverse defeat) at 98-3 with plenty of overs remaining. Ben was then trapped LBW for a solid 35, before Stuart Gardner fell shortly afterwards for 5, trying one of his trademark blasts (or reverse defensive shots) down the ground. This raised Reigate's confidence and with Dulwich 5 down and still with 20 to win, their were suddenly a few nerves. Dulwich had been here before a few weeks ago when chasing another low total and had capitulated. Lightning wasn't going to strike twice though and Will Burgass joined Rob to patiently guide Dulwich to their target. With 2 to win, and the field up, Rob struck a lofted drive (or reverse forward defensive) down the ground for 4 to bring up a 5 wicket win (or reverse loss) with 10+ overs to spare.. It was a welcomed return to winning ways and credit must go to both sides for playing a good game in superb spirit.

With all the other 4th XI Premier League games succumbing to the weather thanks must go to John Howard and his team at DSG for producing such a good playing surface after a week of poor (reverse good) weather. Dulwich are certainly fortunate to have such facilities at their disposal week in week out. Thanks as always to John Lawrence, not just for his tireless selection work but for scoring all day too. Where would we be without him?

Old Ruts away (or reverse home) next week, and hopefully this will be the start of a winning (or reverse losing) run that sees the 4th XI challenge again for those higher (or reverse lower) places in the table. After a visit to Ken's Fish Bar (don't be too jealous, Julian) the team enjoyed some celebratory drinks in the bar. Well done to all.

Sat 11th June – 4th XI v Spencer

DULWICH 133 (42.5 overs) lost to SPENCER 134-4 (22.2) by 6 wickets

Scorecard

Dulwich 4s lost their third game on the spin on Saturday in a disappointing performance. Things looked ominous on Tuesday night when it appeared that the majority of bowlers in the club seemed to be drawn like a moth to the light to the football and fighting the Russians in France. The skipper with his hands firmly tied selected a team heavy with batting. Sadly, this included the same player twice, who ended up not playing anyway. We were grateful for the fact that he hadn’t written the team on the back of a fag packet as it may have featured a new opening attack of Benson and Hedges.

Copious team changes subsequent to the event meant that the team featured 8 (yes 8!!!!) changes from the previous week. In truth only two actually turned up on the day and credit must go to the Skipper and Simon Bailey for their sterling efforts. Matt must be hard pushed to award the third placed 1 point for the game – although I think I would award it to his dad for turning up to sit through the tosh that we served up and for his pre-match analysis of our performance the week before. He was spot on!

Having been inserted, Julian Dean gave his partner, Guy “Road Runner” Woodgate the benefit of his considerable experience of how to bat on the main square, explaining that the game would be won by adopting an attrittional approach and that getting a score on the board was paramount. Somewhere between that conversation and the end of the fourth over with no runs on the board, Julian forgot his Churchillian speech by slapping the first ball pitched up in the mooooo-zone straight up in the air. Caught Mid-on. 0-1.

Shortly after, Guy was bounced out by a brute of a delivery. The ignominy of being bounced out by our old friend and colleague, Rehan “the Prancing Horse” Malik. 2-2.

Sean “Buster” Keaton looked to be positive. Unfortunately, he too didn’t last long as he was pinned LBW. 4-3 and the opening bowler had the figures of 4-4-0-2.

Enter the skipper to join young Harry Chathli. They both rode their luck early on, picking the gap between keeper and first slip with regularity. The opening bowlers bowled exceptionally tidily and gave nothing away such that we had crept into the 30s in the 18th over. Harry, played one too many unorthodox shots and was comprehensively bowled and Shok went soon after 33-5.

Enter Simon “the Piano Man” Bailey. Until last week’s return to form Simon’ s batting stats since mid-way through last season had resembled a premium rate telephone number 0-8-0-0… Anyhow, a radical rethink of how to go about things has seen a return of confidence for the chunky (or reverse thin as we call it these days) left-handed stodge merchant. With Matt digging in and for once exploring the delights of the off-side, Bails unleashed and middled a couple of trademark short-arm pulls and we were at least off and hobbling…

A rain break with the score on 72 after 25 overs shortened both innings by 5 overs. On return, Spencer introduced spin at both ends. Matt conscious of his reputation for sweeping everything (which he did for the first 5 balls without connecting), unleashed an uncharacteristic cut to the sixth and was promptly caught behind for a well-constructed 30. Stick to the broom Matt. Knighty arrived and took the score beyond 100 with Bails, and a few lusty blows over mid-wicket / cow prompted the return of the quicks. Knighty had a look (for one ball) and then essayed a “metaphorical” mighty haymaker at Rehan and lost his middle stump.  This brought into the fray Stuart Gardner for an entertaining 8 over cameo. If Stuey had connected with only half the shots he offered he would have scored a 20 ball ton and the croquet lawn would have been cratered, but sadly just a couple of lusty blows materialised and a lot of swishing at thin air.

Meanwhile at the other end, Bails accumulated steadily and confidently playing some delightful shots including a back foot glide to the point boundary which seemed to gather pace up the hill. Simon brought up an excellent 50 (or reverse zero as it is called these days) shortly before Stuey was put out of his misery and the innings closed on 133. Respectable really and it was a good save from 4-3. Special mention should go to Rehan who bowled with good pace throughout with the ball occasionally beating his follow-through to the other end. The only bowler I know who could actually field at first slip to himself!

With the need to attack paramount, Dulwich unleashed Knighty to bowl what they hoped was a hostile spell to put the visitors on the back foot. Spencer had given away 5 extras in our innings, a total we had bettered in 1 legitimate ball as Knight generated maximum pace and minimum grouping (or reverse line and length as we call it ). Bails took an outstanding low catch at gully to make a breakthrough, but the score raced along to 50 off 9 overs with the bowling being somewhat erratic (or Knighty not being reverse Knighty). Two quick wickets got us back in the game, but the experienced heads of Spencer’s middle order then took the game by the scruff of the neck and took them home for the loss of 1 further wicket with about 15 overs to spare. The skipper gets another mention for taking a good comedy catch at Mid-Off despite the usual lack of hand-eye co-ordination and at no point looking like catching it! 

The skipper and Simon apart, I think we would all hold our hands up and say we weren’t very good. Hopefully, after two weeks where only 2 or 3 of us have turned up, we will get a grip next week and at least be competitive.

Sat 4th June – 4th XI v Banstead

DULWICH 132 (44) lost to BANSTEAD 146 (41) by 14 runs

Scorecard

The 4th XI stumbled to a “disappointing” defeat (my words, as the skipper’s more prosaic and accurate Anglo-Saxon description is best left in the changing room) at the hands of themselves Banstead on Saturday. As ever “squad rotation” led to five changes from the team that came third at Streatham and Marlborough the week before, although the captain professed to being happy with the team looking good on paper. Sadly, that judgment was badly misplaced as we were apparently playing on grass not vellum!

For the second week running Matt defied probability by persuading the opposition captain to call wrong and duly inserted the opposition. With the teams lined up to start, the skipper finally appeared having done battle with the lock on the changing room door for 15 minutes and took his position at mid-on. Thirty seconds later, the skipper vacated said location to go and look for a match ball, firstly in the back of his old man’s car and latterly back in the changing room before finally the game started.

The opening attack of Swain and Rutherford used their contrasting styles to good effect. Jack “skip to me Lou” Rutherford gently kissing the batting surface on the cheek and extracting movement in the humid air and off the seam and Swainy, charging in from the top end, clubbing the pitch over the head with a baseball bat. It was Jack who made the first break-through, the opener totally unimpressed by Jack’s pace mistimed a sweep which lobbed into first slip’s hands. Then a collector’s item. A genuine LBW that both batsmen and bowlers agreed upon giving Jack a deserved second wicket. This was quickly followed by another LBW that met universal Dulwich approval but sadly not with the man that matters, the umpire, which prompted Jack to be removed from the attack for bowling too well. 

The skipper rang the changes which saw Lawrence Taylor (who looks a little like Andy Bailey’s bigger brother) make his bowling bow for the 4th XI. Lawrence’s first ball drew appreciative purrs from the keeper and slip cordon being fast, full and well directed prompting a repositioning of the cordon a further three yards back. This unusual method of attack (unheard of at 4th team level) brought two quick wickets with middle stump uprooted. Sadly the promised fireworks from the newly acquired IPL style bails turned out to be more like sparklers on a wet bonfire night. At the other end, it was dibble time. The Vicar finally persuading the opening bat to stop using his pads in front of middle stump and use the bat instead lobbing the ball to cover. At 80 for 5, the innings was in the balance. The number seven was given an early life when Lawrence induced an edge that Julian could only parry into his face and then drop the rebound (better just to bowl at the stumps Lawrence!). He then defended extremely well in support of the left-handed number four bat who made a very useful 40 odd whilst hitting the ball adeptly to places you would never dream of putting a fielder and in some cases don’t have a name.

The introduction of Jonny “Pebbles” Stone led to the breakthrough with 120 on the board. Persuading the left hander to give him the charge, he was adeptly stumped by Ben “where’s my jumper” Trembath. Speaking of which, if anyone has seen a well-worn “fisherman’s style” cable knit cricket jumper then please contact Ben who is in mourning. The rest of the innings passed quickly the highlight being Will “Richard Hadlee” Burgass’s perfect run up, him running through his full repertoire of 27 different slower balls and Swainy returning to club a few more seals. The innings ended somewhat farcibly with the opposition skipper being given out caught behind with half of the Dulwich side believing he hit it but opposition skipper, wicket keeper and first slip equally convinced that he didn’t get within 3 feet of the ball.

After the as usual decent Turney kitchen fare, Pebbles and Julian “Bam Bam” Dean opened up proceedings. Dean flirted with the opposition fielders lobbing the ball just out of catching range twice in the first two overs before deciding a bit of long handle was required in taking 20 from the next two overs. With the score on 30, Pebbles got a leading edge which lobbed to mid-wicket to bring in James “Gressingham” Read to the crease. James has looked in fine form all season. The trouble being that he has been getting out first and second ball. Once again he looked in fine fettle and cruised into the 20s with minimum effort with the score ticking into the 70s with 15 overs gone. Taking a liking to the young leg-spinner, James played one glorious lofted straight drive before running past one trying to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Still at 73 for 2 with 34 overs left there should still have been only one winner.

Ben entered the fray hitting his first ball sweetly for 4. However, bereft of his jumper all his magic batting powers deserted him and he departed the scene somewhat meekly in the next over. The skipper didn’t last long too top edging a pull off the opposition’s skipper (or was it a sweep!) and 73 for 1 had become 80 for 4. The opposition bowled a nice tight length and line and extracted just enough movement from the surface to make batting uncomfortable. Swainy dug in and Julian nudged nurdled and moo’ed in his normal style to take the score to 110. Julian survived a strong LBW decision having immaculately middled a forward defensive and being accused of not playing a stroke, before chaos ensued. What happened next is the subject of debate. The authors view is that the ball was to the right of the fielder who had to move a fair distance to it, that Swainy was slow in responding to the call and not backing up properly and that Guy would have got there easily, Swainy’s view of it was @@!!@@@. Nonetheless, 5 down but with less than 40 required. Steve “not a Villa Fan” Walker arrived and went being completely bamboozled by a straight one leaving the Vicar to join Julian. 

Julian somewhat becalmed and not sure whether to stick or twist, picked up the returning opening bowler for a trademark extra cover drive heave over cow corner to bring up his well constructed and attractive 50, the beneficiary of at least four lives, to take the score into the 120s. With the introduction of the sixth bowler and with overs starting to become an issue, it was a time for cool heads and a measured approach - two things for which Julian is renowned. The opposition skipper, 40 overs in, now realising that the off-side field was a waste of good man power, posted a man to deep cow, who Julian promptly found whilst trying to push the ball gently to mid-off for a single smack the ball out of Surrey. The Vicar (whose nickname had somewhat confused Steve earlier) offered up a prayer for salvation. Sadly if he hadn’t been doing this whilst facing he may not have got bowled and we were down to Jack and Will.

Jack has pretensions to being a batsman (much like Gilo!) and with Will who gives the ball a good biff we still had a chance of getting close. Jack played the most immaculate clip off his pads second delivery, making sweet contact and sending the ball sailing towards the mid-wicket boundary. Sadly, the flight of the ball was rudely interrupted by the mid-wicket fielder who didn’t have to move. Enter Lawrence. A couple of ball survived and Will surmised that it was up to him to win the game and do it quickly. A few lusty blows took us to within striking distance but the need to farm the strike proved too much, with Will only able to lob the ball so short mid-off.

A disappointing end to a game that we were always going to win, until we lost and a salutary lesson from the opposition in never giving up, executing your skills to the maximum and building pressure.

Sat 28th May – 4th XI v Streatham & Marlborough

DULWICH 231-7 (45) lost to STREATHAM & MARLBOROUGH 318-4 (45) by 87 runs

Scorecard

On Saturday afternoon, two of the unbeaten teams within the 4th XI Premier Division went head to head. To add extra spice to the mix it was also a local derby as Dulwich 4th XI travelled to nearby neighbours S&M. Skipper Dixon uncharacteristically won the toss and with a road of a wicket with a short boundary and mid-day sun out choose to bowl……..!!

The intention of course was to limit S&M and then chase the runs down and both Dulwich opening bowlers, Constantine and Rutherford, backed their skipper up bowling tight lines and induced a number of false strokes from the S&M batsmen. Whilst the run rate was kept in check a breakthrough was not forthcoming as both edges and mishits just evaded the grasps of the Dulwich fielders until a Constantine induced a regulation edge to first slip which unfortunately was shelled and a chip to mid-on appearing to go straight through the stationed fielder’s hands (literally straight through without a finger being placed on the ball!!). Still, only conceding 60 odd runs from the first 16 overs left Dulwich confident that a couple of break throughs would really put the squeeze on the opposition.

However, the S&M pair had finally got their eye in and the change bowlers started to get some tap, with the short boundary regularly found. It was not until 178 was on the board that Constantine, brought back on, made the breakthrough, getting the S&M opener to chip another shot into the covers where this time it did find a Dulwich fielder and Walker took an excellent catch over his shoulder. There was no let up to the S&M innings and whilst the bowling and fielding remained positive boundaries could not be stopped, both S&M openers reached tons and the S&M innings finished on 318 for 4.

A fantastic tea was enjoyed at the interval, with the chicken wings being the highlight, although the mango and cheese sandwiches brought in mixed reviews. Bergh and Dixon opened for Dulwich, who were confident in being able to mount a serious run chase on what was a perfect batting deck but both found their way back to the dugout before 20 was on the board. The innings began to lift off when ‘Sachin’ Stone entered at 3, who serenely cut, pulled and whipped the S&M bowlers around the field superbly on the way to an entertaining and highly skilled 44 which was only ended when a full blooded cut was unfortunately directed straight at backward point who took a smart catch to end the little magician’s innings.

This brought the Inglis patient to the crease at six, being demoted in the line-up due to a twisted knee sustained in the field and the scoreboard on 74-4 after 20 overs. With singles being difficult for the patient and pace being taken off the ball, runs quickly dried up and the run chase as a contest was over. However, Dulwich maintained focus and with bonus points up for grabs mounted a strong second half to the innings with the patient anchoring (78 not out) around some strong hitting at the other end, notably Rhys Williams who bludgeoned 41 not out off the last 7 overs, leaving Dulwich at 231 for 7 at the end.

A tough day at the office for the 4th XI, but some very big positives to take away – notably being able to scramble some useful points form a very difficult position which could make all the difference towards the end of the season. Next week the 4th XI are back on their patch when they entertain Banstead.

Sat 21st May – 4th XI v Old Rutlishians

DULWICH 280-4 (45) beat OLD RUTLISHIANS 158 (38.5) by 122 runs

Scorecard

Dulwich scored a convincing win against a very youthful Old Ruts side on Saturday which featured a monster partnership between newbie Will Cooper and Oldbie (but definiteiy on something at the moment) James Chudley.

The team featured more changes than a Jurgen Klopp side before a European mid-week match but still Christian Benteke was left on the subs bench. The game looked to be following the usual script with Matt losing the toss again and the Doggies being inserted. The visitors were obviously confused by the greenness of the wicket, whereas the locals know better.  Julian Dean and man of the moment, James Chudley, strode confidently to the crease and calmly took 12 off the first over admittedly nearly all wides, byes and leg byes…

The two openers took a cautious approach for the first 6 overs, both queuing up to take small nibbles from one end whilst dodging some better directed fayre at the other end. Chuds was even sledged by one of the young opponents for turning down a single (that even Julian said no to) accusing him of being less than enamoured to face the more redoubtable opener. Dulwich had 34 on the board when the much anticipated comedy moment arrived. Having plundered the bowling last year, the oppo seem to have worked out Julian’s weakness to the leg-side, hip high Ginsters pasty. With the field up, and an entire collection of gardens, trees, football pitches and most of the South of England to launch the ball into, Julian selected the cautious approach and paddled the ball straight into mid-wickets hands.  

Enter Will Cooper on debut. For the next 30 overs, James and Will batted beautifully taking full advantage of the great pitch and cruising along at 6 an over. Chuds, in the form of his - or for that matter anyone else’s life -, timed the ball beautifully with forward defensive shots racing all the way to the boundary and punching the ball through mid-wicket with great force. Will lost nothing by comparison favouring the punched drive over the top and a delightful nurdle sweep behind square, which was a rare thing of beauty for those of us brought up on the skipper’s variety. The opposition rang the changes with a variety of young bowlers coming and going. All bowled well, but couldn’t staunch the flow of runs with the two bringing up their inevitable 50s shortly before drinks and Dulwich were well set at 130 for 1 at the half way point. The inevitability of the partnership going on and on was now dawning on team-mates and opposition equally. 

Next man in James Read alternated between attentive watching and sleeping under the scorer’s table. Equally bored, the rest of us set about this week’s sweepstake of whether Will on 96 or Chuds on 98 would make it to a ton first. At this point the prime opener marked out his run to return to the fray. The smart money was on Will (as he was on strike) who eschewing the old adage of having a look at the new bowler promptly smacked the ball straight down the fielders throat on the deep mid-wicket boundary, who took a good catch but didn’t have to move. As the batsman had crossed Chuds faced the next ball and miscued a pull shot to short fine leg who made a mess of the catch and managed to deflect the ball a further 20 yards enabling Chuds to come back for 2 and bring up a richly deserved ton. That wasn’t the end of the fun for the over as James Read pulled the last ball of the over straight to the guy who had just dropped Chuds who took the catch easily.  

Chuds, who had been “tired” since the third over finally succumbed for 107 leaving the skipper and Rob Hawke to boost the score to 280 at the close. The skipper apparently played two scoring strokes on the off side although the writer cannot recall such a momentus occasion and would have scrapped all of the above prose to report such a once in a lifetime event in full detail. We will take his word for it. Fair play to the young opposition team who never flagged in the field played with great spirit and were just batted out of the game by a chanceless partnership of the very highest quality.

The weather just about held after tea for us to make a prompt start and the opposition’s openers made a good start against the pace of Gilo and Jack Rutherford. With 40 off the first 8 overs they seemed well set to make a game of it. Jack finally made a breakthrough with a successful LBW appeal – he promises no money changed hands between him and the opposition’s umpire (their opening bowler) to get it.  Some of us, mainly the batting fraternity weren’t so sure and then remembered that this was exactly why Gilo scores for us rather than donning the white coat… we’d never get more than 20!

A double change saw Rhys “Bearders” Williams and The Vicar come on to bowl. Rhys “claimed” a breakthrough in his first over. I say “claimed” as the batsman, who looked in fine form, lumped a leg stump half-volley, flat and about 6 inches off the ground to James “L’Oreal” Read (we will come to that in a moment) who dived to his right to snare a fantastic catch. The Vicar, after last week’s heroics, saw his first Dibbley smacked back over his head for 4 so immediately switched to Dobbley. Having not warned Will of the switch the first ball smacked Will amidships. It was at this point that Will remembered a sadly missing piece of essential equipment as, well the ball, nestled momentarily in his essential equipment. Fortunately, it was the Vicar who was bowling and therefore no damage could possibly come from such an encounter in Will’s briefs. Bearders then benefitted from another bowlers union LBW decision from a long-hop (again opinion split down the middle between the bowlers and those that actually know the rules) and removed the number five with another wide long hop which was despatched to Lenin at mid-off. 

The number three succumbed to the Vicar adeptly caught by Gilo at point and the game as a contest was dead and buried (words underlined as they will NEVER EVER appear in the same sentence again!). The tyrant opening bowler came and went, undone by the Vicar’s even slower ball and stumped by Will using gloves this time. Rhys having bagged three by “mixing it up well!!!!!” then bowled rather well without getting any further reward to finish with 3 for 22/ The Vicar dibbled and dobbled for 2 for 20 off his 8 overs.

With 7 down and 80 on the board Darren Cason (who is no longer known as buckets after diving over everything today) and L’Oreal joined the fray. L’Oreal quickly induced the opposition’s skipper to spoon a catch in his general direction. L’Oreal unsighted by his own hair, had to sweep the unsightly mop backwards, but still had time to put on make-up, varnish his nails, pose for the camera before taking the aforementioned dolly. Darren then won the third LBW of the innings bowling left arm over to a right hander - the cue for further discussion among Dulwich’s players on the vagaries of the LBW rule. (We should also at this point remember that our bowlers in their stint of umpiring gave four LBWs against our batsman in the first match of the season, so we are about even now!).

With the game won, Dulwich slackened off and number nine (who definitely looked like he was batting too low) and ten put on a good partnership of over 50 for the ninth wicket. Darren gave the ball plenty of air which led to the weekly discussion of the application of Law 42.6* to slow bowlers which would have carried on longer if JD hadn’t given “the benefit of the doubt” to the umpire (who in any event was bigger, younger, fitter and better looking than him) and absolutely more to the point, younger readers, the umpires is always right even when he is wrong. (Dear MCC – please change the laws to be consistent between club rules and first class cricket before we take a wicket from one of these!).

Gilo and Jack returned to bring some resemblance of order to proceedings. Gilo removed the number ten, Will quite rightly trying to pinch a catch off 1st slip punched it straight to Chuds instead, and bowling the number 11 to finish with 2 for 26 with the opposition out for 158.

Dulwich face local rivals and fellow unbeaten challengers S&M next week in a crucial encounter which, with habitual title challengers Wimbledon having lost again on Saturday, could go some way to shaping the 4s season.

*(today’s lesson) – Rule 42.6

Dangerous and unfair bowling

Bowling of high full pitched balls
(i) Any delivery, other than a slow paced one, which passes or would have passed on the full above waist height of the striker standing upright at the popping crease is to be deemed dangerous and unfair, whether or not it is likely to inflict physical injury on the striker.
(ii) A slow delivery which passes or would have passed on the full above shoulder height of the striker standing upright at the popping crease is to be deemed dangerous and unfair, whether or not it is likely to inflict physical injury on the striker.

p.s. Law 42.6 is disapplied by the ICC / First Class playing regulations and replaced by waist height – not a lot of people apparently know that.