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Sat 17th June – 5th XI v Old Elthamians

DULWICH 201-9 (40) lost to Old Elthamians 224-7 (40) by 23 runs


Saturday's opponents Old Elthamians entered the day rooted the bottom of the table and, with Dulwich having gone top after a fine win against Catford last week, this top vs bottom affair looked to be stacked in our favour. With last week's star performers David Woods, Siraj and Cian all playing higher or unavailable, it was a much changed 5th XI but one with plenty of quality, reflecting strong availability across the club.

On a scorcher of day, with a good pitch, short boundaries and a lightening-fast outfield, the opposition jumped at the chance to bat first after winning the toss. Old Elthamians got off to a good start despite decent opening spells from Simon Peters and Sakib, with their opening batsmen pouncing on anything full of a length, dispatching it to the short straight boundaries. Sakib responded well, trapping one LBW and soon after David Begg came on and dismissed their no.3 with a regulation caught and bowled just before the first drinks break. Dulwich were arguably the happier side at drinks, with the opposition on 61-2 from 15 and vowed to continue the hunt for wickets thereafter.

The first ball after drinks provided a turning point in the match. The new batsman clearly edged Begg and was caught behind by Dan Peters. However, despite the batsman 'smashing the effing cover off it' (D Peters, 2017) with batsman refusing to walk and the umpire not giving the batsman out, Dulwich were forced to look for another way to get him out. The very next ball was smashed to the boundary over mid-off which, unfortunately for Dulwich, was a sign of things to come. The two set batsmen began to enjoy the conditions more and more and, despite several bowling changes, Rutherford was unable to stop the flow of runs, with the two adding 100 runs in 15 overs between the two drinks breaks.
In the final 10 overs, Simon Peters returned and bowled a very fine spell, taking five wickets and ultimately limiting what was moving towards an imposing total to 224-7, which we felt was just about par given the conditions. The only real disappointment for Dulwich had been a real lack of focus and intensity in the field during the middle overs of the match. Skipper Rutherford also lamented the decision not so set a more defensive field earlier, with the feeling being the combination of those two factors had probably led to Old Elthamians scoring 20-30 more runs than they perhaps should have.

Dulwich's reply got off to a strong start thanks to Dan Peters and Julian Dean who both capitalised on any loose balls. Old Elthamians made their intentions clear from the very first ball, electing not have a slip in place and continued to have a minimum of four sweepers in place (and up to six at times) throughout the innings. After Dean was given out LBW for 23, Tony Simmonds came in and continued where Julian had left off and, alongside Dan Peters who was batting nicely at this stage, got Dulwich up to around the 100 run mark at a good rate. Old Elthamians then introduced spin from both ends which prompted a flurry of wickets with Simmonds, Emery and eventually Peters all succumbing, Dan having made a score of 47 before being dismissed.

With both spinners bowling well, the runs began to dry up for Dulwich and, as a result, wickets continued to tumble with only Cormac Meade (25) able to keep the scoreboard moving. With the required rate climbing to around 12/over with 6 overs to go, the shot-making and running became ever more ragged and our chances of reaching the total were all but gone when Simon Peters conspired to run the captain out by refusing a second run, apparently oblivious to the equation we faced (or at least that's how the captain saw it). Begg & S Peters finally brought Dulwich up to 200-9 from their 40 overs, cementing a 24 run loss.

All-in-all, a frustrating day for Dulwich who were left to rue several factors in the bar afterwards. Still, there are plenty of points to play for this season and the 5th XI remain in the hunt at the top of the table.

Sat 10th June – 5th XI v Catford and Cyphers

CATFORD AND CYPHERS 103 (27) lost to DULWICH 108-1 (47.1) by 9 wickets


Not for the first time this season Dulwich was playing a top of the table clash. Dulwich in 2nd at DSG against 3rd place Catford & Cyphers with top placed Roebucks having a bye. The side again had a few changes, due to good availability five players came down from the 4s. Jack lost the toss and we were asked to field.

The first over from the skipper was only memorable for the 11 balls it took to complete. With Alex Easdale bowling well from the pavilion end taking the first wicket the David's Begg and Woods were wondering who would be asked to bowl with the short leg side boundary. First Prasanna Callaghan replaced Jack and bowled a fiery spell. Mixing two early wickets w two beamers coming back from a hamstring injury, 4 overs only but 3 for 10 as we turned the screws. At the other end replacing Alex (7 overs 2 for 40) David Begg lost the seniority argument and the first ball was dispatched to that short boundary. With his experience he soon adjusted his line and ended up with 2 for 21 off 6. After Prasanna's fitness test David Wood joined the attack from the far end and continued his great early season form. 6 overs 4 maidens 3 for 6 with the highlight two bowled and a sharp slip catch for his spin partner Begg.   

With a good allround performance two other spinners in Forhad Ahmed and James Worley were not required as we restricted Catford & Cyphers to 103 all out in 27 overs leaving us 53 overs to get the target. We had been ruthless to the point that tea was not ready and it was agreed to go back out for 8 overs before the interval.

These 8 overs were the toughest part of the contest as James Worley fell and Cian Scannell had three successive close lbw shouts against him. The opposition opening attack was a great combination of a slippery, skiddy quick and an experienced left armed getting significant inswing and bowling a lovely line. One more beamer being bowled to make it too many for the day.

Somehow Cian and Siraj Durrani made it to tea and then calmly knocked the runs off after tea.  Siraj continuing his early season form with another 50 (53 not out) and Cian finishing the game with a six to end up 45 not out. Yet another large partnership cementing the teams early season progress with 9 wicket win in the same 27 overs. The only other point of note was the opposition making 4 successive bowling changes in 4 overs from the pavilion end.

We had a chance to have a beer and watch the 7th and 3rd XIs.

So 1 point ahead of Roebucks on top of the table, but having played one game more. Next week we play bottom of the table Old Elthamians at DSG. Thanks again to Ellen for scoring and the injured Tim for umpiring.

Sat 3rd June – 5th XI v Bromley Common

BROMLEY COMMON 159-7 (40) lost to DULWICH 227-8 (40) by 68 runs


Another beautiful day in South London but again travel problems hit the 5th team as opening bat Nick Rochford arrived latest of several of the team who had trouble finding the Acorns ground at Bromley Common. Although also late the injured Tim Brown who had offered to umpire suggested to returning skipper that James Worley might be an option to open.

Batting first James and Harry Snr got us off to a smooth start. Harry was looking good but on 15 was out to a quality of catch not normally seen at this level. Siraj Durrani joined James and together they built the match winning partnership, both making fine 71s. James even managed to try another ramp shot but unlike a few games ago managed to miss the ball completely. Most of the rest of the batting didn't get going but an aggressive 44 not out from Tom Emery helped us make 227 for 8 in our 40 overs. The only other real 'highlight' was Nick Rochford being stumped in a remarkably similar way to how he perished one match last season. The umpire in both cases was Tim who had to shake his head knowingly as he raised the dreaded finger.

After a very good tea overlooking the beautiful Bromley Common first ground we returned to the Acorns. Our bowling and fielding was solid as we put pressure on Bromley Common for the start. Jack and Simon each bowled one of their opening batsmen as early wickets set the scene for their chase. Extras and edges were the only real source of runs for a while, although it is fair to say we did bowl a lot of wides (18 in a total of 25 extras). The only excuse being a windy day and a rather odd double direction slope of the wicket making life difficult for the bowlers. Raman replaced Jack uphill but with the wind and also picked up a wicket before he had to dash off for some evening commitment. Curtis McNeice on debut bowled a fiery spell of left arm seam having being spotted as a bowling option in the nets before the game and also picked up a wicket.  

At this stage it looked as though we would easily win the game and Jack was seeking to take wickets in order to pick up maximum bowling points too. James was used down the slope and Josh Nava picked up two wickets up the slope with a fine spell of leg spin bowling. We ended up restricting them to 159 for 7 and a good win just two points short of a maximum 20.  

Thanks to Ellen for a quality scorebook and Tim for umpiring through a most enjoyable day. Next week we are back at DSG placed second in the league. If we keep similar availability then we should be competitive in the division. So far we've had three wins and two close losses.

Sat 27th May – 5th XI v Blackheath

BLACKHEATH 87-9 (23.3) beat DULWICH 84 (24.4) by 1 wicket


A much changed side for a variety of reasons. First games of the season for the 5thXI for Harry Chathli (senior), Henry Barnes (whose father had played here in the eighties), John Comerford, Thomas Emery, Geoff Warriss, Sakib Rashid and Luke Howard.

The debutants were joined by Siraj, Tim, Forhad and James in a side of self appointed all rounders (as is normal at Dulwich). Late Friday night phone calling resulted in Luke being promoted to the 4s and being replaced by Begg, Owen, PD Amin and eventually no one as John's little black book got a workout.

On a beautiful sunny day in Greenwich Park against a mid table Blackheath Tim won the toss and decided to make use of what looked quite a good deck. In a few balls it was clear this was going to be a bit tougher than conditions suggested. The pitch had some variable bounce with the majority of the odd balls being low making it difficult to get started as the highest score of the game being 18 proved.

Harry Chathli (snr) (5 runs) and Tim (0) opened and they were both soon back in the pavilion, at which Harry went to sort out the parking position of his car but took the dressing room key with him which introduced a touch of chaos or panic in the middle order batsmen preparation. New boy Henry Barnes (13), came to the wicket and put on a few with Siraj Durrani (12). Just as we seemed to be getting back on top two more wickets fell and then another new boy Thomas Emery was joined by John Comerford. John took his usual option of having a bit of a hit which came off for a little while as again we fought to get on top. James Worley then came to the crease but soon departed for 6 in the strange manner of walking for a stumping.  

Sakib Rashed batting a bit too low at 8 then showed how to play on the deck and ended up with a 16*. Geoff Warriss and Forhad Ahmed soon departed and we had scored a disappointing 84 all out (with 10 men) in 24.4 overs leaving Blackheath 65 overs to beat our total.

However games are never over until they are over and we fielded and bowled very well to force our way back into the game again. A fine opening spell of 10-2-28-3 from Sakib Rashed was supported by 5 overs of many good balls and a few not so good balls from Geoff Warriss (5-0-21-2). As is usual at this level the two wickets came from the bad balls not the good ones. We kept taking wickets to keep us in the game getting them 6 down as Forhad Ahmed joined the attack. Blackheath still needed 20 as the 8th wicket fell and Aussie bowler Shans was joined at the crease by his son Joe, Sakib finished his spell and was replaced by last weeks finisher James Worley bowling his odd mix of medium pacers and leg spin. They inched closer to the Dulwich total and with 6 still required young Joe was overconfident in his speed with a call of two! A fine throw from Sakib and Siraj ran out the youngster.  

We couldn’t win our second close one in two weeks could we? Actually no we couldn’t as their final wicket got them over the line in the 24th over. We were left to rue our chances on the bus back in to town! The extra player might have made all the difference.

For the second time this season a close loss involved picking up quite a few points so we are still in third place with a visit to Bromley Common to come next week.

Sat 20th May – 5th XI v Bickley Park

BICKLEY PARK 166-7 (32) lost to DULWICH 167-7 (32) by 1 run


As a result of the fairly widespread restructure of the Kent Regional League we had new opponents in Bickley Park. With the two sides in 2nd and 3rd a close game was expected although it ended up closer than anyone expected. Rain was around and a quick downpour just at the wrong time livened up conditions and the captains agreed to reduce the game to 32 overs a side.

Tim lost the toss and not surprisingly we were put in. The ball was seaming, swinging and in contrast to previous years at DSG bouncing too. Raps on the knuckles and nudged singles for the openers were interspersed with a couple of fine shots from Richard Blench before he fell lbw for 13. Tim played across the line and got a leading edge and when Piran also fell lbw we were three down and at that stage Bickley Park were on top. Enter Siraj Durrani who was only at the game after several frantic Saturday phone calls as Tim realised the midweek communication had gone astray. Siraj and Tony Simmonds both played really well. Either the conditions had settled down, or more likely these two were more able to manage the Bickley Park bowlers as they put on a fantastic 104.

We were back on top but as both fell, probably as a result of a little bit of fatigue on a sticky day, Bickley Park battled there way back in. James Worley had spent an hour padded up practicing ramp shots and reverse sweeps and delighted the crowd when early in his innings he charged the bowler and played the perfect ramp. Unorthodox but effective as we shall see later too. Alex Owen managed one glorious cover drive and Raman Sarao that perfect innings where he was the non facing batsmen for the last ball of the innings. James Worley was bowled to leave us on 167 for 7.

The weather had improved and we went out after tea confident that if we bowled well and fielded well that we would win the game. The innings started perfectly with Simon Peters putting the ball in a perfect spot, getting a fine edge and Tony gathering the catch safely. Raman opened at the Turney Rd end taking a wicket with a full toss but despite that both bowlers had fine spells. Tim was to replace Raman with Jaba Jumagul (another who was late due to midweek communication confusion) but the bowler wanted the other end. David Begg entered the contest and managed to get another edge which Tony gratefully took. Simon bowled straight through his eight and picked up another wicket to end with 8-2-27-2. By far his best bowling of the season and when he is in that rhythm he is a serious handful at this level.

Jaba replaced Simon as Bickley Park fought to rebuild their innings. We dropped 6 chances in the innings and a few loose bits of fielding also released the pressure on the batsmen. One throw from Richard Blench resulted in a large volley of expletives (at himself). Jaba went wicketless and the left hand right hand combination started to hit out in chase of the 9 or 10 an over they needed. Tim had two very expensive overs and with little warning to the bowler played the last throw of the dice, the unorthodoxy of James Worley's bowling. A stunning one handed diving catch from Piram Legg raising our mood and our chances. One good over and another from David Begg left 6 to get in the last over but with the main scoring batsmen on strike. After much scampering, swinging and missing and field changes we ended up with them needing three off the last ball to win.

A drive to mid off and the first run taken but Piran fielded cleanly, returned the ball safely above the stumps and into the hands of James who removed the bails. Out by 3 yards and we had won by 1 run. Bickley Park 166-7. A great game of cricket that swung backwards and forwards.

Picking up 17 points out of the possible 20 we are still in 3rd place as Catford and Cyphers jumped ahead of us. If we have reasonable availability we will be competitive in this league. Next week Blackheath away as several of the team are away on the 7th team tour!

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