DULWICH 145-4 (27) beat STREATHAM & MARLBOROUGH 142 (40.5) by 6 wickets
With the final third of the season approaching, this game was significant to the title hopes of both sides with only a few points separating them at the top of the league alongside Banstead. The Dulwich side were also keen to set the record straight after conceding 320 odd runs in the fixture earlier in the season.
The Burgage Road track looked better than all season and this alone was enough to convince the Streatham skipper Paul Henly to break with convention and choosing to bat after winning the toss and simultaneously fooling the Dulwich team into assuming Matt had won it for the fourth time in a row.
Knighty and Jack opened the bowling and kept things pretty tight, although Jack struggled for rhythm. Following his magnificent seven last week, it was no surprise Knighty made the breakthrough with a most un-fours-like piece of authentic cricket. Pitching it on a good length (yup, honestly), Knighty tempted the opener Justin Sbresni to nibble outside off stump and on-off lover Swainey took a sharp chance at first slip with the score on 5. This was around 200-odd less than the score at the first wicket in the previous game.
The two Streatham batsmen dug in and the skipper mixed up the bowling, replacing Jack with Will Burgass and Knighty with the young leggy, Alex Vinen, who was making his debut.
Dulwich got a lucky break when batsman Mark Bartolo, pulled a calf muscle, breaking their momentum. Vinen capitalised straight away, having the inappropriately named opener Cannon caught pulling at midwicket by Jack. He followed this immediately with his own 'ball of the century', pitching outside leg and clipping off, to flummox and bamboozle the disbelieving batsman Southworth, who loitered for a while, before trudging off, occasionally looking over his shoulder in case we gave him another chance.
This over turned the game and Streatham never recovered their mojo. Miserly bowling from Will tied up an end and Vinen bowled an 11 over spell to finish with the terrific figures of 11-3-30-2. Keep an eye on this lad….
The game plateaued a little prompting Matt to replace Will with 'Vicar' Charlton. Bowling slower than a cautious clergyman in Loz Taylor's car, he soon removed batsman Davis caught by 'buckets' Dixon at mid-off (2 in 2 people. Just saying) and then Southbrook, with another very decent slip catch from Swainey. (Second slip next week Julian…)
The Steatham tail wagged a little, lead by their skipper, but the return of Knighty saw his dismissal and that of Antunes. Tiring, Knighty dropped his length, as well as two catches off his own bowling, before the returning Will Burgass showed him how to do it and Swainey wrapped up the innings for an under-par 142 all out.
A delighted Matt called together the team to congratulate them on a genuinely efficient fielding display. However he reminded them of the shambolic display chasing 140 earlier in the season against Banstead and called for some guts and concentration to finish the job.
Shaking off having his money stolen from the changing rooms, Zeeshan carried on where he had left off last week and blasted, edged and slashed the Streatham bowlers from the off, infuriating them to distraction with his disregard to the concept of playing himself in. Make-shift opener Dixon, promoted due to Julian's once a season affair in the three's, played across a straight one and was soon back in the pavilion, followed next ball by Rob Hawke.
With momentum swinging towards Streatham, the soft underbelly of Dulwich's batting could have been exposed. Enter wicketkeeper Darren Cason. Having been mistaken by the skipper for a spin bowler for the first four games of the season, he batted with a mixture of grit and flair, keeping scoreboard moving, while Zeeshan flayed the bowling to all parts at the other end.
Zeeshan departed for a typically rapid 70 and the game was all but won. Despite the late loss of the out of form Swainey, Darren struck their opening bowler for a towering six onto the Alleyn's pitch and a very comprehensive victory was sealed.
Decent stuff all round from Dulwich in a game they had to win. Fielding was good on a bumpy Burbage Road outfield, with even the skipper snaffling a catch, (did I mention that was the second in two games? Takes my catching ratio percentage into double figures…) Saturday was a great team effort with contributions throughout and particularly pleasing given a number of regular players were missing. The victory puts us 6 points behind Banstead. Next up are the rejuvenated Sinjuns which the team can approach with a great deal of confidence.