On a fine sunny Sunday in South London a collection of cricketers gathered. As is often the case early season not everyone knew each other and much time was spent getting to know who people were, did they bat or bowl and who had they played for previously.
The opposition were found at late notice by the fantastically efficient John Lawrence. The Met Police were the original opponents but had to pull out as the demands on the boys in blue of two FA cup semis, a London Marathon, an Arsenal v Liverpool game and general capital criminals were high. The replacements were the North London Muslims and they were capable, very keen and played good aggressive cricket all day.
Our warm up involved integrating with a commnity cricket day with a set of kids who delighted in telling us the rules and pointing out when we didn’t have a clue! Particularly good to see Robbo being ordered about by a slight 10 year old. The organisers are planning to put a video on you tube so when they do well put a link from the website.
Simon Leather won the toss to make it three out of three for teams over the weekend. We batted and with 9 bowlers in the side Simon needed to make a few inspired choices in roles and batting order. The first of these was to open with Tom Peacock who was looking mean and moody until he was given out lbw early.
Amer Saeed (one of our real batsmen) started well and built a decent little partnership with Dave Robson against a succession of bowlers who just moved it around a bit. Robbo with a glide straight to backward point and James Bridgland then fell. Simon Leather went in and for a short while looked really good, a stylish cameo that brought him 19 runs.
Amer continued on his way with Tom Barnard now in supporting him and the normally steady Amer started hitting sixes to move the game forwards. Tom got into his teens, James Finch and Mustafa Kamaal went for single figures as we struggled to build partnerships. Amer finally perished for 90 (caught) and the tail crept us up to 204 for 9 off the 40 overs.
Tea was a good taster for what we’ll get at both home venues this season. We’ll need extra training just to stay at the same weight.
Simon’s plans had been slightly hampered by the length of Tom Peacock’s innings. Tom opened the bowling with Prasanna and as we guessed the opposition were swinging straight away. The runs came quickly as well as a few balls in the air that on another day may have gone to hand. To one of the openers we had two slips two gullys and a point and still we needed more. Tom bowled really well cramping the batsmen and Prasanna got the worst of the aggression and the luck. A wicket each and the three and four bats were just as aggressive.
Simon then changed things around and brought on James Bridgland from the Presidents end. Bridgey bowled with pace and bounce and kept jabbing the ball back in to the best of th e batsmen. The legspin of Tim Brown was the next weapon used (Bridgey coining the phrase anti-cricket due to the excessive use of flight and guile). Doesn’t he know cricket is an art form not just a show of brute strength!
A wicket from Bridgey and 2 from Tim and we had them in trouble. Their best bat was still at the crease however and while he was there they had a real chance. A very short and wayward spell from Mustafa and Prassana’s last over from the top was followed by a good spell from Dulwich’s fitness guru Jamie Hall.
James finch then replaced Tim at the Croquet end and bowled well to put their bat under pressure and took the wicket with a somewhat dubious leg before decision. Jamie and James the finished off the tail to have the North London Muslims all out for 171 (check) and a comfortable win in the end.
Thanks to John Lewis for scoring and ladies keeper Sam Hulcoop for umpiring all day.