Tulsiani and Pritchard star in soggy Dulwich draw
Raj Tulsiani’s brutal 50 and Nick Pritchard’s four wickets were the mainstay of a Dulwich 2nd XI winning draw at home to Banstead on Saturday.
Dulwich captain Richard Reid failed at the toss for the sixth time in seven weeks and Dulwich were asked to bat – an expected move by Banstead given the likelihood of a vast amount of rain affecting the day’s play. And indeed, Dulwich openers Raj Tulsiani and Charlie Kemp hadn’t made it out to the middle before a light sprinkling delayed the start and took 2 overs out of the game. Tulsiani and Kemp then managed to negotiate 6 overs on a slightly damp, slow deck before a substantially more violent downpour lashed across Burbage Road. The grim, vaguely Biblical, scene was observed from the bar by the players; talk of alternative Saturday afternoon plans and, importantly, whether tea would still be served was in full flow when the rain suddenly abated after a solid thirty minute immersing. A further hour was then lost as players turned amateur groundsmen and, bored with simply waiting for the sun to deal with the several sizable lakes now covering the square, botch-handily attempted to make conditions playable by spreading a small forest’s worth of sawdust across most of the outfield. The umpires, satisfied with the prospect of continuing play on a ground now difficult to differentiate from a particularly swampy Glastonbury – and with continued pained reference to the league handbook -, decided play would resume with the game reduced to 68 overs, of which Dulwich would be able to bat 39.
Upon the resumption, Tulsiani – in form and up from the 4th and 3rd XIs in consecutive weeks and batting with unyielding focus – together with Kemp had a good look at the bowling and spongy pitch and moved their partnership along to 43 before Kemp (16) got one that held and popped and was caught at gully. Tulsiani then decided to open up his expansive range of shots and, whilst not making contact with everything he swung at, smashed his way to a very impressive 50 with some beautifully hit shots, both over the infield and through it. Propping up the other end, Stuart Ferguson mixed some typically high-elbowed forward defensive shots with the occasional classy pull in front of square and helped himself to 26 before being stumped; Dulwich with a good platform set at 111-2 and 12 overs to go. Tulsiani unmercifully maintained the momentum, hitting three glorious 4s off the first three balls of a Condie over, before too being stumped for a fantastic 77. There then followed an eclectic mixture of lower order scrambling, crabbing, questionable running and mid-ranged hitting from Oliver Steward (15), Jamie Pettigrew (7*) and Sri Lanka’s Gareth Cornick (16) which took the score to 165-5 in the 37th over when Reid called the innings in. Would the extra two overs to bowl at Banstead make all the difference?
A quick tea was taken and Dulwich duly set about trying to take 10 Banstead wickets in the 32 overs remaining. Choosing to open up with Graeme Hough and Jamie Pettigrew utilising the old ball, a reasonable amount of pressure was applied but only a single wicket snaffled – Pearce chopping one on from Hough (1-18) – in the first 10 overs. Captain Reid then called for the new ball and brought on James Bridgland and Zakir Rostami into the attack in the hope of blasting a couple of batsmen away. However, despite Dulwich coach Allen Blackford’s best attempts to gee up the bowlers from the sidelines, nothing really approaching a reasonable area was being found with the ball and, at 81-1 in the 15th over, Banstead had assumed a strong position.
The initiative was regained, however, when Pritchard (4-7) replaced Rostami and succeeded in forcing one through Yeats’ defence to make a crucial breakthrough. He then took a wicket in each of his next three overs – one the result of an astonishing one-handed diving catch by Pettigrew space cadetting at mid off – and, with the change in fortune also suddenly coaxing the best out of Bridgland at the other end, Banstead were reeling at 87-5 with 12 overs still to go. The push for victory was on but Elster and Taylor played well in stifling the bid and, despite crowding the bat, some bad chat and the rotation of the Dulwich bowlers, the breakthrough wasn’t forth-coming and Dulwich ran out of overs. A four point winning draw, however, was a reasonable outcome on a day where we were lucky to get much cricket at all.