Despite being in a new league the 5th XI still have a few games against old foes from the South Thames League. Saturday brought us up against Bromley Common 3rd XI who had started the new season well with three wins.
Selection had again thrown up a few changes and the challenge was going to be getting a decent batting line up as 4 of the top 6 from the week before were unavailable. The previous week’s problems in getting an umpire and the subsequent forfeit of the toss kicked off a search for a suitable man in a white coat. Alan Edwards had managed to talk Chris Reardon into taking on the role. Great to see Chris back at the club and I’m sure he will continue to “call it as he sees it!”. I’m sure all the boys will be happy to see “Ray” for the rest of the season.
Bromley Common didn’t have an umpire and we would have been in our rights to assume that we had won the toss as the league rules allow us to. In the spirit of cricket we decided we would let the toss of the coin decide the outcome. It was a cold and blustery day and winning the toss allowed us to bowl first.
The opening attack of Mangal Nasiri and Deb Biswas started well and we (Deb on his return to Dulwich after a couple of years away) took a couple of early wickets. Tony McCann for Bromley Common was still there and he has a history of big runs against us. They were 83 for 2 at drinks off 23 overs with Jamie Hall having replaced Deb and a rather wayward Peter Black having taking over from Mangal. The Skipper Tim Brown had just one over before drinks as youngster Stefan Begg had a twinge in his shoulder. A good lesson for Stefan is never to let Tim to get on before you as getting the ball off him is much harder (than anything!).
After drinks the wily duo of Brown and Simon Bailey showed that pace off is a good tactic on the DSG pitches. Bromley Common found it really difficult to score under pressure from the tight bowling and really good tight fielding support from all of the team. 1 wicket from Bails and 3 from Tim as we tightened the screw. Deb was then brought back from the bottom (Turney Road) end and he added the 3 wickets he needed to start his return with a Michelle (… Pfeiffer , Five-for) bowling with control and fire. Shok supported all the bowlers well with a fine display behind the stumps including a stumping standing up to Deb.
They had made 161 in the final over so we knew if we batted well we would be in a good position to win the game and Shok and Alan Edwards started well getting us to 40 without loss.
Alan then played across the line to a shooter and the wickets started to tumble. Jesse was given out lbw and Paul Mayo struggled to get started given the hamstring injury he had picked up when he was fielding. Stefan Begg was promoted up the order to balance the fact he hadn’t managed to bowl a single ball but he never looked comfortable. Shok also perished – facing experienced slow medium bowler Derek Bloomfield Shok was determined that we would not get bogged down in overs of slow scoring, unfortunately he attacked too earlier and to the wrong ball and managed to get out bowled.
Jamie Hall stayed for a while but was really struggling to time the ball before he too went lbw. Peter Black scored a few but could not repeat his big hitting from the week before. Suddenly we had lost 7 for 52. With only three wickets left and 69 to get we were in a tricky spot, although the required rate was only around 5. Bailey and Brown then paired up with the bat much as they had with the ball and worked to get us back into the game. 33 runs later and Simon got a ball that moved a mile off the seam to bowl him and Deb Biswas strode out to the middle. Still game on and Deb mixed a few lusty blows with a few overs of struggling to deal with the moving ball, Building another partnership of 15 before Tim went to a very good catch at first slip – slashing hard and looking for that sneaky edged two. At this stage we needed 20 off a couple of overs and Mangal strode to the crease determined to have a big slog.
The next over was a blur as we turned the pressure back on Bromley Common and almost won the game. A few majestic shots from Mangal and we needed 12 off 4 balls. Finally in trying to turn a 2 into a 3 a run out caused by the confusion and pressure of a close game finally did for us. Another close loss to one of the sides who will challenge for the league.
Given our regularly changing personnel we are putting up a decent showing but we need to concentrate and play our good cricket for the whole game. I am sure if we play well then we will win many more games in this league.
6th Spot and only a win and a bit short of the top! Next week Ex Blues away!
GIBSON’S MAJESTIC AUTHORITY JUST FAILS TO SUBDUE FONTHILL
This game was played in the sylvan, arboreal splendour of the Fonthill Estate: a piece of highly desirable Wiltshire parkland complete with a lake and no less than fourteen varieties of deciduous trees and seven coniferous varieties on parade. The setting cried out for a batting exhibition of stroke-making majesty, artistry and skill. The expectant crowd were not to be disappointed. (Ed’s note: do you carry this “expectant crowd” round with you in your fevered imagination? Writer’s reply: the sheep were watching.)
Dulwich’s openers, Gibson and Nanda, were quick to impose their authority on Fonthill’s bowlers: but this was a game with more ebbs and flows, ups and downs, than Ryan Giggs’ attempts to impose silence on the world’s media. Nanda, Cross and Mascarenhas all came and went after playing cameo vignettes, but it must be said that the cement, adhesive, epoxy resin, and bathroom sealant of Dulwich’s innings was Gibson.
In 1962 Ken Barrington scored 121 at Port of Spain against the bowling of Hall, Griffiths and Sobers. At the time, Barrington’s innings was widely regarded as the finest innings ever played in Test Cricket, given the circumstances, the pitch and the opposition bowling. I would like to say that Jim Gibson’s innings of 52 for Dulwich 7th XI, bore a favourable comparison to that played by Barrington. I would like to say this, but only the stringent libel laws that enslave this country prevent me from doing so. Dulwich completed their allotted 34 overs on 177 for 6. (A tea time shower of rain meant that the innings lost an over.)
At the start of Fonthill’s innings Hawes kept the opening batsmen in a vice-like grip. His bowling was more miserly than the current rates of interest offered by the British Banking Industry for whom, coincidentally, Hawes is gainfully employed. So slow were Fonthill at the beginning of their innings, Dulwich looked to have the game in their pockets. A somewhat less than exuberant Gibson was brought into the attack and it must be said, that from this point the game seemed to slip inexorably from Dulwich’s grasp.
Although Gibson made the breakthrough by dismissing Leete. Then Barker and Jennings were also quickly dispatched by Peters but Power lived up to his name with a superbly measured 93. Burton showed a merciless contempt for the short ball and Fonthill emerged as worthy winners with two overs to spare despite Jon Cross’ valiant attempts to bowl out the last five batsmen.
And so Dulwich continued their tour with the sorry record of played 2, lost 2. However, Sunday’s game against Witham Friary usually takes place after our intrepid heroes have downed several pints of invigorating and revitalising Scruttock’s Olde Dirigible Cider/Furniture restorer, so it may well be that their first victory can be recorded. WATCH THIS SPACE.
A post-match message from Fonthill’s skipper:
From: James Street
Sent: 01 June 2011 18:38
To: Jon Cross
Subject: RE: tour match dulwich c.c. vs. fonthill park c.c. wiltshire
You are most welcome, Jon, we too had a great day and will always look forward to our fixture.
It is just great playing cricket against a team with the attitude and competitiveness you and your troops have, long may it continue…
GIBSON – THE “LE CORBUSIER” OF DULWICH 7TH’S – SKILLFULLY ARCHITECTS GREAT VICTORY
After receiving a mauling at the hands of the Full Monty and Fonthill Park Cricket Clubs, the Dulwich 7th XI tourists arrived at their third fixture like a herd of thirsty elephants who had trekked hundreds of miles across the barren Savannah lands of the Great Rift valley and finally arrived at their favourite watering hole in Witham Friary. They were soon sniffing the nectar of victory when Witham’s openers Comas and Pole were dismissed for 19. Hyde turned the tables, by playing with elegance and wristy fluidity for his 37.
Skipper Smith ran through his Liquorice Allsorts of bowlers and Hawes, Peters, Mascarenhas and Nanda all claimed wickets but none of these bowlers were able to make the incisive inroads that off-spinner Gibson achieved with the not unimpressive figures of 3 for 33. Bowling a lethal mixture of full tosses, long hops and viciously spinning unplayable balls, Gibson wrapped the Witham Friary innings up with a chilling efficiency and the hosts were only able to post a modest 106 all out on the board.
Dulwich’s innings, however, was one of toil and attrition against the Witham bowlers. Unfortunately, these same bowlers did themselves no favours by conceding more wides to the opposition than the Liberal Democratic Party conceded in policies to the Conservatives in order to gain a partial and tenuous grip on power in the House of Commons. Like a glacier moving through a terminal moraine, the Dulwich batsmen edged towards the required score.
At one point, with the score 45 for 4 it seemed that they might stumble and fall down a precipice of their own making. But Gibson arrived at the crease and fought a titanic cat and mouse struggle with ex Dulwich and Minor Counties player, spinner Jerry Barnes who bowled a mixture of skidding leg breaks and seamers reminiscent of his namesake: the great S.F. Barnes.
Gibson prodded and pushed (occasionally pulling Barnes to the square leg boundary with with wrist rolling authority) and carefully allowed Barnes to bowl out his allotted 8 overs (it was a 40 overs a side match). Gibson emerged as top Dulwich run scorer (19) but the most successful player was called Extras who scored no less than 43.
Peters finally hoisted the flag of victory for Dulwich with what can only be described as an unorthodox flat batted tennis shot to the square leg boundary.