Archive | July, 2012

Sun May 27th – 7th XI v Witham Friary


The narrative behind today’s game does not begin at the start of the match, but in the smoke-filled denizens of the oak-panelled snug bar of the George Inn, Castle Cary, Somerset where the Captain and the Tour Organiser but, significantly, not the Vice-Captain met to select the Dulwich team for this game. It is a moot point as to whether these two professors represent the epitome of sagacity and insight into the game of Cricket. Many neutral observers were left speculating on their selection policy for today’s game. As the name implies: the Dulwich 7th XI has at its disposal a glittering array of swashbuckling willow wielders and purveyors of subtly flighted spin. One has only to cast a casual glance at the scorebook for the corresponding 2011 fixture to find the names of some of these multi-talented players. Inexplicably, none of these players (although available) found themselves in the team. Instead, the septagenarian Peter Rochford made his debut: arguably, the oldest debutante in the history of the game.

 But enough of this fatuous preamble (Ed’s note: yes, enough is definitely enough!) let us turn our attention to what actually took place in the match. Owen, Dulwich’s opening bat, sadly made little impact, finding himself bowled by a straight one in a very similar fashion to the way Matt Prior had been dismissed by Darren Sammy just an hour earlier in the Test Match. It must be said, however, that your correspondent struggles to find any further similarities between Mike Owen and the England wicket keeper. Your correspondent had the same difficulty when he came to compare and analyse the performances of the Witham Friary wicket keeper and his England counterpart. It is true that they both have beards and are well versed in the political shenanigans that take place in such hotbeds of  Machiavellian intrigue as the House of Commons and the England dressing room, but it must be said that Matt Prior and David Heath find themselves in different constellations when it comes to Wicket keeping. Matt Prior would have struggled to emulate Heath’s two efficient stumpings this afternoon. But let us return to the main events of the match: the Dulwich innings began to gain momentum when Webster and Mascarenhas found themselves at the crease.  However, the initiative was wrested from them by some resolute Witham Friary bowling and some less than satisfactory running between the wickets which resulted in the octogenarian Rochford  left high and dry: not for the first time in his long and eventful career.

At length, Dulwich reached what has become a “par” score of 152 all out. The last batsman, Smith, was dismissed for 0, when he departed from his usual modus operandi: the optimistic leg side hoick into cow-shot corner. Though this shot has not been particularly lucrative for the President over the years, it is what all his admirers have come to expect. It was something of a shock, therefore, to see him get out for 0 attempting an off-side shot. This is clearly not to be advised again.

A tea of sumptuous comestibles was served in the church hall and the game resumed with Dulwich in control and Witham Friary in disarray at 19 for 4, including the much prised scalp of the Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, who generously offered the Dulwich fielders some gentle catching practice. If only the coalition government could be equally beneficent in their fiscal policies. The youthful sapling of a cricketer Rob(?) Wood led the recovery and it is remarkable that the most technically correct forward defensive shot played by any batsman on either side was that of Rob(?) Wood. Despite Wood’s resolute defence all looked set for a win by Dulwich until the uncompromising Paul Wacey arrived at the crease. It was clear that Wacey, with his pugnacious pulls and drives had the capability to win the match for Witham Friary. It was, therefore, an horrific moment for Dulwich when the nonagenarian Peter Rochford dropped a regulation catch behind the stumps from Wacey. 

It was finally left to Peters (regarded in some quarters, as Dulwich 7th XI’s most valuable player) to bowl Wacey and then the obdurate but precocious Wood departed thanks to a wonder slip catch by Arts Council apparatchik Ward. And so, this fluctuating and pulsating game of Cricket entered its fifth act. The counter distractions of BMX Bikers,  passing Roto Bull Mengele silage carriers and the noisy activities of the nearby campanologists were all forgotten as Webster and Hawes put pressure on the Witham Friary lower order batsmen. Dulwich had not reckoned, however, with trenchant pulling and driving of Comas at no. 10, but even he was no match for the accurate Webster and Witham Friary duly succumbed to 132 all out. Both teams repaired to the local hostelry where some members of the Dulwich team partook of the local cider, while others took quantities of the beverage home in specially supplied jamjars to assist them in their paint stripping endeavours.

Sat May 26th – 7th XI v Fonthill Park


In 1917 the Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace in Petrograd and brought about the socialist revolution which led to the foundation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This country stayed in existence till 1990, when it collapsed under the weight of its own economic and political exhaustion. The performance of the Dulwich 7th XI in the field in today’s game against Fonthill Park bore a considerable resemblance to the history of the Soviet Union. Captain John Smith (who wears a moustache not dissimilar to the one worn by Joseph Stalin) led his men out and urged them on to ever more Stakhanovite labours. For the unitiated, Aleksei Stakhanov was a miner who laboured ceaselessly in the second 5 year plan in 1935 and produced an unpredented 102 tons of coal in 6 hours. Sadly, all this was to no avail: the tide of history in the shape of opening batsman Lord Rawlinson was ultimately against them. Lord Rawlinson, ably assisted by several other revisionists and White Russians in the Fonthill side, mounted an assault on the Dulwich proletariat with a series of disdainful carves, cuts and cleaves to all parts of the Fonthill Park Estate. The subtle and delicate flight and guile of Gibson was subject to a particularly disrespectful mauling by the patrician Rawlinson.  Eventually, Gibson was removed from the attack by Stalin and sent to the Gulag outfield where he proceeded to field like a three legged dromedary with piles. 

At length, Rawlinson fell to the Menshevik Mascarenhas, with his medley of moderate military medium pacers and Fonthill finished on the apparently unassailable 283 in 40 overs. 

Cook and Blench started the innings in sprightly fashion, but Cook’s less than sprightly running between the wickets proved to be his Achilles heel. Branch and Webster essayed some robust strokes and at the other end Blench continued his progress towards his century not unlike Cleopatra’s barge of “burnished gold with sails so perfumed that the winds were lovesick. “ (Act 2 Antony & Cleopatra by Shakespeare). Unfortunately, the barge never quite achieved the speed required for victory and Fonthill Park completed a hatrick of victories. But, Fonthill, a word of warning: Next year Dulwich 7th XI will screw their courage to the sticking place and they will not fail. The one flaw in this argument is that it was used by Lady Macbeth and we all know what happened to her. 

Sat 21st July – 4th XI v Ashtead

DULWICH 128-7 beat ASHTEAD 71 by 57 runs


Heavy overnight rain left some large puddles of water on DSG, with the pitch itself looking good everyone was keen to play so a 12pm meet became a 10.30am working party and work the 4s did. Sweeping, mopping, forking and ark building saw the pitch to a playable state.

Ashstead won the toss and decided to swim first, which left Chris "he likes a drive" Ford and Yogi Kemp with the difficult task of rowing out to bat first. Both openers got of the mark quickly and despite some good bowling they managed to take Dulwich past 50 at nearly 3 an over. Yogi Kemp was first to go trying to come back for seconds only to be turned away by ranger Smith, leaving Dulwich on 68-1, this quickly became 79-7 as the middle order collapsed. The rush of wickets took Steve Johns by surprise, leaving him dashing back to the pavilion for his pads. Unfortunately he didn't make it in time so skipper Simon "6 weeks holiday" Bailey moved himself up to 9 and went to join Rez Bopara at the crease. Both men dug in and guided Dulwich to 128-7 from 42 overs. Rez finished 33 not out.

Dulwich took to the field in confident mood and soon had the chance to celebrate with Kanak "the legend" Patel taking early wickets.  Beggsy even managed a diving catch at gully which saw him clutch the ball and then his sun glasses in 1 big heap! Wickets fell at regular intervals, and when Kanak delivered the ball of the season to see of Ashstead's skipper the doggies smelt victory. Kanak finished with 5 for 21, Beggsy chipped in with 4 for 17 and Ravi Haque took just 2 balls to finish things off. Ashstead all out for 71, giving Dulwich the 13 points.

A superb effort all round, especially the number of people who turned up early to help out. Great work fellas.

Sat 7th July – 1st XI v Beddington


DULWICH 128 (37.4) lost to BEDDINGTON 129-4 (40) by 6 wickets


Dulwich were thoroughly outplayed in their Ryman Surrey Championship Division 1 match at Beddington, and went down to defeat by six wickets.

Dulwich chose to bat on a dampish wicket, but openers Richard Farrow and Anil Mahey, aided by a succession of wides, started positively, putting on 26 for the first wicket in 5.1 overs before the captain fell for 8, off 18 balls. Farrow and South African OP James Price took the score on to 48 before Farrow fell for 13, off 25 balls, off the first ball of the 12th over. Price and Nick Storey had advanced to 67-2 after 15 overs at drinks, but Storey then fell for 2 off 13 balls just before rain brought an early lunch three balls later. After the resumption the next three batsmen scored only two runs between them as Dulwich declined to 78-6 after 20.5 overs, the last four wickets having fallen for just 11 runs. Once again it was James Balmforth who stopped the rot, joining Price in a seventh wicket stand of 33 before Price fell lbw with the score on 111. His innings of 51, off 75 balls, was his third fifty of the season. Balmforth became only the third Dulwich batsman to make double figures, before being ninth out for a dogged 15 off 47 balls. The last four wickets went down for 17 runs to see Dulwich dismissed for 128 in the 38th over.

The Beddington reply started steadily with the openers putting on 24 for the first wicket in 7.2 overs. A wicket apiece for Mark Kelly, Tom Savill, and Chris Lester saw them reduced to 46-3 after 19 overs, but opener Ian Gamble remained unperturbed, grinding his way to 39 not out off 110 balls. Hopes of a Dulwich fightback were thwarted by a fourth wicket stand of 67 with Tom Bevan, who made 41 off 60 balls before falling to Arun Mahey. Graham Lester then saw his side home with 14* off 12 balls.

An ignominious display was capped when the side dashed home without socialising at all with the opposition. They were so eager to get away that they even left without their scorer. It had better not happen again…

Next week they will be hoping for a better display in every respect when facing another tough match, at home to top of the table Spencer.

Sat 30th June – 4th XI v Normandy

NORMANDY 194-8 lost to DULWICH 197-7 by 3 wickets


Dulwich 4s maintained their unbeaten record but it took a superb performance with the bat to do so. Normandy traveled to Dulwich with a mix of youth and experience, and after being put into bat by Dulwich lost some early wickets and at one stage could have been looking at a disappointing total. Mangal Nasiri was once again tight with the ball and he was supported by Phil 'The Power' Robinson, with both striking early. At drinks the talk in the huddle was keeping Normandy to not much more than 100 but that target had to be revised as 1 Normandy batsmen aged just 15 took the Dulwich bowlers on with some fantastic hitting, he rode his look at times with some sloppy fielding but passed 100 and finished with a terrific 122 not out, a real prospect for the future.

Normandy closed their innings on 194-8, a well deserved total but Dulwich left the field disappointed that they hadn't capitalised on their early dominance. 5 catches went down and some slow fielding gave Normandy more 2s than Dulwich would have liked. Wickets for Robinson, Begg, Chudley and Nasiri. 2 catches for Skipper Bailey (1 diving away at gully, with gravity seemingly absent for a moment as his sizeable frame left the ground to take a good catch off Chudley), 1 catch each for McGowan and Begg.

After tea Dulwich wanted to get off to a good start but a mixture of good bowling and poor batting quickly saw Dulwich reduced to 25-4 after just 8 overs. Paul McGowan and Rez Haque steadied the ship a little but when Rez fell for 15, Dulwich were 5 down and a long way from victory. Phil 'The Power' Robinson strode out to the middle to join Paul and the 2 quickly set about the Normandy bowling and began to claw Dulwich back into the game. As the boundaries began to flow victory began to look more and more likely. Both Paul and 'The Power' passed 50 despite Paul wearing a nasty looking low blow that saw him knocked to the ground for several minutes. Paul eventually went for 71 followed by 'The Power' for 60, but by this stage Dulwich needed just 20 runs from the remaining 5 overs. An unusual decision from skipper Bailey saw David Begg promoted from his usual spot at number 11 to 8. The gamble paid off with Begg's calypso dancing at the crease confusing Normandy into thinking he had more than 1 shot meaning he could sweep a couple of vital boundaires before the gap was plugged. It was too late though with Begg and vice-captain Chudley seeing Dulwich home with 6 balls to spare. 

The win keeps Dulwich top of the table at the half way stage but with local rivals Spencer away next week, there will be plenty more tests (although not the 5 day kind!) to follow.

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