Sun 1st May – Academy vs Long Ditton
The Dulwich Academy side started their season with a friendly match at home to Long Ditton on Sunday. After collapsing to 23-5 chasing 165, they achieved a remarkable victory with their last pair together.
The visitors chose to bat, but did not find it easy on a lively pitch. Good bowling by Mark Kelly, with 3-21 off 8 overs, and Zubi Mohammad with 3-16 off 7 overs, helped reduce them to 116-9 in the 32nd over, with only two batsmen making double figures. An unbeaten last wicket stand of 49 against a variety of bowlers provided unexpected resistance, and Long Ditton closed on 165-9 after their 40 overs. Their total was boosted by 50 extras, including 36 wides as several bowlers struggled with their line in the strong wind.
Dulwich thus found themselves facing a more daunting task than had earlier seemed likely, but their target appeared ever more distant in the face of a devastating performance by Jimmy Chapple, who took 5-5 in his opening 5 over spell to reduce them to 23-5 after 10 overs. It fell to Richard Farrow to turn the innings around, which he did expertly, adding 63 for the 6th wicket with Rory Balfour, who made 14, and 44 for the 7th with Tom Barnard.
The score had reached 130 when Farrow fell for 72, scored at a run a ball, and Barnard was bowled by Chapple for 13 in the next over. With Euan Johnson absent due to an earlier injury, Dulwich found their last pair together at 132-8 in the 32nd over, still needing 34 to win. Once again the last wicket pair proved up to the task, and Seamus Betts (20 off 19 balls) and Sunil Mahey, batting at number 9 due to an injured finger (10 including a 6 off Chapple), saw their side home with 14 balls to spare. Chapple finished with 6-16 off his 8 overs.
The young player’s match award went to Balfour, in his first match for the Academy, who recovered from a wayward first spell to come back to take 1-22 in his last 6 overs, and then helped stabilise the innings with his crucial partnership with Farrow.