Sat 14th May – 3rd XI v Ashtead

Dark clouds passing over Box Hill with sunny patches thrown in greeted the Dulwich 3rds to Ashtead’s away ground for the second league fixture of 2011– and the mixed weather probably should have been used as an indication of things to come.

Skipper Sleather won the toss and decided to bowl on what looked like a flat but green tinged surface. Despite an early wicket, Ashtead soon settled into their work and were cruising along well and settled into a comfortable 117-2 at drinks. Over sugary squash the plan was to work hard for the remaining 25 overs and snaffle a few wickets to get back into the game. 3 catches (all off the bowling of Graeme ‘Hoffman’) were duly floored and for a brief time frustration set in. Soon though, a steady spell from Zakir Rostami (4-52, including a hat-trick chance)  pegged back Ashtead who teetered at 190-7, before a century-maker, some concentration lapses and the visual impediments of England’s most wooded-county contrived to let the total required slip to 249 from 50 overs.

In reply, Dulwich started solidly, with Steward and Siddle putting on 87 in 17 overs before Siddle (58) fell to a poorly executed pull shot, enabling wicket taker Rostami to arrive at the crease. Before long, Steward had come out of his shell and clawed his way to 70, before falling to one of a couple decent spinners in the opposition attack. Rostami (57 no) continued, and with the help of brief cameos by Miley and Leather, advanced the score to the point where a comfortable run a ball from the last 5 overs would clinch a deserved victory. However, it was not to be, as tight bowling and increasing pressure proved too much for the remainder of the innings, and we ended the game 7 runs short despite having 6 wickets in hand.

 The result was a harsh reminder of the small margins in cricket, and will no doubt be used as a motivational tool for the rest of the season.

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