Sat 14th May – 7th XI v Nat West Amblers
7s without credit as the Bank calls the shots
Nat West Amblers 294-4 (40 overs) beat Dulwich 133 all out
With much anticipation the 7s – formerly and forever known as the 6s despite the recent Great Name Robbery – rolled up against Nat West for their first game of the season in a metaphorical Triumph Stag and bounded out with a spring-like Terry-thomas gait and a cheery wave. Within an hour and a half of the start the 7s were already rolled over and heading for a sound thrashing. ’I say’, indeed.
The team was skippered by the brave David Straker, with the regular duo of John Smith and Jimmy Gibson absent. John was on a trip to the Midlands and vice skip Gibbo acting in a medical role-play. Reports that it was prostate s(t)imulation have been vigorously, though not too forcefully, denied by his agent.
David’s wide-eyed enthusiasm and positivity - generated through many years playing in higher teams - was soon broken by the realities of an early season Dulwich 7th team. The opposition openers, hitherto not known as calypso cricketers, started quickly in the face of indifferent bowling and reached a total of 184 before Pratish Solanki made the breakthrough.
The bowling was generally patchy with numerous wides, perhaps some overzealously called as if an IPL match, slapping into the gloves of a frequently diving and increasingly exasperated Steve Choney. Perhaps the single-minded careerists Hawes and O’Higgins, called up at the start of the new season for the higher teams (and therefore possibly treading the path of upwardly-mobile former 7s alumni such as Nanda, Osborn and countless others), would have made a difference.
The bowlers were not helped by some fielding mishaps that should have been accompanied by music that is usually heard at Billy Smart’s Big Top. That said, Nat West’s subsequent mid-order batsmen provided no respite for Dulwich’s toiling bowlers. The formerly teenaged opposition middle order – once wiry and callow but now young men – greedily devoured the pies and sent the ball to all parts of Beckenham as they fell only just short of the magic 300.
The situation demanded a response from the 7s top order.
The response was forthcoming. But it was to wave flags as big and as white as witnessed on any Italian tank. John Cross with his mind on his newborn, a returning Clarky with his thoughts on smashing them out of the ground and Simon ‘Sparky’ Peters dreaming of his fuses and screwdrivers all promised much but failed. Griffiths, Rochford jnr and others surrendered even more tamely. Notable exceptions were Solanki with bat (and earlier, to some extent, with ball), a late contribution from Ward and the skipper, generous to a tee, batted at 7 and gamely and skilfully amassed an invaluable 37 as Dulwich narrowly avoided an ego-shattering 200 run defeat.
So, one of the 7s worse cricketing days, but hope, and beer, springs eternal and next Saturday sees… wait, who are the visitors at the DSG? Why, it is the Nat West Amblers and the second in The Series. Another weekend, another match…I say!