Sat 28th May – 7th XI v Fonthill Park


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…

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