Sat 18th June – 7th XI v B of E


The banking industry has endured something of a bad press recently. Thanks to their mismanagement and reckless gambling with other people’s money, the world is now staring into the abyss. It is something of a surprise, therefore, to discover that the Bank of England Club continues to offer superb facilities for the playing of Cricket, Tennis and Squash. Even banks seem to be able to get something right. There is a sting in the tail, however: Young’s Ordinary was priced at £3.45 a pint. Your correspondent has it on reliable authority, that no-one has ever charged £3.45 a pint for this excellent, but usually reasonably priced beverage. Could it be that the private caterers who now run the Bank of England bar, not unlike Messers (sic!) Cameron and Osborne see the way to economic salvation in the following way: “Screw the bastards till the pips squeak and then screw them some more?”

After driving through heavy rainfall for most of the journey, suddenly, over the leafy suburb of Southfields a thin sliver of azure sky appeared: just enough to keep one naval seamstress in gainful employment for a couple of days. As a result the game started on time with Griffiths and Afzal opening the batting for Dulwich. The wicket turned out to be something of a two-faced untrustworthy Nick Clegg of a pitch. It was wet one end but dry and unyielding at the other. Griffiths succumbed quickly to a ball that climbed steeply from back of a length and the game became very attritional for some time as Afzal and the talisman Gibson tried to establish some sort of platform for the innings against some accurate bowling from the precociously talented Ramesh and the more mature Eddows.

Some more critical observers were quick to point out that Gibson and Afzal should have done more to get the score moving. Gibson, in particular, seemed to find himself in the firing line of this vituperation. As a neutral observer, with the benefit of hindsight, your correspondent would like to go on record as saying these criticisms are not entirely without foundation. He persistently missed quick singles that were there for the taking and his mind only seemed half on the problem of nudging, nurdling and rotating the strike. All one can surmise, is that the prospect of becoming a grandfather may have been “getting” to him. Happily, the birth of a 6lbs., 6 ozs. boy on 20th June may have resolved some of Gibson’s off-field concerns and we can look forward to some more fluent innings from this cricketing yeoman in the future. At length, Gibson succumbed to a full toss which may have had some late reverse swing on it. He was swiftly followed by what on paper should have been the Howitzers of the Dulwich batting order: Rochford, Pylas and Owen all failed to make significant contributions and at 55 for 5 it would be fair to say that the 7th’s found themselves deeply embedded in a particularly noxious and copious amount of foul-smelling excrement.

It was at this point, that things took a dramatic and unexpected turn for the better. Drafted in at the eleventh hour by his tenant, Rochford, Rob “Landlord” Branch arrived at the crease and without too much ceremony proceeded to cow shot both J and R Kendall to most parts of SW17 with some uncompromising and effective biffs. Branch finally succumbed with a debut score of 22. Meanwhile, at the other end, Afzal, who had survived all the innings’ vicissitudes, was steadily acquiring a shrewdly compiled 43. The pair added 39 to the score. Branch was replaced by the saxophonist O’Higgins, who had eschewed a “gig” at a Swanley nudist camp to play here today. We can only conjecturalise as to why O’Higgins made this surprising decision. Did O’Higgins have some inside information that the female residents of this establishment were not a particularly attractive bunch? Did O’Higgins worry about his own “equipment” being uninsured and therefore vulnerable to misuse? Your correspondent has never attempted to play the saxophone in the nude, but one does wonder if certain parts of the anatomy may impede a musician of O’Higgins undoubted stature while attempting to play a particularly intricate solo number. Whatever, O’Higgins batted very creditably for undefeated 8 and John Smith was run out on 3. Dulwich finished with a total of 120.

Opener Gallimore was dropped by wicket keeper Griffiths off the fully clothed O’Higgins on the first ball of the Bank’s innings. This was unfortunate as Gallimore proceeded to make a further 16 before succumbing to a viciously turning off break, delivered from round the wicket by Gibson. Could the old Merlin of spin weave his magic web yet again and destroy the bank’s batting through cunning flight and guile? Unfortunately, we will never know: Gibson was removed from the attack after a couple of his deliveries slightly strayed from “the corridor of uncertainty” and were smacked for four by the unforgiving Lewis. He was replaced by the ex-government apparatchik David Ward who deftly dismissed Broughton who did not offer a stroke to a well-flighted googly which thudded into the top of the stumps. Ward was to make further inroads by dismissing Campbell, but bowlers Owen and Umesh could make no further impact and the Bank passed Dulwich’s total comfortably with 3 overs to spare and losing only 5 wickets.

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