Dulwich 3rd XI got their Surrey Premier League season under way on the dankest of Saturdays against defending champions Reigate Priory.
Captain Simon Leather made a promising start to his campaign by winning an important toss. With the pitch and outfield resembling a scale model of the Battle of Ypres terrain – and one or two of the Dulwich contingent having played not entirely unreasonable rain cards the night before – conditions looked ideal for bowling first, getting the job done quickly and disappearing for anywhere with a roof. Or so Dulwich presumed before a glance at the scoreboard after 5 overs showed Reigate Priory had casually skipped to 36 for the loss of no wicket.
It was at this point the fielding side were kindly offered a cloth by the umpires to dry a ball that had picked up a degree moisture on its frequent dribbles through the aqueous outfield to roughly where the boundary rope was submerged. Debutant Ram 'Jones' Rethinasamy used his better grip on the sponge to quickly dispatch the top three batsmen, one of them bowled with a decent one that nipped away.
Pace off the bowl was to prove instrumental in dismissing Reigate for 119. James Chudley and Fitness First's Joel Garthwaite (4-26 from 9 eight-ball overs) rolled their arms over and a combination of the boggy pitch and some unfortunate cross-stroked shots saw several skied chances provided which were all either well caught or comfortably juggled by Leather, Prasanna Callaghan and Garthwaite. Sam Adcock (2-25) with his leggies and Rethinasamy (4-37) finished off the innings.
A good effort in horrible conditions by Dulwich – though, sodden ball or not, wides second-top scoring with 20 was a little concerning. As were the three contracted cases of trench foot.
Chasing 120 to win in 45 overs, the reply was launched in style by Adcock. The left-hander showed good positive intent and used his feet against both quick and slow bowlers to push Dulwich's innings along at pace. With several nicely-struck 6s, he had raced to 53 out of a total of 83 before miscuing one high to midwicket.
The innings was eventually coaxed past the target by Andy Cornick (40*) and Oliver Steward (7*) with 18 overs to spare, to the delight of their freezing team mates.
With everyone else in the league sensibly deciding this was no day for a game of cricket, Dulwich have given themselves a handy 9 point head start after Round 1.
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