Sat 12th May – 7th XI v Catford & Cyphers

DULWICH 105 beat Catford & Cyphers 63 by 42 runs


It has long been recognised by the intelligentsia and the literati that Cricket has much in common with the game of Chess: the shrewd use of finite resources, the deployment of key pieces at the appropriate moments and the ability to administer the coup de grace in the endgame. Today’s game, at the Rubens Street ground in SE23, was a classic example of the extraordinary similarities between the two games. Gibson, Dulwich’s captain today, has many of the qualities of the American Grand Master: Bobby Fischer. Both are keen cyclists (Ed’s note: what has that got to do with the price of fish?) and both possess a comprehensive understanding of strategy in their respective disciplines. What is even more remarkable is the self-effacing modesty and humility they both display in the milieux in which they move.
Fischer/Gibson having lost the toss, found himself “playing with the black pieces” and was “inserted” by the Catford & C skipper. Fischer/Gibson opened with a classic Morphy/Staunton combination of simultaneously moving two central pawns forward with a view to gaining control of the centre of the board. The combination of a jazz saxophonist and a solicitor as an opening pair (in the shape of O’Higgins and Griffiths) would surely see Dulwich controlling the game within a matter of a few overs. Sadly, this was not to be the case, the Catford skipper assiduously manipulated his knights, bishops and rooks with such effectiveness, on a sluggish and unresponsive pitch and removed Dulwich’s early batting with consummate ease. An element of bathos was introduced when Branch hoicked the ball to the Square leg boundary, only to discover he had, unfortunately, tripped over himself and fallen on his own wicket. Nevertheless, the shot should serve notice on Dulwich’s forthcoming opponents in 2012: Branch is not a batsman to be trifled with! Having played several game-changing, swash- buckling innings last season, great things are expected from this unorthodox but effective willow wielder.
It was left to Storey, coming in at number 6, to play an innings of great responsibility (36) with support from Gibson, Rehan Malik, Lindsay Morton and Sam Hulcoop. David Hawes also batted. Dulwich limped to a total of 101(?) all out. Had this been a chess match, the aficionados would have averred that the teams were level on material at tea and the game would be won by the player who now utilised his pieces with the greatest effectiveness. The “middle game” is where Chess matches are often won or lost.
Fischer/Gibson used the prosaic but persistent medium pace of merchant banker Hawes as his opening gambit, while, at the other end, the fiery Malik attempted to extract some life from a moist pitch. He was not unrewarded: removing the off-stump of the opening bat. Fischer continued to make inroads into Catford’s material, by skilfully moving his Queen (Lindsay Morton) into the attack. With a series of Coneyesque dibbly-dobblies, Morton contrived to take no less than four wickets. Malik dazzlingly ran out the opposing skipper with a direct hit on the stumps, Gibson using flight and guile, lured a greenhorn batsman from his crease and Hulcoop executed an efficient stumping, Aditya Verma bowled the penultimate batsman and it was left to the saxophonist O’Higgins to literally expose Catford’s Achilles heel by striking the number 11 on this part of his anatomy for an unlikely lbw from a full toss. Fischer/Gibson had used no less than seven bowlers, in spells of varying length, in reducing Catford to a total of 63 all out and many spectators went home marvelling at the depth of his tactical acuity and perspicacious cricketing acumen. Dulwich 7th’s start the season with a 100% record! Played 1, Won 1, Lost 0, Drawn 0.
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