Sat 14th May – 2nd XI v Oxted and Limpsfield

DULWICH 115-8 (46) beat OXTED AND LIMPSFIELD 114 (47.3) by two wickets


When asked to describe the definition Total Football, the late, great Johan Cruyff described it as the tactics where “attackers could play as defenders and defenders as attackers. Everyone could play everywhere.” Last Saturday at Burbage Road, the Dulwich 2nd XI channeled the legend of Cryuff and gave Oxted & Limpsfield a lesson in 1970’s Dutch flair.

With ears still burning following a pathetic fielding display the previous week, skipper Johan Bridgland Cryuff decided to take things back to basics with a game of shorts vs trackies football and some kamikaze team fielding. Having survived all activities unscathed and injury free, the toss took place and we were in the field.

After a brutal opening spell last week in which he could have easily bagged a ‘Michelle’, the skipper was again revved up from the Turney Road end, beating the opposition skipper's outside edge at will whilst roughing up his partner. Both struggled to cope with the pace and aggression of both Bridgland and a return to form Kam Munawar until the 9th over when some frank and honest advice from the square leg fielder saw the captain trapped LBW by Bridgland. Two balls later and Bridgland was at it again, this time bowling their number three. With Oxted and Limpsfield on the backfoot, Dulwich strapped in for 15 overs of attrition from the brains trust of Ferguson and Quaife. Whist the opposition batsmen struggled to cope and the corden struggling to stay awake, the boys ushered themselves into drinks with two overs of fun at the expense of Matt 'Colly/Dimi' Quaife, and a would-be-partnership-breaking over courtesy of the baby-faced Ben Lester.

Coming out for the second half with the score at 4/52, Ferguson completed his spell with the absurd figures of 2/11 for the second week in a row, before Munawar came back to blast out the middle order with his finest spell of 2016 and close out with 2/35. With Quaife’s (0/18 off nine) face looking redder than Angus Fraser’s into the wind at Barbados, the skipper (2/18) decided nine overs was enough for the young PHD student and so decided to bring himself back on for a second gallop to see whether we could polish things off for an early tuna sandwich. Despite not adding to his first spell two-for, runs were still at a premium and so it was left to the pin up Lancastrian Ben Lester (3-18 off five) to wrap things up with a fine spell of tweakers, mixing things up expertly with a bowled victim, a stumping courtesy of AJ (who had a fine day behind the sticks) and a chip up to Screech at mid-wicket. Arguably the most improved player in SE24, the young Vernon Kaye seems set for a huge 2016, despite the threat from a team littered with talented (yet unused) off spinners. Despite 20 runs in wides and no balls, we were pretty satisfied bowling Oxted out for 114.

Unfortunately, the response didn’t go plan. In what we can only hope was our worst two hour spell of the season, emerged a performance by two stalwarts of Dulwich that will long live in the memory, as skipper ‘Johan Cruyff’ Bridgland and Matt ‘Johan Neeskens’ Quaife together played a partnership of Total Cricket that will send shockwaves around Cranleigh, Roehampton and Croydon. At 7/74, Quaiffey entered the fray with the wicket crowded and Oxted on top. Unperturbed, the scholar was quick to counter, dancing down the track at will to punch straight whilst defending resolutely with discipline unseen previously by his colleagues. It was a batting masterclass that will surely be drawn upon throughout the year in loftier batting positons. At the other end, AJ was cool and calm, playing a counter punching innings of his own before some well earned praise from his team mates on the sidelines delivered the mocker's curse and his downfall via a slash to point. 8/82 off 35. Enter skipper Bridgland, all shoulders, chaffe and determination. On his first trip to the middle since August (so fresh that he forgot he wore glasses when batting), the skipper looked every bit a top order batsmen as he too mixed perfect defence with sharp footwork and counter attacking drives. As confidence grew, he was soon taking on throws where he knew the keeper was unsighted by the sun. Fluke, stupidity or genius? Soon there were three on the fence, as the experienced Oxted and Limspfield lineup had no answers for our Dutch masters, who put on a masterclass in discipline, strike rotation and stroke play. It was Total Cricket at its best. Running out of bowling options, the Oxted leader turned to his 15 year-old opening bowler and destroyer of the Dulwich top order. Would he produce another stunning return catch? Or another straight gazunder? In the end, as the Dulwich heroes glided and clipped him around – from 6/58 and 7/74, the doggies were home in a canter. Top of the league. Easy! Easy (ahem – not quite)!

Next stop Mark Carney’s Bank of England and some of the finest sarnies in the Surrey.

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