Sun 5th June – Development XI v Leatherhead

DULWICH 189-7 dec drew with LEATHERHEAD 171-9

With several youngsters missing due to school exams, the Development Team that lined up at Leatherhead on Sunday bore more of a resemblance to a Dad’s Army parade. Only Harry Chathli (U15) and Cormac Meade (U14) were younger than Corporal Pike!

Dulwich’s Captain Mainwaring won the toss and elected to bat first in a time game that was as rare as the warm and sunny conditions. Leatherhead’s picturesque ground boasts a good batting surface and the Dulwich opening pair of Julian (Private Walker) Dean and Sakib Rashed got off to a confident start. The score had moved along to 36 before Sakib was unluckily run out – your scribe hastens to add that this was not due to Julian’s calling, but the fact that Sakib slipped over in mid-wicket and couldn’t make his ground in time. Zakir Rostami then joined Private Walker, but the latter departed soon afterwards, holing out at cover for 22. Had he given his wicket away deliberately? Or was it just a coincidence that he was seen shortly afterwards attempting to sell silk stockings to the females among the small crowd soaking up the sun on the pavilion boundary?

Anyway, back to the real action. Harry Chathli Junior came in at number four and settled down nicely against some fairly testing bowling from a generally young Leatherhead attack. [Captain Mainwaring had already enquired of the opposing skipper why the home side were able to field so many young players in their team – he never did tell us the answer, but do the younger generation not take exams so seriously in the leafy suburbs?]

But Zaki and young Harry gradually got on top of the bowling, even if their slow-left armer did pose particular problems, and with a fair sprinkling of boundaries they put on over a century stand before Harry was caught at slip for 25 with the score on 157. Harry Junior was then replaced by eleventh hour replacement Harry Senior, but Dad fell victim to a blinding one-handed catch at backward square leg – that’ll teach him for picking out the tallest player on the opposition! Zaki marched on towards his century, but fell six runs short, well held at cover point off the slow left-armer. Cormac Meade hit a solid boundary as the declaration approached and after a clatter of wickets Captain Mainwaring decided to call a halt after 43 overs with the score on 189 for 7. Trevor (Private Godfrey) Griffiths was next in when the declaration came. Rumour has it that Mainwaring thought Godfrey has gone off to spend a penny, but in fact he was padded up and ready to bat and a trifle miffed that he didn’t get in. Surely that was no way to treat the joint leading wicket-taker on the 7th XI’s recent tour to Somerset. Mainwaring will surely have to explain his actions at this week’s selection committee and is likely to be severely censured.

The way the Leatherhead innings started suggested Dulwich’s total was not enough. The two openers took full advantage of anything loose, particularly when Cormac Meade dropped it short, and had 43 on the board inside eight overs. But paceman Jaba Jumagul then ‘timbered’ both of them and the introduction of Graeme Hough ensured that the run rate decreased at one end at least. After a lengthy period of little bowling due to his shoulder injury, Tony (Sergeant Wilson) Ebert joined Graeme in an all-spin attack which quickened up the over rate and kept the home side interested in pursuing their target. Although Sergeant Wilson generally bowled well, he was prone to bowl the odd four-ball which the tall man on the opposition summarily despatched into the hedge around the square-leg boundary. Whenever this happened, Mainwaring at slip was seen to raise his eyebrows to the heavens as if in despair. He really should have more faith in his trusty second in command! But ‘Wilson’ still grabbed a couple of wickets, as did the ever reliable Mr Hough at the far end. The second of the latter’s victims was neatly pocketed by Private Godfrey, just a few balls after he had reluctantly joined the close catchers. The home side continued their chase, but would probably have got much closer if they had put the Dad’s Army fielders under more pressure. In the event, Jaba replaced the tiring Sergeant Wilson and captured two more wickets, but Dulwich could not force a victory and the home side closed on 171-9, the ninth wicket falling off the last ball of the 40th and final over. So the match was drawn. Jaba finished with figures of 4-37, Graeme with 2-43 off 16 overs, and Sergeant Wilson with 2-57.

Harry Chathli received the Young Man of the Match award for his innings of 25 which suggests that he is now returning to the form he showed last season.

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