Sat 11th June – 4th XI v Spencer

DULWICH 133 (42.5 overs) lost to SPENCER 134-4 (22.2) by 6 wickets

Scorecard

Dulwich 4s lost their third game on the spin on Saturday in a disappointing performance. Things looked ominous on Tuesday night when it appeared that the majority of bowlers in the club seemed to be drawn like a moth to the light to the football and fighting the Russians in France. The skipper with his hands firmly tied selected a team heavy with batting. Sadly, this included the same player twice, who ended up not playing anyway. We were grateful for the fact that he hadn’t written the team on the back of a fag packet as it may have featured a new opening attack of Benson and Hedges.

Copious team changes subsequent to the event meant that the team featured 8 (yes 8!!!!) changes from the previous week. In truth only two actually turned up on the day and credit must go to the Skipper and Simon Bailey for their sterling efforts. Matt must be hard pushed to award the third placed 1 point for the game – although I think I would award it to his dad for turning up to sit through the tosh that we served up and for his pre-match analysis of our performance the week before. He was spot on!

Having been inserted, Julian Dean gave his partner, Guy “Road Runner” Woodgate the benefit of his considerable experience of how to bat on the main square, explaining that the game would be won by adopting an attrittional approach and that getting a score on the board was paramount. Somewhere between that conversation and the end of the fourth over with no runs on the board, Julian forgot his Churchillian speech by slapping the first ball pitched up in the mooooo-zone straight up in the air. Caught Mid-on. 0-1.

Shortly after, Guy was bounced out by a brute of a delivery. The ignominy of being bounced out by our old friend and colleague, Rehan “the Prancing Horse” Malik. 2-2.

Sean “Buster” Keaton looked to be positive. Unfortunately, he too didn’t last long as he was pinned LBW. 4-3 and the opening bowler had the figures of 4-4-0-2.

Enter the skipper to join young Harry Chathli. They both rode their luck early on, picking the gap between keeper and first slip with regularity. The opening bowlers bowled exceptionally tidily and gave nothing away such that we had crept into the 30s in the 18th over. Harry, played one too many unorthodox shots and was comprehensively bowled and Shok went soon after 33-5.

Enter Simon “the Piano Man” Bailey. Until last week’s return to form Simon’ s batting stats since mid-way through last season had resembled a premium rate telephone number 0-8-0-0… Anyhow, a radical rethink of how to go about things has seen a return of confidence for the chunky (or reverse thin as we call it these days) left-handed stodge merchant. With Matt digging in and for once exploring the delights of the off-side, Bails unleashed and middled a couple of trademark short-arm pulls and we were at least off and hobbling…

A rain break with the score on 72 after 25 overs shortened both innings by 5 overs. On return, Spencer introduced spin at both ends. Matt conscious of his reputation for sweeping everything (which he did for the first 5 balls without connecting), unleashed an uncharacteristic cut to the sixth and was promptly caught behind for a well-constructed 30. Stick to the broom Matt. Knighty arrived and took the score beyond 100 with Bails, and a few lusty blows over mid-wicket / cow prompted the return of the quicks. Knighty had a look (for one ball) and then essayed a “metaphorical” mighty haymaker at Rehan and lost his middle stump.  This brought into the fray Stuart Gardner for an entertaining 8 over cameo. If Stuey had connected with only half the shots he offered he would have scored a 20 ball ton and the croquet lawn would have been cratered, but sadly just a couple of lusty blows materialised and a lot of swishing at thin air.

Meanwhile at the other end, Bails accumulated steadily and confidently playing some delightful shots including a back foot glide to the point boundary which seemed to gather pace up the hill. Simon brought up an excellent 50 (or reverse zero as it is called these days) shortly before Stuey was put out of his misery and the innings closed on 133. Respectable really and it was a good save from 4-3. Special mention should go to Rehan who bowled with good pace throughout with the ball occasionally beating his follow-through to the other end. The only bowler I know who could actually field at first slip to himself!

With the need to attack paramount, Dulwich unleashed Knighty to bowl what they hoped was a hostile spell to put the visitors on the back foot. Spencer had given away 5 extras in our innings, a total we had bettered in 1 legitimate ball as Knight generated maximum pace and minimum grouping (or reverse line and length as we call it ). Bails took an outstanding low catch at gully to make a breakthrough, but the score raced along to 50 off 9 overs with the bowling being somewhat erratic (or Knighty not being reverse Knighty). Two quick wickets got us back in the game, but the experienced heads of Spencer’s middle order then took the game by the scruff of the neck and took them home for the loss of 1 further wicket with about 15 overs to spare. The skipper gets another mention for taking a good comedy catch at Mid-Off despite the usual lack of hand-eye co-ordination and at no point looking like catching it! 

The skipper and Simon apart, I think we would all hold our hands up and say we weren’t very good. Hopefully, after two weeks where only 2 or 3 of us have turned up, we will get a grip next week and at least be competitive.

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