Sat 18th June – 2nd XI v Cranleigh

DULWICH 182-5 (44) beat CRANLEIGH 181 (52) by 5 wickets


Dulwich journeyed into darkest Surrey in order to take on the, as yet, undefeated table toppers Cranleigh. Once again, captain James Bridgland proved to be a fine tosser by electing to bowl first on a damp track.

Bridgland opened the bowling alongside medium pace, 80s shorts enthusiast Matt Quaife. Earlier in the day, Bridgland had succumbed to hubris by declaring that Ajmal Patankar was "the best keeper-batsman in the league". This unwelcome moniker was to be Patankar's nemesis. With captain Bridgland's words hanging like a Sword of Damocles over his head, Patankar duly proceeded to shell two sitters. Medium pacer Collingwood's Quaife's early parsimony subsided as he appeared to fatigue, complaining of a headache and acid reflux; clearly symptoms of a 'quiet' Friday night. Dulwich found themselves in the rare position of the opposition being wicket-less at the end of the opening spell.

A change in the bowling brought a flurry of wickets, including a fine slip catch by Raj Tulsiani, the Asian Mark Cosgrove, off of the bowling of Stuart Ferguson. Both Ferguson and Patrick George, who had replaced the medium pace Ealham Quaife, salvaged control and brought the opposition run-rate beneath 3 an over. On receipt of his fourth wicket, sensing that he might have to reach for his wallet at the end of the game, the frugal Ferguson gestured to be taken off.

Medium pacer de Freitas Quaife returned and immediately brought some much-needed comedy to the proceedings, by bowling a truly terrible leg cutter which bounced a least five times on its way to gully. Mascarenhas Quaife maintains that this was the first time in ten years that he has been laughed at on a cricket pitch, although, having spoken to some of the 7th XI, I am assured that this is not the case. At some point, it had appeared as if Cranleigh would struggle to make 150 yet, following some sensible batting, they posted 181.

After tea, openers Tulsiani and Luke Cheadle were given 47 overs to chase the target. Tulsiani, fearing anaphylaxis induced by being so far from the urban sprawl, vanquished the opposition's opening bowlers. Captain Bridgland, having not learnt from his prior over confidence, decided to make a wager on when Tulsiani would reach his 50. In this instance, fate was kind to Bridgland as Tulsiani continued to impress with some powerful straight drives and pull shots. Upon reaching his 50, the final rum and coke of the previous night's escapades had been sweated out, leaving Tulsiani with cramp in his right leg. Would it be possible for Tulsiani to bat with more abandon? Needless to say, the next ball sailed over long on for 6.

With the opening partnership having eaten a sizible portion of the required runs, Dulwich lost both Cheadle and Tulsiani. This brought Zakir Rostami and the frugal Ferguson to the crease. The pair batted with calm and elegance as they punished errant bowling. Such was the relaxed atmosphere with which Rostami and Ferguson endowed the Dulwich innings that this reporter was sent into a deep sleep.

I was awoken by the dismissal of Rostami, who had fallen just shy of a well-deserved 50. The frugal Ferguson, who had batted with much grace, followed soon after – also suspiciously close in proximity 50.

Having arisen from my slumber, waving goodbye to an honourable 'thanks-for-coming', I strode to the crease and took guard. I was dismissed by a ball which I am quite certain would have got me out had I had my full eight hours sleep the night before. With 12 runs required off of the final three overs, the match had become the contest it had once threatened to be. Batsman-keeper Patankar, free from the burden of greatness, pierced the field on a couple of occasions to bring glory to Dulwich.

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