Sat 16th July – 4th XI v Woking & Horsell

DULWICH 63-2 (15.5) beat WOKING & HORSELL 61 (31) by 8 wickets

Scorecard

A day of surprises for Dulwich on Saturday as they chalked up a comfortable win in a light hearted and friendly affair at Woking.

Where to start? Firstly, JD accidentally arrived at the ground at ten past 12 rather than five to 1 which meant there was a real danger of having to find numerous excuses as to why he couldn’t take part in the warm up and fielding drills. While Swainy practiced his newly discovered off-spin and Darren practiced diving full length on the floor, JD gave the wicket the low down and concluded, wrongly as it turned out, that it would play a lot better than it looked. Rigourous warm up completed by the four of us who had arrived by ten to 1, the skipper arrived, promptly won the toss and, correctly as the format requires, stuck the opposition in.

Knighty opened up and first ball, Darren fresh from his keeping warm up, let the ball through his legs for 4. The opening bowlers settled into their usual line and lengths with both Knighty and Prasanna hitting the same area of the pitch (a good length at the end Prasanna was bowling to). Runs were at a premium (although Darren quickly sprinted towards a double figure bye tally, which was highly unfair on him given the fact that he spent most of the time airborne down the leg side).

Zeeshan finally turned up about 45 minutes late (not that anyone had noticed he wasn’t on the field). With the score on 20 after 12 overs – a miracle! – Knighty, who admittedly had been building up an ill-directed head of steam from the top end, induced the opener to have a swing and the ball spiralled gently towards mid-wicket. Normally a regulation catch would ensue, but with all eyes following the trajectory of the ball hearts sunk as we realised the skipper was under it. Fortunately, the nay-sayers were proven wrong as the skipper hauled in the catch in a fashion that would never appear in the MCC coaching manual, and ended with him resembling someone reading the paper sitting on the lav.

Two balls later, Knighty, after the hallelujah moment, that if he pitched it up he might cause some trouble, won an LBW appeal (that WK and slips didn’t appeal for…) and followed it up with another LBW (which we gladly joined in for…). The hat-trick ball, which was decent and on target, was well kept out by the new batsman and Knight had a triple wicket maiden.

Lawrence replaced Prasanna (much to the relief of Darren, who had by this time lost about a stone from throwing himself around so much) and he settled into his usual full and straight methodology (reverse Knighty). Knighty picked up another bowler’s LBW in the next over (again no appeal from those behind the wicket), before Lawrence cleaned up 2 of his own to leave the hosts in big trouble at 40-6, which became 40-7 when Knighty cleaned up the number 3 who was giving himself room as the support from the other end ran out.

There followed a brief respite as the number 9 blocked everything Lawrence threw at him and Knighty tested out the middle of the pitch for no reason other than he’s Knighty. Knighty then won another LBW decision (jury split down the middle on that one, although reward for bowling that fuller length) and then had the number 10 caught at point by Will Burgass having “given himself room” (the batsman not Will). Knighty finally blew a gasket and had to be replaced by Will who cleaned up the opposition skipper off the last ball of his first over to see the home side all out for 62.   

A whole innings without any dropped catches, Knighty bowling full and straight and the skipper bagging one….we were living the dream. Knighty ended up with 7 for 31 off 15 overs and Lawrence 2 for 11 off 9.

After a decent tea with doughnuts (always a winner) Shok wandered off to watch the bowls match going on next door (or was it to get the phone number of the granny playing) whilst JD and Zeesh set about arranging an early trip home. JD got a leading edge in the third over which looped in the air and fell equidistant between mid-off, the bowler and extra cover and promptly got the trademark booming drive over mid-off out next ball to be dropped again. Zeesh, on the other hand did connect with a haymaker that cleared the ropes by some distance but not enough obviously for Prasanna who signalled a four. Cunning plan from Prasanna as it riled Zeesh so much he took 14 off the over which prompted a Red Arrows fly-past, which did seem entirely unnecessary. With 30 off the first 5 overs the game was pretty much won, so the two openers amused themselves by seeing how ridiculous the calling and running could get, the answer being very ridiculous.

The introduction of the home skipper’s decent leg spin (he could have been a handful if we were chasing 150) saw Zeesh conduct his own fly past to be out for 30, which was closely followed by Swainy coming in to occupy the pinch-blockers role. One close LBW shout later, Swainy departed the scene as the third time he touched the ball in the game was to deflect an innocuous delivery into his own stumps. Darren thumped his first ball over square leg to seal the win by 8 wickets.

It was a great performance from the seam department and credit to Woking who, although on the end of a hammering, played with a smile on their face and with good “bants” throughout. The game finishing at 5ish meant that we could head home with the hope that we could barrack the third or fifth team, in traditional 4th team fashion. Sadly, due to Lawrence’s car having a top speed of 37 ½ mph (downhill), we arrived back to discover that the threes had done a similar demolition job on their opposition and the 5s had lost a nail biter themselves. Sadly all that was left was for us to add some “beer fuelled atmosphere” to the proper game going on with the second team.  A decent attendance at the bar that evening and high spirits by all saw your reporter leave at midnight for his normal soujourn home. Being a responsible human being, your reporter had already jettisoned the car at Turney Road and being on something of a fitness drive at the moment / being too tight to order an Uber, set off on the 5 mile walk home. Having rescued the lesser spotted Matten from a ditch and safely escorted him home, your reporter carried on his way to reach his door step at 2 in the morning only to realise his door keys were safely stashed in his cricket bag in the boot of the car in the now locked compound at Turney. So one joyful night’s sleep on the doorstep of the reporters house later and a 5 mile walk back to the club later to be reunited with the door keys, but surprisingly zero hangover, I feel obliged to warn younger readers of the peril of being responsible drink.

The league is the most open ever this year and with Wimbledon and Sinjuns both looking stronger in recent weeks, there is a case for anyone of seven teams being victorious at the end of the season. The 4s are back up to third six points behind top placed Banstead.

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