Sat 23rd July – 6th XI v Bexleyheath

DULWICH 104 (24.2) lost to BEXLEYHEATH 324-3 (40) by 220 runs


It is customary for this particular match reporter to utilise a leitmotif on which to hang his account of what took place.

Who can forget his account of the Dulwich 3rd XI victory against Old-MidWhitgiftians in 1993? In this game, Dulwich clinched the Surrey Championship. The report was subtly interwoven with Shakespeare's "a Midsummer Night's Dream". Then there was Dulwich 6th's last ball victory against Ilminster on their 2008 tour: a paean to "Henry V". Such match reports are indelibly printed on the nation's collective memory.

However, on this occasion our reporter struggles to find a suitable literary metaphor: so abject was one team's performance. "Titus Andronicus" springs to mind: in this play the eponymous hero is invited to eat a pie made of human ears, but, as this is all your correspondent actually knows about this seldom performed play, he has decided not to utilise its potential.

Instead, one's mind wanders down memory lane to the halcyon days of the 1960's and the ubiquitous Cinemas that could be found in every town: Gaumonts, Astorias, Regents, Pullman Classics were in abundance complete with rain sodden queues and a Commissionaire with a double breasted brass buttoned overcoat and a stentorian voice offering "Seats In All Parts". For one shilling and nine pence one could be transported to every part of the world and every period of history. Who can forget Tony Curtis sitting on a horse, clad in a suit of armour, uttering in his best Brooklyn accent "Yonder lies da Castle of my Fada"?  At this point, the reader may be forgiven for asking "what has all this got to do with Dulwich v. Bexleyheath?" The fact is, in searching for a suitable parallel to yesterday's game, I have come to the conclusion that this game resembled nothing more than one of the Hammer Horror Movies that were popular amongst cinema audiences at the time. These films usually starred Christopher Lee or Vincent Price as a Svengali like character (Dracula?, Frankenstein?) hell bent on inflicting misery on his fellow human beings. Bexleyheath produced just not one, but three such characters in the form of Darren Kempson (103 not out), Bashir Khan (66) and Bashir Popolzai (84). These 3 relentlessly drove a stake through the heart of Dulwich's attack, with a blistering assault of strokes. None of Dulwich's 7 bowlers were spared and Bexleyheath duly arrived at the not inconsiderable total of 324 for 3 at the end of their 40 overs. It must be said that Dulwich were responsible in some ways for their own plight: too many balls were wayward, short-pitched and loose.

At the tea interval, skipper Gibson felt like a chaste Susan George or Britt Ekland: helpless while Vincent or Christopher had his wicked way with her. Gibson decided to fight fire with fire by placing a number of attacking stroke makers at the top of the order. Each one of these batsmen briefly flailed away, and, at one point, it looked as if the clean hitting Warriss would be the Messiah with some lusty 6's hit in the direction of the pre-school Portakabins behind long-off.  Van Lare and Williams had a less spectacular but nevertheless, effective partnership but this was curtailed, with the winning total of 325 still a distant and clearly unattainable destination. The Dulwich innings paddled around in mid Atlantic, like Donald Crowhurst's ill fated solo voyage and finally succumbed to the waves when Josh Nava holed out to the bowling of Charlie Monk and Dulwich were dismissed for 104.

There are few extenuating circumstances to explain this overwhelming defeat. Jabargyl Jumagul (apparently a victim of the unpredictable and unreliable train service that Southern Rail fail to provide these days) did not arrive until 2.45, which meant Dulwich fielded with 10 men for the first hour and a quarter. But the fact remains Dulwich were outclassed in every department of the game and various items of hosiery need to be pulled up before next week's derby game against the "auld enemy": Streatham & Marlborough 1870.

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