Sat 30th July – 6th XI v Streatham & Marlborough

DULWICH 83 (36.2) lost to STREATHAM & MARLBOROUGH 134-9 (39.5) by 51 runs


In the Paleolithic era, the postcode SE21, was famed for its plethora of Cricket Clubs. Old Wilsonians, Lloyd's Register, Old Alleynians, Honor Oak, Marlborough 1870, Alleyn Old Boys, Griffin, Borough Polytechnic, Fern Lodge, Old Hollingtonians, Streatham and of course, DCC. There was even a team called Peckham Thursday (the clue is in the name). These clubs bestrode the leafy acres of Dulwich like so many Dinosaurs occasionally bumping into each other for yet another titanic clash. Then, as the Jurassic period was coming to an end, an asteroid struck the area (in the form of the College Estate deciding to "realise their assets" by raising rents and foreclosing on many of these rare breeds and the Cricketing landscape of South East London was changed forever.)

One classic fixture remains in the Calendar: the equivalent of Godzilla vs Tyrannosaurus Rex. Dulwich 6th's vs. Streatham and Marlborough. The last of the species slugging it out in a gory fight to the death, red in tooth and claw. Sadly, this year's morbid spectacle did not even take place within the hallowed confines of Dulwich, but was banished to the Kangley Bridge Road Leisure Centre. This institution was once known as the Britannic House and provided a gold standard in Cricket facilities for the employees of the Shell and British Petroleum Companies. Flat, road-like wickets were the norm. The outfield resembled the surface of the 3 full size Snooker Tables that were found in the pavilion. A sauna was available at the end of the game and a well subsidised bar provided an eclectic assortment of libations, including Brakspear's bitter. All this was demolished by Lewisham Borough Council, who acquired the unwanted facility from Shell and supplanted it with, arguably, the ugliest building found on page 128 of the London A-Z Street Map. The Sauna has gone and the bar has been replaced by a kiosk offering various "health" drinks and packets of Chorizo Flavoured Hula Hoops. Your correspondent's misery was complete, when he was informed the changing facilities were not available after 6.30 and that the 2 teams would have to change back into their "civvies" in full view of the residents of the overlooking tower blocks of Lower Sydenham.

Dulwich took the field and it was no surprise to find a pitch full of lightly rolled weeds and various other horrors which meant that no 2 balls bowled would bounce in anything like a predictable way. The outfield, to be fair, had been cut, but sadly, the gang mower had clearly missed all blades of grass less than 4 inches long. It resembled nothing less than one of those areas specially left in public parks to encourage wild life.

3 long paragraphs later, the match began: as is customary these days, DCC took the field with 10 men. Jabagyl Jumagyl, yet again absent. His absence was more than compensated by the excellent, tight bowling of Cormac Meade (2 for 28) and John Comerford (4 for 26). The mature Rochford kept wicket with not a little agility, Josh Nava and Kushal Patel kept the opposition batting in check and Jabagyl Jumagyl arrived at the 20 over drinks break. He was then brought on to bowl and did a creditable job as the "death" bowler. The S&M innings coughed and spluttered to to 134 all out in the final over and DCC hopes were high that such a modest target could be achieved. Gibson and Blench opened the batting and older spectators were reminded of Hobbs and Sutcliffe: the droughty opening pair who were still opening the batting for England in their 40's. When the pair had put on 14, however, Blench was dismissed and Owen sadly succumbed the very next ball, allowing himself to be dragged forward and then stumped, although (such was the interval of time, between Owen realising he was out of his ground and getting back to his crease) there was some debate as to whether he was actually run out attempting to run a bye. More crises were to follow: Jabagyl Jumagul hit the ball very hard to an empty space immediately above his head and was caught by the wicket keeper who was obliged to take one pace forward to take the catch. Other players essayed similarly ambitious shots: Captain Smith attempted to communicate directly with the aforementioned tower block residents by "hoicking" the ball in their general direction, but only succeeded in lobbing the ball to short mid wicket. Meade, Patel, Nava and Grimsey all played with some maturity but the hapless Gibson found himself beached like some stranded sperm whale on a sandbank in the middle of the Thames estuary on 22 not out. Not for the first time the most prolific scorer on the Dulwich side was Extras with 32. Dulwich limped to 83 all out and then revealed their genitalia to the watching multitude.

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