Sat 6th Aug – 4th XI v Banstead

DULWICH 198 (42.3) beat BANSTEAD 187 (39.5) by 11 runs


League leaders Dulwich travelled to second-placed Banstead for a top-of-the table clash, the format reverting from time to limited overs. Captain Peters lost the toss but was happy enough to be put in on a scorching afternoon, with a fast outfield and a short square boundary on one side. With Zeeshan cutting his arrival a little too fine to take his customary opener's position, Peters led partner Irvine out to the middle, puffed out his not-inconsiderable chest and wasted no time destroying the hearts, minds and souls of the Banstead opening bowlers. A top-edged pull for six in the third over was followed by four successive boundaries in the fourth, including a bludgeoning straight drive, a head-high no ball thumbed over the keeper and a good length ball edged though second slip's hands. Banstead's youthful first change bowler had clearly not learnt the adage 'they that sow the wind must reap the whirlwind' as he recklessly engaged Captain Peters in some 'chat', only to be told, as Peters dispatched the next ball past the oldest fielder to the longest part of the boundary: 'Watch me run four off your bowling. Just watch me." El Capitano brought up his 50 in just the seventh over wih a brutal square cut and a couple of sand wedges over midwicket. With Irvine playing an excellent foil, running excellently between the wickets and hitting the odd classy boundary, the hundred partnership came up in the 15th over. Dulwich were bossing it. 

However, Banstead's introduction of calmer heads and slower deliveries dragged back the scoring rate and soon Alex chipped to mid off for an excellent 34. Zeeshan took his customary three seconds to assess the pitch conditions before engaging in a personal game of one-upmanship with the field, blasting a four over mid on and next ball, with the man now at long on, smashing a six into the field behind him. The long-on conquest having thus been achieved, Zeeshan targeted the off side only to find the fielder at his first attempt. From a highwater mark of 140 for 1, Dulwich lost four wickets for one run thanks to some poor shot selection and some excellently impartial umpiring from Knightly. Captain Peters, with a triple-century in his sights, joined the general malaise and missed a heave to be bowled for a belligerent 86. Benny Lester's Michael Vaughan impression was excellent for a while but, with Banstead bowling with much greater control, scoring opportunities dried up and Dulwich scored only 26 from the last 10 overs. The innings finished when young Max Swanson disappointingly opted not to reverse switch hit his first ball, as all youngsters are taught to do these days, and instead middled a classical late cut straight to first slip. Swainy was left high and dry and secretly thrilled with an unbeaten 8 that doubled his batting average for the season. Banstead had fought back superbly and 193 was an eminently gettable target on a pitch that was still good for batting.

Nonethless, after an excellent tea, Dulwich came out confident that their bewildering array of bowling options would get them home. A neat catch by Will Burgass off Sunil was just reward for a controlled opening spell but Banstead settled in well. At 60-odd for 1, with opener Mayor and the dangerous Sultan starting to open up, Dulwich needed a bit of magic and sure enough Lester produced a delivery straight from the bottom drawer – a loopy long-hop that was toed to Alex at square leg. Shortly afterwards Mayor was pinned on the back foot by a ripping off break slow full toss but the umpire remained unmoved. It was at this point that the match became somewhat needly. Will had begun a steady spell at one end but it was Lester's wiles that suckered out two more wickets, including Mayor to an excellent running catch at deep mid wicket by Alex. Banstead however were well ahead of the run rate and moving steadily towards the target, with 55 needed off 15 overs and six wickets in hand. With a last desperate throw of the dice, Captain Peters summoned Knighty back to the top end. Charging in down the hill like an 80-year old Caucasian Patrick Patterson, Knighty unleashed the proverbial 'pace like fire'. His first ball was gloved to Captain Peters. Five down. His fourth flew off the edge to Pickles at slip, who almost wet himself with joy at holding onto the chance. Swainy had begun an excellent spell at the other end and suddenly Dulwich were back in it. The equation had narrowed to 30 with 4 wickets left when Knighty- Captain Peters conjoined joyously once again to produce another wicket-child. Ten nail-biting runs later Swainy got another one to nibble into Captain Peters gloves, then sharp work from Will at gully next ball made it nine down. Knightly's last over was successfully repelled and with plenty of overs still remaining to get the runs, Dulwich needed a wicket to seal it. Swainy got pumped over mid off for four but next ball jagged one back into the stumps off a mixture of inside edge and pad. Cue celebrations. 

Dulwich's win opens up a 17 point lead at the top but there's no room for complacency as they travel to Reigate next week.

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