Sat 3rd Sep – 3rd XI v Spencer

DULWICH 252-9 (50) v SPENCER 106-6 (19.5) – match abandoned (rain)


Saturday 3rd XI vs. Spencer – Dulwich (252 – 9 off 50 overs) vs. Spencer (106 -6 off 19.5 overs) – match abandoned

The 3rd XI’s season ended with a damp squib….literally….as their match was abandoned at DSG one ball short of a result which would have given champions Spencer an undeserved victory. The quirks of the rules at this level meant Spencer would have won on straight run rate after one more ball. Maybe Spencer’s umpire did not realise this, maybe he was feeling charitable but he deemed conditions too wet and dangerous as the heavens opened as forecast. But it would have been a travesty for Dulwich who dominated pretty much from start to (early) finish.

With our 4th XI in a title clash at Spencer the team took on an unfamiliar look with just a handful of 3rd XI regulars, with the remainder players who have played most of their cricket this season in the 5th or 6th XIs. Even more credit is due, therefore, as they did not look out of place and it goes to show the strength in depth of the Club at this level. Two special mentions to start with:

  1. Giles Constantine – a 4th and 5th XI regular for the last few seasons played his last match for Dulwich before setting off on a round the world trip and then returning to settle in York. One of club cricket’s good guys, a wholehearted cricketer who always tries (sometimes too hard), a bowler of some ability on his day and, according to him at least, a batsman of some quality though no one at Dulwich has ever really seen it!
  2. David Woods – simply a Dulwich legend who played his first Surrey Championship match of the 2016 season on Saturday at the ripe old age of ?? This meant he had played in the Surrey Championship every single season since its inception in 1968, a magnificent achievement and the only player to have done this.

On to the match. Skipper Graeme Hough won another toss and chose to bat, despite the forecast and in the hope it would be wrong. The antipodean quota was doubled with the presence of Sean Keaton and he strode out to open with John ‘birthday boy’ Morris. As the first ball was stroked effortlessly through the covers by Keaton to the boundary the signs were good. However, Sean was adjudged LBW in the second over – a decision he was not too pleased with it is fair to say. Matt Balch replaced him and quickly got in to his stride with some pleasing pull shots off some errant bowling. Meanwhile at the other end, Morris was laying the foundations with some circumspect batting. Runs flowed at 5 per over until Balch was out plumb LBW to league leading wicket taker Sindhu off his first ball.

Dan Edwards joined Morris, who by this time was fully in to his stride and began to dominate the bowlers. Some pleasing drives and good running were interspersed with some massive 6s and other well played boundaries. After playing second fiddle Edwards also began to unleash some powerful shots until he eventually fell for a well-played 42. Morris went on and on and eventually reached an excellent and well deserved century. The rest of the innings saw wickets tumble including Morris eventually for 113. Special mention to James Worley on his debut at this level who played a beautiful cover drive for 4 but was then caught behind attempting a reverse sweep – nothing like a bit of confidence! The innings eventually closed at 252 for 9 off 50 overs.

Early pressure and wickets were vital as Jeremy Jones and Giles Constantine opened up. Gilo was straight in to a good rhythm and snared a caught behind by Joe Moore, then induced a mistimed pull shot to the birthday boy Morris soon after. Jezza was feeling left out playing second fiddle to Gilo, but not for long. A good ball, a thick edge and an absolutely stunning low, one-handed diving catch by keeper Moore snared the 3rd wicket. Gilo was definitely wanting to finish on a high and earned the 4th wicket with a plumb LBW. After 12 overs Dulwich were well on top.

But the gloom descended and rain clouds hovered. As a steady drizzle came down the skipper changed the openers and got slow bowlers Balch and Woods on to try to get through to 20 overs and a result. Spencer thought likewise and sent in a couple of hitters to try to up the run rate and gain victory according to the perverse rules. This worked more for Spencer than Dulwich as bowlers struggled to grip the ball and the fielding standards dropped. Woods nibbled another couple out, but Sindhu for Spencer rode his luck and hit enough boundaries to just edge Spencer ahead on run rate. The umpire intervened, no chance of a return and a long evening in the bar for many followed, with a notable mention to the ‘birthday boy’ who cannot have remembered much the following day!

All in all, an excellent season for the 3rd XI eventually finishing 4th. But for two rained off games against the two relegated teams things could have been very different. For the lowest ranked team in the league (in terms of 1st and 2nd XIs) to stay in the title race all season was magnificent. Highlights were many but the two nail biting wins against Spencer and Ashtead and beating Wimbledon in a close one stand out. Plus many excellent individual performances from the 47 players used in the season. Not forgetting of course huge thanks and appreciation to Chris Reardon for his umpiring, to Jackie for the teas, and to John Howard and all the guys at DSG for their help and great wickets, ground and facilities.

Captain Graeme Hough has taken the decision to stand down and hand the reins over to someone younger and to focus more on his other roles in the Club. So it is thanks from me to all the players for making captaincy a real pleasure, and for the great friendships and team spirit on and off the field.

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