Sat 13th May – 4th XI v Oxted and Limpsfield

OXTED AND LIMPSFIELD 134 (39) lost to DULWICH 256 (38) by 122 runs


Dulwich picked up a comfortable second win of the season in a one-sided affair at the picturesque O&L ground. With the majority of the batsman getting their first competitive knock of the season, the game was excellent conditioning for sterner tests to come in future weeks.

Upon losing the toss, skipper Dixon was delighted to be asked to bat on a flat looking track and fast outfield. He was less thrilled watching Julian Dean miss a straight one to be cleaned up with the first ball of the game from the athletic fifteen year old opening bowler. With the scorecard 0-1 at 1:01pm it looked more binary code than the beginnings of a title challenge. None of this of course phased Zeeshan at the other end, who for the next half hour launched a nuclear assault on the O&L ground troops. Supported by Pickles who was scratching himself into some form, they took things through to 60-1 off the first 10.

Eventually Zeesh played one big shot too many and found the hands of backward point for a swift 34. With Pickles finding some fluency at the other end and striking some sweet boundaries square of the wicket, it was new batsman Darren’s turn to scratch around for a few overs, picking up the odd run off the edge as he looked for some early season touch.

With Pickles eventually departing for a well-made 34, and Dixon coming and going in the space of a couple of balls (eagerly triggered by the grinning Julian), the Dulwich innings threatened to stall somewhat. Step forward Darren Cason, who decided the best method of finding form was to begin launching the Oxted bowling attack to all parts of the ground. Ably supported by debutant Sakib Rashed (21), Darren set about ruining the fledgling careers of Oxted’s young bowlers, in particular taking a liking to their twelve year old leggie, smashing him for numerous boundaries including an audacious switch hit for a one-bounce four.

Darren eventually fell to a great boundary catch as he looked to launch the spinner over long off for yet another 6, his 77 coming at more than a run a ball and putting Dulwich in a great position. However, with Rashed and then Swain departing, Dulwich found themselves 7 down with almost 15 overs still to bat.

Unfortunately for Oxted, this mini-collapse didn’t seem to affect new pair Rhys Williams and Prasanna one bit, as they carried on where Darren had left off, abusing the Oxted bowlers with big shot after big shot. With the score motoring past 200, Rhys decided to up the ante by hitting the returning opening bowler for a pair of huge sixes over long on, and at the other end Prasanna continued to cut and pull his way to 25. Both batsmen eventually fell to the dibble of bowler Hunt (5-44), with Rhys continuing his great early season form, making 38 off about 20 balls.

Last pair Taylor and Ahmed hung around for an over or so, a beautiful straight drive from Loz giving the impression of some serious off-season technique improvement, before reality returned and he was bowled next ball by Hunt to end the innings. 256 all out in just 38 overs – slightly above par, but with a fast outfield and short boundaries, a gettable target.

After a tasty and home-made tea, Dulwich took to the field with Prasanna opening up from the pavilion end, immediately hitting his line and length and putting the openers under pressure. Unfortunately the same could not be said for Swain, whose first two balls pitched half way down an adjacent strip. Oh dear.

Eventually Swain managed to pitch one on the correct wicket, and with his 7th ball of the over induced opener Wardley to chip a check-drive to skipper Dixon at mid-off. In past years this was a perfectly safe shot, normally resulting in an easy single off the dropped catch, however Wardley clearly hadn’t heard about Dixon’s one-on-one catching practice sessions this week – £80 clearly well spent as Matt took the absolute blinder dolly.

Number 3 Powell looked eager to get stuck in, and Swain obliged first ball up with a wide long-hop which deserved to get sent into Kent. Unfortunately for the batsman, he decided to chop it onto his stumps instead, leaving Swain on the most village, undeserved hat-trick the Surrey Championship has ever seen.

With Oxted skipper Damesick joining the fray, Prasanna continued to pile on the pressure, bowling with good pace and control for the second week in a row, beating the bat on numerous occasions with no luck forthcoming. At the other end, Swain finally found his radar and began to bowl some better lines, culminating with pinning Damesick plum LBW. Unfortunately the umpire disagreed on the plumness of hitting the batsman on the back leg half way up middle stump, and turned down the appeal. Luckily for Dulwich this perceived injustice only served to fire up Swain, and two balls later a bit of extra pace saw the batsman bowled off his back pad.

Dixon rang the changes, replacing Prasanna with Loz, and Swain with debutant spinner Forhad Ahmed. While Forhad bowled with good loop and generated some turn off the still very good pitch, at the top end the Loz Ness Monster charged down the hill like a young Fidel Edwards, chucking the ball down fast and straight.

Eventually the Lozbian’s excessive pace paid dividends, cleaning up the stubborn #5 with a vicious in-swinger that actually snapped the base of off stump! The next batsman in had barely managed to take a guard before Loz Vegas struck again, sending the same stump cartwheeling past the jubilant slip cordon. 

By this point, however, Oxted opener Hanrott was seeing it like a beach ball, and his 6 forward defensives per over were now starting to threaten the 30 yard circle on occasion. He was joined by 12 year old keeper-batsman Walton, who looked effortlessly comfortable against the varied challenges presented by the pace of Lozceister City and the spin of Ahmed. Unfortunately for the young man, Ben Lozter reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out the ‘out-swinging Jaffer’, taking the edge of the bat and sending the ball to 2nd slip where Rhys took an exceptional falling catch.

Clearly bored of blocking for 30 overs, Hanrott eventually missed a quick, straight ball from Lozt-and-found, and Oxted found themselves 7 down with still more than 150 runs to get. New pair Hunt and Kearns managed to see off both Ahmed (0-36 off 9), who had bowled with good control and guile, and the very impressive Lozenge (4-17 off 9).

Openers Swain and Callaghan were brought back to try to finish off the match, but neither could quite get it right and were eventually seen off – Callaghan unlucky to finish with a very economical 0-24, Swain taking 3-41 in his 9.

The stubborn partnership was finally brought to an end by a brilliant piece of fielding from Queen eLozabeth, scoring a direct hit runout with just one stump to aim at, in the process securing some big JL points for himself. With one end opened up, Dulwich’s secret weapon the Pickler, fresh from an impressive display with the bat, proceeded to clean up numbers 10 and 11, finishing with 2-5 off 2. Oxted 134 all out in 39, Dulwich top of the league.

Two impressive wins in as many weeks for the 4s, but undoubtedly there are sterner tests to come. Next week we travel to Banstead, where the team will look to continue their march to the Premier League title.

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