Sat 27th May – 3rd XI v Normandy

NORMANDY 92 (15.4) lost to DULWICH 94-1 (15.4) by 9 wickets


Dulwich 3rd XI welcomed bottom-of-the-table Normandy to the DSG on Saturday, with a win crucial to keep Dulwich in touch with the top of the table in advance of games against the top two and last year's champions Spencer in the next three weeks.

Some deep research by Sunil on Friday evening had unearthed the opposition's desire to bat first, get knocked over cheaply and get back home in time for some tarte tatin and a game of Petanque on Omaha beach. Jeremy Jones, skippering his first cricket match since he took his GCSEs, thus resolved to have a bowl on a typically hard, greenish DSG wicket that promised a bit for the bowlers first up. In the event Normandy captain Michael Collins, enjoying a well-earned retirement in France after previously captaining the Irish to independence from His Majesty George V's government, duly won the toss and chose to bat.

So Dulwich took to the field looking to get stuck in quickly with some early wickets, Stingray's gentle (verbal) prodding ensuring Captain Jones remembered both bails and a ball. A sturdy wind promised to make bowling from the top end tougher than overcooked frogs legs, so Jones opted to have Sunil join him with the new ball into the breeze, resting Knightbridge's legs for an assault on the middle order later on. A tight start brought the wickets of Rosser and Job in successive balls for Sunil, shortly followed by Jones strangling Scott down the leg side (shortly after Zaki had made an early bid for drop of the day by shelling a regulation catch at first slip). Three wickets down it was time to change the angle and bring on 3rd eleven debutant Lloyd Edwards' left arm seam down-wind, and Grevious Bodily Harm's Zaki's probing seam up-wind. There followed 20 overs of Dulwich dominance, Edwards bowling superbly for figures of 3-25 off his 10 (although against proper batsmen he could have had 7), and Zaki nabbing 3-18 of his 10 (which could have been 4 if Knightbridge, resting his legs for an assault on the tail standing at second slip, had catching skills equal to his reaction time – next week Knighty will take a slip catch, you heard it here first).

By this time drinks had come and gone and Normandy languished at 59-8. Jones looked askance at Knightbridge, but reluctantly agreed to rest his legs for an assault on Wimbledon next week. Thus Abu's off spin entered the game; flight, guile and a quicker ball requiring first slip to back up the keeper ensuring Normany remained camped on the metaphorical back foot. Jones then made his own bid for drop of the day off Abu at point by mistaking a cricket ball for a rugby ball, shelling it between his elbows while diving moderately forwards. With Zaki bowled out and Normandy 9 down it was Johnson's turn to trundle into the wind, picking up the final wicket after some tidy length bowling. It should be noted at this point that wicket keeper Darren Cason, despite catching the first four wickets, somehow managed to avoid a jug through mechanisms unknown, almost certainly involving luck, probably involving voodoo dolls and possibly invoking the dark arts and the sacrifice of a sacred chicken.

Normany bowled out then for 92, a target that should present a strong Dulwich batting line up with few problems. And thus it proved, with Chudley and Kassam punishing anything off line or short of length from both opening bowlers. Normandy had a look at spin first change, with much the same result: Kassam dispatching Singh's first three balls backward of square for three boundaries, before falling LBW missing an attempt to lap sweep a full toss and having the ball hit his forearm in front of middle and leg. This brought Zaki to the crease to join the Dulwich Chuddler, and the two of them continued to accelerate to the finish (albeit with a regulation drop of Chudley at first slip), with Chudders bringing up a fine 50 with the winning boundary.

A good, clean and well-executed win for Dulwich, which allowed everyone to get home early and earn a decent amount brownie points with their better halves (and Chudley postponing his jug until another time, mark it down please editor). A win which should leave everyone feeling confident as we move into the timed games next week.

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