Sat 27th May – 4th XI v SinjunGrammarians

SINJUNGRAMMARIANS 137-7 (36) beat DULWICH 136 (34) by two wickets (10 players)

Scorecard

It wasn’t meant to happen like this. After selection on Tuesday, skipper Dixon had hatched a (very simple) plan and it went something like this….

Having seen the depth of batting riches in the team at his disposal, he was going to win the toss, choose to bat, score 300-ish in the scorching sunshine, reduce the Sinjun team to melted wrecks in the heat and skittle them for 100. Simple.

The plan was going well. The sunshine was out, Dixon won the toss, batted and the Sinjun fielders were sloping out to field with nine men and the weariness of a team who had been hammered for 275 runs the previous week against an understrength Spencer.

Cian played out the first over for a maiden and Zeeshan then slapped his first boundary straight past the bowler. Peters, Dixon and Williams – batsmen 5, 6 and 7 were still in shorts – Life was sweet…

This was where the masterplan began to unravel like that toilet roll in the Andrex adverts. Except Sinjun’s aren’t half as cute as that puppy…

At 2.30pm we were 60-7. This was not part of the plan. Peters, Dixon and Williams still had

shorts on. Unfortunately, they had changed back into them since being dismissed.

There is not a lot to say about that first hour and a half. Sinjuns bowled very well. In fact, they didn’t bowl a single wide in the innings – a miracle in 4’s cricket. Their openers Lawrence and Salman bowled with nagging accuracy and the Dulwich batsmen simply could apply themselves to build an innings despite wickets falling at both ends.

However, this scenario was familiar. Did we not do this in the same fixture last year? Back in

2016, Prasanna had strolled to the wicket in equally catastrophic circumstances and broke the oppo’s collective mind, body and soul with an explosive 97 not out. Could he do this again?

Er, no. Instead of tearing the game away from Sinjun’s, he tore his hamstring. Rhys had to, yet again, get changed out of his shorts and become a runner for him.

In fact, for a 15 minute period a handy partnership formed between Prasanna, who despite batting on one leg, could still swipe a ball to cow and Ollie Tobin who chipped in with a handy and relatively cultured 19. Together they wagged the Dulwich tail and dragged us to 136. Half ofwhat the skipper wanted, but something to bowl at.

With Prasanna standing gingerly in the slips, Ollie and Luke Howard took the new ball. Ollie was fired up and soon manged to remove Sinjun opener Ali for a duck. This was obviously something of a shock to the next batsman, Latty Clunes, who after much shouting towards the pavilion, carried his kit to the square and padded up next to the stumps. First time for everything….

Howard, although short of match fitness, was very economical, frustrated both batsmen, who swung wildly at almost every ball without a breakthrough and prompted a doubled change with Woods and Pickles coming into the attack.

In an entirely predictable fashion, Clunes charged Woods second ball, trying to hit him into the nearby Spencer ground. Dan Peters efficiently completed the comical stumping. Woods soon picked up his second, with opener Muneer carting him to Rhys Williams at deep midwicket, who took a comfortable catch and the game started to get interesting when Pickles removed Walters to a smart catch by Cian Scannell.

Sensing the batting didn’t run particularly deep, Dulwich attacked, but Sinjuns’ held firm and Lawrence and Akbany got the score close to victory. Working in rotation, Woods, Tobin and Howard all then picked up a wicket each to leave Sinjun’s 7 down (and with 10 players) Dulwich had only 2 wickets to take.

Alas it was not to be. They scraped over the line, to typically gentile and reserved applause.

All in all, a bad day at the office for the 4’s which shone a spotlight on the batsmen needing to perform over the coming weeks, for our title challenge to maintain momentum.

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