Sat 10th June – 4th XI v Spencer

SPENCER 131 (38.5) lost to DULWICH 169 (32.2) by 38 runs

Scorecard

Dulwich got back to winning ways with a hard-fought 38 run win away at local rivals Spencer.

With Skipper Dixon away on business, VC Swain stepped up to lead the side against a team that had cruelly denied the 4s the league title on the last day of the 2016 season. After a very professional and engaging warm-up led by Ollie Tobin, Swain marched out to the middle and promptly lost the toss, meaning Dulwich were asked to have a bat.

The stand-in skipper was hoping for some big early runs from openers Peters and Zeeshan to pile the pressure on a depleted opposition, who started the game with only 8 players. After 2 overs we were 7-2, not ideal. Chris Marshall and number 4 Darren Cason thus set about repairing the innings – Marshall mixing a solid defence with some powerful shots to punish any wayward bowling, while Cason milked singles and 2s with some great field manipulation.

Having seen the score advance above 60 and the Dulwich batsmen looking well set, the Spencer skipper sought to introduce some pressure in the form of a 13 year old off spinner. Unfortunately for him, Cason and Marshall took a liking to the youngster’s head-high full tosses, taking him for 23 in his first over as the score swiftly approached 100 and Cason moved serenely past 50 (his second of the season for the 4s).

Eventually Spencer managed to get the breakthrough, Marshall falling to Abbas for a gritty and well-made 36. Pickles followed soon after stumped down the leg side, and then the Dulwich innings really began to fall apart when Cason was caught at mid-on for 62. Hope, promoted to number 7, lasted a couple of balls before being bowled by Abbas, who then proceeded to clean up Swain and Ramakrishnan first ball for a pretty uninspiring hat-trick.

At the other end Ollie Tobin was showing some good form with the bat, running well and hitting some cultured boundaries, and he managed to inch the score above 150 before being caught off Sindhu for 26. Last pair Jones and Day managed to squeeze a few more runs out before Day was last man out for 8, leaving Jones unbeaten on a useful 12. 169 all out in just 32 overs, having been 108-3 off 17. Not a great total, but on a seaming wicket and slow-ish outfield, Dulwich had a chance.

After sampling one of the better teas on the circuit, the Dulwich team came out fired up and ready to get stuck into the home side’s lineup.

Jeremy Jones and Chris Hope opened up, both bowling with good control in the face of some immediate aggression from opening batsman Naqvi. After a few edgy boundaries and some aerial wafts, the first wicket fell when Naqvi was well caught by Zeeshan off Hope for 19. A suicidal run-out then helped the Dulwich cause, Tobin’s accurate throw accounting for the other opener. This brought together Jafri x2, as captain Hussain joined Hassan at the crease.

Jones had bowled with good accuracy and pace but without any luck, and with the skipper signalling to debutant Joe Day to warm up, JJ knew he needed a wicket in order to get another over.

2 balls later, Jones had a pair of wickets and another over – first bowling Hussain Jafri with a great ball which nipped off the seam, before having Aun Naqvi caught behind by Peters off a decent edge. Unfortunately JJ couldn’t match the feats of Abbas and complete his hat-trick, despite having 8 catchers around the bat!

The next few overs featured some calamitous catching from Dulwich, which in truth almost let Spencer back into the game. Hassan Jafri was dropped twice early in his innings before going on to make 32, while Ali Hussain made the most of 3 chances going to ground to move the Spencer total up towards 100.

The introduction of Joe Day to the attack finally removed Jafri, before the gritty Khan was bowled by Ramakrishnan with an excellent ball which turned sharply down the slope past the batsman’s textbook leave.

Ex-Dulwich man Rehan Malik immediately provided some hope for Spencer, smashing a pair of boundaries off Ramakrishnan, whilst at the other end Hussain continued to chance his arm, smashing the ball in the air to all parts of the infield.

Ramakrishnan, however, held his nerve and eventually grabbed a second wicket, Malik chipping a lofted offspinner straight to Hope, who managed to hold the catch and atone slightly for his two earlier drops. With Hussain approaching his half century and Spencer 7 down with 40-odd to get, the game was on a knife-edge. Luckily Dulwich had a secret weapon – Spencer’s comical running.

After just a couple of balls at the crease, the young number 9 decided to run out Hussain for 42 (a great throw from Pickles), all but sealing the game for Dulwich. The batsman could then only watch as the newly introduced Pickler cleaned up his mate at the other end for the 9th wicket.

Not to be out-done, the young man decided to run himself out to end the game, with Spencer all out for 131.

A great bowling and fielding performance (the less said about the catching and batting the better), and with Sunbury and Wimbledon both dropping points this weekend, Dulwich are right back in the title hunt. Next week we host Sunbury, who we must beat to maintain our charge.

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