Sat 17th June – 4th XI v Sunbury

DULWICH 210-7 (38.2) beat SUNBURY 206-9 (47) by 3 wickets


On a scorching hot day at the DSG, Dulwich got themselves back into the title mix with a hard-fought win at home to second-placed Sunbury.

Winning the toss, skipper Dixon duly inserted Sunbury on a firm looking wicket. Newbie Jack Mahoney and Joe Day opened up, looking to make inroads into Sunbury’s high-flying batting lineup, whose form has propelled them to a top-2 position in the league.

Unfortunately for Dulwich, some wayward bowling along with some clean hitting from Sunbury’s openers soon put paid to this idea. Both openers came out firing, edging good balls away for singles and boundaries and tucking in to anything short or wide, and soon the score had reached 60 off 6 overs. Dixon introduced Swain to the attack to try to bring some control to proceedings, but he too was unable to stem the flow of runs, being launched for boundaries off all parts of the bat.

After 10 overs of carnage, and the score fast approaching 100, Dixon rang the changes, introducing spin from both ends in the shape of Ramakrishnan and Lester. The rewards were immediate, opener Greaves bowled by Gokhul for a rapid 47, before number 3 came and went in the same fashion.

At the other end, Lester was tormenting the other opener Sehmi, who couldn’t lay a bat on him for 3 overs in a row, all of his big shots against the seamers apparently forgotten when facing spin. Eventually Lester put him out of his misery, trapped LBW for 37. Number 4 soon joined him back in the pavilion as Dulwich’s spin twins began to turn the screw.

Lester picked up his 3rd and 4th wickets via good catches from Ramakrishnan and Day, both batsman trying to hit over the top, and Gokhul claimed his 3rd scalp with a nice catch in the gully from Scannell (despite the batsman claiming he didn’t hit it – did I mention it went to GULLY!)

With Sunbury’s vaunted batting lineup collapsing like a proverbial pack of cards, Dulwich were hoping to skittle the tail and get in for an early tea. With Lester picking up a well-deserved 5th wicket, stumped by Durrani, things were looking good.

However, Sunbury had a sting in the tail, as numbers 9, 10 and 11 set about adding vital runs with some aggressive shot making. Lester had Patel caught for 20, to finish with incredible figures of 6-29, but as he and Ramakrishnan (3-44 off 13) bowled out, Dulwich still needed another wicket.

The returning seamers once again struggled to make any inroads on what was a pretty flat wicket, with Sunbury’s last pair adding over 40. Eventually Sunbury declared on 206-9 off 47 – a good comeback from Dulwich, having been staring down a 350+ chase before the spinners were introduced.

After a strong tea and inspiring team talk, the Dulwich openers strode out into the stifling heat to take on the challenge of this season’s biggest run chase. Unfortunately Zeeshan was striding back a couple of overs later, gone for 8.

4th XI debutant Durrani joined Scannell at the crease, and the pair set about milking singles and twos off the accurate Sunbury bowling. Durrani survived a leg-side catch scare, and Scannell a couple of edges through slips, but on the whole the batsmen looked comfortable as the score moved up past 70.

Having seen the impact Dulwich’s spinners had made at a crucial part of the first innings, the Sunbury captain soon turned to his own legion of slow bowlers, as the score continued to creep up. Durrani eventually fell to a great slip catch off the evergreen Clarke, and with Woodgate departing soon after, Dulwich were wobbling. Enter skipper Dixon, whose calm head and textbook sweep seemed a perfect counter to Sunbury’s spinners.

At the other end, Cian had begun to find his range, smashing the bowlers over the top on numerous occasions, and brought up a well-crafted 50 with a blow into the leg side which was dropped by the fielder over the boundary. Oops.

Dixon finally missed a straight one having made a crucial 25, and with Scannell’s leg giving him problems, Sunbury felt they were still in the game. Kaffurudeen joined the fray and kept up the attack, smashing the bowling to all parts to bring Dulwich’s score above 150, whilst Scannell, who could now hardly move, stood and delivered and the other end.

Having made an exquisite 69, Cian eventually fell to Sehmi, which brought number 7 Lester to the crease with 35 still needed and Dulwich nerves jangling.

Some fine boundary hitting and single-running later, and Dulwich were well within sight of the total. Kaffurudeen and Swain fell before the total was reached, but Mahoney smashed his first ball for four and the game was won. Lester had added a chanceless 20* to his earlier 6 wickets, and a brilliant run chase was completed in just 38 overs.

A great win, and a message to the rest of the league. Next up are Oxted at home.

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