Sat 17th June – 5th XI v Old Elthamians

DULWICH 201-9 (40) lost to Old Elthamians 224-7 (40) by 23 runs


Saturday's opponents Old Elthamians entered the day rooted the bottom of the table and, with Dulwich having gone top after a fine win against Catford last week, this top vs bottom affair looked to be stacked in our favour. With last week's star performers David Woods, Siraj and Cian all playing higher or unavailable, it was a much changed 5th XI but one with plenty of quality, reflecting strong availability across the club.

On a scorcher of day, with a good pitch, short boundaries and a lightening-fast outfield, the opposition jumped at the chance to bat first after winning the toss. Old Elthamians got off to a good start despite decent opening spells from Simon Peters and Sakib, with their opening batsmen pouncing on anything full of a length, dispatching it to the short straight boundaries. Sakib responded well, trapping one LBW and soon after David Begg came on and dismissed their no.3 with a regulation caught and bowled just before the first drinks break. Dulwich were arguably the happier side at drinks, with the opposition on 61-2 from 15 and vowed to continue the hunt for wickets thereafter.

The first ball after drinks provided a turning point in the match. The new batsman clearly edged Begg and was caught behind by Dan Peters. However, despite the batsman 'smashing the effing cover off it' (D Peters, 2017) with batsman refusing to walk and the umpire not giving the batsman out, Dulwich were forced to look for another way to get him out. The very next ball was smashed to the boundary over mid-off which, unfortunately for Dulwich, was a sign of things to come. The two set batsmen began to enjoy the conditions more and more and, despite several bowling changes, Rutherford was unable to stop the flow of runs, with the two adding 100 runs in 15 overs between the two drinks breaks.
In the final 10 overs, Simon Peters returned and bowled a very fine spell, taking five wickets and ultimately limiting what was moving towards an imposing total to 224-7, which we felt was just about par given the conditions. The only real disappointment for Dulwich had been a real lack of focus and intensity in the field during the middle overs of the match. Skipper Rutherford also lamented the decision not so set a more defensive field earlier, with the feeling being the combination of those two factors had probably led to Old Elthamians scoring 20-30 more runs than they perhaps should have.

Dulwich's reply got off to a strong start thanks to Dan Peters and Julian Dean who both capitalised on any loose balls. Old Elthamians made their intentions clear from the very first ball, electing not have a slip in place and continued to have a minimum of four sweepers in place (and up to six at times) throughout the innings. After Dean was given out LBW for 23, Tony Simmonds came in and continued where Julian had left off and, alongside Dan Peters who was batting nicely at this stage, got Dulwich up to around the 100 run mark at a good rate. Old Elthamians then introduced spin from both ends which prompted a flurry of wickets with Simmonds, Emery and eventually Peters all succumbing, Dan having made a score of 47 before being dismissed.

With both spinners bowling well, the runs began to dry up for Dulwich and, as a result, wickets continued to tumble with only Cormac Meade (25) able to keep the scoreboard moving. With the required rate climbing to around 12/over with 6 overs to go, the shot-making and running became ever more ragged and our chances of reaching the total were all but gone when Simon Peters conspired to run the captain out by refusing a second run, apparently oblivious to the equation we faced (or at least that's how the captain saw it). Begg & S Peters finally brought Dulwich up to 200-9 from their 40 overs, cementing a 24 run loss.

All-in-all, a frustrating day for Dulwich who were left to rue several factors in the bar afterwards. Still, there are plenty of points to play for this season and the 5th XI remain in the hunt at the top of the table.

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