Sat 8th July – 3rd XI v Walton-on-Thames

DULWICH 244 (50.5) drew with WALTON-ON-THAMES 237-7 (51)


Walton on Thames made the long trip to the DSG on Saturday as the 3s survived a late assault on their total of 244 all out (50.5) to secure a winning draw. On another day that the full allocation of 100.5 overs was completed, the 3rd XI are left feeling that pink balls may be more suitable than the traditional red.

After much discussion and some customary prodding of the pitch, it was decided that we should win the toss. Captain Bailey duly obliged and Dulwich were batting. On a hot and humid day the pre-match briefing was to keep wickets in hand and the Walton fielders baking in the sun to setup an all-out attack towards the back end of the innings. Cian Scannell and Harry Chathli opened up for Dulwich and made slow but steady progress with anything short being pounced upon. Despite the fact that about half the balls from one end were down the leg-side and unplayable, the opening pair progressed at 3 runs an over. The partnership of 62 was broken in the 20th when Scannell was first to go for a well-made 30 – caught at mid-off in the game’s first over of spin.

James Pickles then came and went to leave Dulwich 63-2 but this brought Andy Keen and the innings’ first signs of aggression to the crease. Chathli took 3 fours in an over off the second change seamer and Keen delivered some lusty blows off the leggie (yes, he should have taken the pins out first). Chathli’s 50 brought a noticeable change of approach as he moved from 50 to 62 in three strokes and forced the removal of the leggie from the attack. By the time Keen departed for a belligerent 33, 63-2 off 21 had become 156-3 off 33 and we were well on our way to a big total. Chathli’s innings finally came to an end in the 36th when he was caught behind for a fabulous 85.

Cormac Meade (1) got a good one early on and Andy Bailey delighted the scorer with an innings in which he doubled his score with each scoring shot, only falling when scoring 8 became too big an ask. Again we were in danger of the innings stalling, however, vital runs from Abu Arabi (20) with support from George (9), Jones (7), and some big hitting from Chris Hope (27) made sure that this wasn’t the case. Toppin (1 n.o) received a well-directed bumper first ball – a ploy that he vowed to repay with interest after tea. Our innings coming to an end with Hope being caught off the 5th ball of the 51st over denying skipper Bailey the opportunity to declare.

With a strong bowling line-up available Dulwich were much the happier of the two sides at the break after compiling a more than competitive total of 244. The test match served as the tea break entertainment even though entertainment might have been a strong choice of word as Cook and Jennings proceeded with caution on a tricky track.

Toppin and Jones opened the bowling and both bowled good testing spells first up although neither was rewarded. Toppin bowled with good wheels and struck the opening batsmen on more than one occasion. Jones bowled a testing line and length and took the outside edge twice, one falling short of slip and the other being put down in the gully.  Despite their discomfort in the face of good bowling both Walton openers progressed into the 30s and the Dulwich fielders noted that they were in fact in a game.

Arabi and Hope then replaced the openers with the spinner finally making the decisive breakthrough with the help of a fine catch from Pickles at mid-on. It was a short spell for Hope (0-10 off 3) as the skipper was quick to note the prodigious spin and introduce George to bowl in tandem with Arabi. A sharp caught and bowled and a good catch by the keeper gave Arabi his 2ndand 3rd and Dulwich a sniff of a win. The runs dried up in spite of the Walton no. 3 shaping up to mow every ball over cow, with both Arabi and George bowling with excellent control.

George removed the dangerous looking no.3 to leave Walton 4 down and with the two new batsmen struggling against the Dulwich spin twins, Walton threatened to shut up shop. However, their captain was politely reminded that they had driven an awfully long way to show so little ambition and this turned out to be all the motivation he needed as he ditched his helmet and opened his shoulders. Numbers 5 and 6 who had looked sedate and a bit scratchy suddenly exploded with Arabi and his replacement Pickles both getting the treatment. This aggression was not without any risks and Pickles (0-46 off 5) saw two relatively straightforward catches go down off his bowling. George finished a fine spell with 1-26 off 13 and a change of ends for Arabi coupled with the batsmen’s new found aggression somewhat spoiled his figure to leave him with 3-60 off 12. The equation for Walton quickly moved from 100 odd off 10 to 60 odd off 7 with 6 wickets in hand.

The Dulwich opening bowlers then returned with the aim of securing a winning draw, and they did. Toppin proved too quick for the low-order batsmen in the fading light picking up 2 to finish with 2-37 off 9 and Jones (1-44 off 9) got the danger man, their captain, for a boundary-laden 54, Chris Hope using all of his height to pull off a stunning catch at cover. Walton finished 7 short with 5 balls less faced to give Dulwich a tight winning draw.

In the end the 3s were lucky to avoid defeat but in another game that their fielding left them down (at least 4 chances missed) they will feel that it’s a win that got away. “Catches win matches”.

Their openers started well, despite some good bowling, as the fast outfield rewarded good shots and streaky edges alike. Then Jones deviated for the first time from his persistent line and length and dropped it short and wide, the ball was duly leathered towards the boundary heading for at least a one bounce four, if it were not for a fine instinctive catch by Tobin, leaping in the air at point. The other opener followed shortly after, with Lester taking a sharp catch at slip of Lloolloyd to proudly restore his 50% slip catching success rate for this season. This bought their captain to the crease to join the number 3. Together they built a good partnership – although the innings from the number three had more misses than Tiger Woods at his prime. However, somehow the partnership flourished and changes in bowling to Hope and Day, despite inducing yet more wafts and frustration, did not bring the break through. So captain Bails decided to change the pace and brought Lester into the attack fresh from his dismantling of Sunbury’s batting line up last week and it didn’t take too long to make another important breakthrough. After removing the number 3 for 42, Lester and Tobin started to build the pressure and a complete lapse of brain function from their number five lead to Bailey’s easiest stumping of his career and another wicket for Lester. As the pressure continued to rack up and their batsmen becoming increasingly frustrated, they tried to sneak a single to bullet-armed Cason resulting in an easy run out. This put us in a solid position, Ashtead were 139-5 and when Lester claimed his 3rd wicket, the crucial scalp of the captain with a double bounce half tracker driven back for another smart catch, our confidence grew even more. However, a few loose overs and some big sixes left the outcome far from certain so Bailey turned back to his strike bowlers Jones and Lllooyyyoooddd to try and break the resistance. It worked. Llllooyyyoooooddd removed the dangerous number 8 for a beefy 45, and the number 7 shortly after. And with the light fading, a huge appeal for a caught behind from their last recognised batsman, gave Jones his second. We were one wicket away and a few overs later in the ever darkening gloom we had our deserved win, Llllooooyyyooooddd splattering the stumps to claim his fourth.  

So we wrapped up a 11 run to stay ahead of Ashtead and keep the pressure up on the top four.

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