Sat 15th July – 3rd XI v Malden Wanderers

DULWICH 218 (41.4) lost to MALDEN WANDERERS 271-5 (53.5)


On a drizzly, murky Saturday in New Malden, Dulwich had hopes to conquer and challenge the top four in the league. Malden Wanderers on the other hand were fighting a battle against relegation having won just 2 of their 11 games this season. A one-sided match on paper, but unbeknownst to us it wasn’t to be.

Dulwich won the toss and elected to bowl on a wet, sticky wicket with boundaries barely reaching 40 yards. Dreams of bowling the opposition out cheaply, knocking the runs off in style for an early finish followed by a night filled with desperate tinder-swiping ensued. It was a mix of the youth and the wise, Max Swanson and Chris Hope, to take the new ball. The dreams however, were soon to be shattered by the Malden openers, Hammond and Walters, who took advantage of the short boundaries from the get-go. The opening bowlers, steaming in on uneven ground, struggled to hit their marks in wet conditions. A top-edge from Hammond off a quick, short ball from Swanson flew over the keeper for six; revealing the sort of day it was going to be. A couple of full tosses from Hope, who on Thursday had called “shotgun” on doing the match report, were duly dispatched to the square leg fence. After being shunned out of the attack and seeing his bowling figures (6-0-29), his enthusiasm for the match report quickly faded. Knighty, back from nursing a broken hand took his mark. By now though, the openers were set and continued to use the short boundaries to their advantage. Drinks provided some respite, with the score at 110 odd for none after 25.

There was a change in tempo after drinks, with the dual spin of Gokhul and Patrick putting the squeeze on the opening pair. Less than 30 came off the next 10 overs. Without a wicket though, Dulwich knew that an assault was coming. All we could do was continue the squeeze and pray for a dismissal. The opening pair started to accelerate, with Hammond choosing the sweep as his method of attack. The spin-twins held their nerve well to minimise the damage, but something needed to give. Faz decided it was time for some well-directed terrible chat to Hammond, letting him know that he wouldn’t want to get out so close to a century. Then it happened, the ball was tossed up and induced the false shot. Hammond was dismissed, LBW to Ghokul for 92, with Faz quick to claim the wicket as his own.

The Malden number 3, who had been in a helmet having throw-downs for two and a half hours strolled out onto the field, only to be sent back by the skipper and replaced by their big-hitter. And big did he hit it, despatching his first ball to the square leg fence and the second over cow-corner for mammoth six. That was to be the end of it though, being adjudged LBW to Patrick for 11. The onslaught had started, and a few cameos from Malden’s middle order racked up the runs despite Swanson’s valiant efforts at the death. The declaration came leaving Dulwich needing 272 off 47 overs for the win. A special mention to Patrick, who kept things tight in the middle, finishing with 14-2-31-1.

Faz and Cian were sent out to face the music. Cian fell early, edging a full delivery from Bateman through to the keeper. Faz at other end started well, despatching some short balls from Bateman to the boundary and bullying Bryant, the under-13 opening bowler, out of the attack by smashing him over his head and through the covers. The change in bowling worked for Malden with Faz, in Quinton De Kock-esque style, inside-edging a pull onto his pads with the ball ricocheting towards the stumps. In a desperate attempt to save his wicket, he ensured he was out by attempting to kick away the ball, but accidentally kicking his stumps. Dismissed for 20 runs off 13 balls wasn’t what he envisioned when he was practicing his switch hit against a 45mph bowling machine mid-week.  Darren Cason and Andy Kean continued with the aggression; Darren looking in sublime form and Andy flicking the seam bowling of Bateman over square for a glorious six. The pair reached 66 off 11 overs, until Darren nicked one to the keeper off Hopkins for 25. Andy followed soon after for 18, smashing one straight back to the bowler who took a sharp catch. It was up to Bails and Patrick to rebuild, but Patrick was soon back on the bench for 5. Enter Jonny Stone, with the score at 108 for 5 after 20 overs.

On the sideline, Knighty revealed plans to purchase a “towel t-shirt”. Starting at £69.99 for the basic model with prices rising to £125 for a polo, he informed us that the towel t-shirt is perfect for one who enjoys a swim while on a yacht or walking on a beach at sunset. This strongly divided opinion, and a raging debate followed between Knighty and everyone else who realised the stupidity of the idea. More was discovered about Knighty, when he publicised that he and an unknown cricket-acquaintance used to take naps together in the changing room.

Back to cricket, Bails and Stone began to rebuild. Bails played a patient innings, while Stone delivered some delightful shots to give Dulwich some hope. The runs started to flow again, and so did the wickets, with Bails being bowled for 26. Stone was left to nurse the lower order, but it wasn’t to be as he was dismissed for 35. Despite some big shots from the tail-enders and nine of the batsman reaching double figures, the task proved too much and Dulwich were dismissed for 218 in the 42nd over. Spare a thought for Hope, who’ll have to lie about his figures to his fiancé for fear of the wedding being called off later this year.

On a drizzly, murky Saturday in New Malden, Dulwich were defeated. We travel to bottom-placed Normandy next week. Another seemingly one-sided affair, but lessons to be quickly learnt to ensure the mighty Dulwich rise from the ashes.

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