Sat 19th August – 2nd XI v Banstead

BANSTEAD 236-8 (50) beat DULWICH 195 (47.3) by 41 runs

Scorecard

The second place 2s travelled down to 3rd place Banstead knowing two things. Firstly, it was a big game, and secondly, it was a big game. A win and promotion would be effectively sealed. Captain Bridgand lead from the front, arriving at the ground well ahead of time after leaving his other half in the  Worcester area (Steward being unable to produce a get out of jail free card).

The remainder of the squad rocked up at 11am and set about a strong warm up. Silky smooth football, faultless catching… and then the toss was duly lost and Dulwich took the field to have a bowl, knowing that hitting them hard early on was going to be key. Bridgland asked Stone if he fancied slip. "Gully actually,” came the reply, to which the skipper deferred. Four balls in and Stone took a fine catch at gully to remove the Banstead skipper as Bridgland hit his straps early. Three overs later Jones induced a loose drive and a comfortable catch by Woodgate had them two down. All this brought Hussain to the crease, scorer of 103 in the reverse fixture. An early saunter down the wicket to flick Jones backward of square for six caused a little anxiety, but a few balls later Jones had his man LBW. Bridgland and Patanker then teamed up and Banstead were suddenly 21-4. Unfortunately this is where the day started to unravel for the good guys. 30-5 slipped through our fingers as Tulsiani dropped Condle at first slip – a tricky chance but one the Tulsman would expect himself to grab. A decent recovery took Banstead to 80-4 before Arabi produced a sharp bit of fielding to run out Chesser for 19. At the other end Condle was punishing anything wayward on his way to a crucial red ink century for his team, ably assisted by wicket keeper Elster, as the Dulwich bowling served up too many loose balls. Even the introduction of the Chaos Engine couldn’t bring the breakthrough. Elster and Condle took the score to 206 before the number 7 fell caught and bowled to a juggling Arabi. A couple more wickets went as the hosts struck out for home, finishing on 236-8.

After one of the top two or three teas on the Surrey circuit the Dulwich top order prepared to go into battle. Towner and Stone strode purposefully out to the middle, knowing a solid start was all important – Towner duly falling LBW to the first ball of the innings. Stone and Johnson then underwent a thorough examination from the young left arm seam of Calum Estall, who produced a top-class opening spell, competently backed up by Pitchley. The unmistakable Joshua Gillam came on first change and Stone relaxed his guard too far and chipped tamely to cover. Dulwich 28-2. Woodgate, making his 2s debut, came in at four and, after a lovely drive for four through cover point was caught down the leg side. By now Johnson was hitting his straps, looking determined and playing with style until he departed for a good-looking 26. A hard-charging Tulsiani was next to go for a promising 18 (makes a change from going for a promising 18 year old), a full-pitched ball from Gillam trapping him in front. Arabi tried to bludgeon his way into form but only picked out long on – Dulwich were now 88-6. George and Patanker now at the crease, and the fight back was now or never. George was struggling to find a plan and was soon bowled by Head.

Bridgland then joined an increasingly fluid looking Patanker, who by this time was hitting his stride, punishing anything loose, and producing some lovely leg side flicks. Bridgland was in some big hitting form, and the required 10 an over wasn’t looking out of reach (although it wasn’t looking exactly within reach either). Bridgland and Patanker’s partnership forced the return of 17-year-old opening bowler Estall to try and force the breakthrough. This spell wasn’t quite as probing though, and as Bridgland smacked him back over his head, he somewhat optimistically squared up to the Dulwich captain with a rather petulant push in the back. Not really on, but it was good fun. Patanker, passed his 50 as Bridgland’s hitting finally saw him caught for 22. The Dulwich keeper-talisman was flagging somewhat by this stage but still giving it a go when he was the last wicket down for an excellent 80. Dulwich then 195 all out, to lose by 41 runs.

Dulwich must now prepare for a massive game against league leaders Malden Wanderers next week; a game so massive it has its own internet domain, a game so important it makes Brexit look like a parlour game, a game bigger than The Beatles, Usain Bolt and Raj’s Friday nights combined. In short, a big big game.

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