Sat 2nd September – 4th XI v Streatham & Marlborough

DULWICH 228 (43.3) beat STREATHAM & MARLBOROUGH by 77 runs


With the league won by Wimbledon last week, Dulwich 4’s approached Saturday’s fixture in a relaxed mood, with one eye on the after-game shenanigans back at the club. However, with a strong side out, we were certainly not going risk losing the game, especially to local rivals S&M.

The game itself followed the demeanour of the team, played in a great spirit against a decent bunch of blokes. The S&M ground looked resplendent in the sunshine, with the church peeking over the trees and a delicious tea in-between innings. In fact, with nothing at stake, this report can be a gentle run through of the day, rather than the usual collection of salacious half-truths and sarcastic similes.

Losing the toss, Skipper Dixon was delighted to be invited to have first crack at a decent looking track safe in the knowledge that his bowling uber-attack was in place to dig the team out of the inevitable mess the batting would make of setting a target. With this idea in mind, he decided the bowlers might as well score the runs as well and so promoted Ben Lester, Ollie Tobin, Prasanna and Sunil up the order and put his feet up.

Unfortunately, his peace lasted only 30 seconds. With the game ready to start, Umpire Inglis was behind the stumps, but his square leg counterpart David Woods was missing. Bizarrely he was then spotted striding authoritatively out to the middle of Streatham’s main ground, accompanying two panel umpires, like a kind of odd lab-coat threesome, to officiate the 2nd Team match.

After a brief re-enactment of Alan Partridge (Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave……………..Dave… Dave), Woodsy was installed at square leg and the game started. Partnering Zeeshan this week was Ben Lester as the skipper’s original choice of a Prasanna / Zeesh open partnership would probably have led to an investigation and likely prosecution from the league.

And what an inspired choice he was. Against the S&M trundlers, Lester looked a class act with any number of supremely timed on drives. Coupled with the brawn of Zeeshan, the pair raced past 50 within 5 overs and on to 90-0 within the first 10.

Zeeshan was the first to fall, plumb in front to a donkey drop from high altitude from spinner Stephen Horlock, for a terrific 50 – he left the field furious as he knew a ton was his for the taking. He has been our most prolific batsman this year, with 306 runs for 4’s (plus the 151 he scored in his only game for the 5’s).

Tobin joined Lester in what must be the 4’s most athletic looking batting partnership – no obvious signs of arthritis, beer guts or venereal disease between these two… However, good looks can only get you so far and it didn’t take Horlock long to get Tobin, this time with his long-hop variation, miraculously caught by Bobby Iftikhar, somewhere in the tennis courts, without his feet crossing the boundary rope.

Pras came in at 4 and tried to play like a proper batsman, especially to Iftikhar who had now joined the attack. He obviously looked ridiculous and it was a relief to see him smack another full bunger from Horlock down the throat of the fielder on the cow boundary.

Ollie Smith joined Lester and for a while,the two knocked the ball around for 5 or 6 an over. Lester was looking the more fluent of the two, having played himself in and favouring the leg side, with flicks through mid-wicket and punches down to mid-on. He past 50 for the first time for Dulwich and went on to a fine 76 before holing out at deep mid-wicket.

The rest of the innings requires little coverage. In short; Ollie Smith contributed a gutsy 47 to see us past 220. He also ran a few players out to make sure we didn’t get 250. When he ran out of players to run out, he ran himself out (Got that?) Inglis got one of the few genuinely good balls of the day. Skipper Dixon though he had hit a straight six, whilst arrogantly holding his checked drive pose – only to see it just clear regulation mid-on. Woodsy managed to arrive to bat on the right wicket and got us through to 228. Should have been 280 really, but given our track record, the skipper was delighted.

Oh, and if any Dulwich talent scouts are reading – have a look at young S&M spinner Will Kay. He looks a real prospect and we should bribe his parents and bring him to Dulwich. In the words of Ben Lester, “his wrist makes a weird clicking noise when he bowls” No idea if this is a good thing, but let’s face it, Ben Lester knows a thing or two about high quality spin bowling.

Following the skipper’s simplistic attitude to bowling changes, our reply with the ball went like this.

Sunil and Swainy opened. Both bowled their nine overs straight off. Both must have beaten the bat 25 times before opener Paul Henly ran himself out for 7. There is little doubt they have been the best opening pair in the league this year and their performances in 2017, alongside David Woods, have contributed massively to the team being in the league position it is. Sunil ended up with 3 wickets to take his season total to 21 wickets, Swainy didn’t take any (which even I’ll admit was a travesty) but finished on 22 for the season.

Next up came Woodsy and Tobin. Again, both bowled their 9 overs straight through. For once Woodsy ended up wicketless, but has still take 24 this season and is the perfect man to come on once Sunil and Swainy have removed the top order. Tobin was a more than able partner and will be a huge player for Dulwich next season, although it is unlikely to be in the 4’s. He took 4 wickets on the day, to end the season on 9 for the 4th team off only 19 overs.

The Streatham innings was a bit of a bore frankly. They didn’t have the batsmen to make a game of it, although Horlock managed to swipe 40-odd at the end. With no pressure, skipper could share the last few overs around. Cormac Meade came on having not bowled for a month and was bang on the money straight away, Pras bowled a couple overs of spin-ish stuff, before the Chuckle Brothers Inglis and Chaudhry closed the season in a suitably ludicrous manner with 5 overs of pies between them.

So that’s it. All over for 2017. We came second to a very, very good Wimbledon side who only lost once all year. We had a batting collapse in every single game other than a 10 wicket win against Reigate. We ended up on a record points total of 284. To put this in context the league was won on 259 last year.

It has been hugely good fun, with team spirit that is off the scale. A big thank you to everyone who has played, to Swainy for stepping in as skipper, to John Howard for the wickets at DSG and to Jackie Howard for keeping us fed and watered.

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