Tues 24th October – Tour XI v Cricket Club of India

CRICKET CLUB OF INDIA 352-5 (35) beat DULWICH 114 (27.2) by 238 runs

You may recall that yesterday's report concluded with a quote from the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare. Today's match report bears a not immediately apparent similarity to Act Four of the master's greatest tragedy: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Those Shakespearean scholars amongst you will be aware that Act Four is remarkable in that Shakespeare removes from the action the Prince himself, who is sent to England, before returning in Act Five to defeat Laertes in a sword fight and avenge himself on his murderous stepfather. Many members of Dulwich Cricket Club have remarked how similar in character your correspondent is, to the ill-fated and flawed tragic hero. Although one or two cynical members of the club were moved to say: "well actually Jim I see you more as Edmund the Bastard in King Lear.”

The fact is, for reasons known only to the selection committee, Gibson was not selected for this match. He was sent to England along with Trevor Griffiths (alias Rosencrantz) and Mike Owen (Guildenstern).

But we will let that pass.

Today's game also had more than a passing resemblance to Shakespeare's play. The Brabourne Stadium, like Elsinore Castle, inhabited by ghosts. In the former’s case, they are of Farookh Engineer and Sunil Gavaskar. Both of whom, I have it on the highest authority, are ringers for the ghost of Hamlet's father. Dulwich's captain for the day was Polonius, also known as Dave Woods, a cricketer of advanced years but one who, in cricketing terms is highly experienced and when the wind is southerly knows a hawk from a handsaw.

Many of you will recall the David Lean classic film "Bridge on the River Kwai". In this film Sir Alec Guinness, a wartime prisoner of the Japanese, was asked to sit in a small corrugated iron box for many hours at a time. One suspects that the temperature inside that box was not dissimilar to those experienced by the Dulwich fielders in this vast concrete and steel bowl of a cricket ground.

Nevertheless, the Dulwich bowlers stuck to their task. Woods rotated his bowlers and as each one stepped up to the plate the CCI batting was frustrated and restricted to the modest and not unattainable total of in of 352 off 35 overs. Simon Peters was the most miserly of these bowlers with figures of 7 overs 0 maidens 0 wickets 72 runs conceded. Only your correspondent can claim to have more niggardly statistics as a bowler, on one occasion he was actually dispatched into 3 separate counties by the same batsman in the same match. Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset have never been the same.

At one point Quaife, (the hero of yesterday's Titanic struggle against Hindu Gymkhana) found himself on a hat trick. He also bowled an illuminating couple of overs which reads 4 wide dot 4 wide wide wicket wicket . Wide 1 wide 4 4 wide 6 wicket. Other than this the first hour and a half of the game passed without incident, or at least, your correspondent thinks this is the case as he was not actually on the ground for this session of play. He was waylaid in Leopold’s Bar the previous evening working his way through the prodigiously named Leopold’s Lager Tower. You do not need me to tell you that Leopold’s Lager Tower is like Ronseal, it does what it says on the tin. The only other interesting that happened at this point was that John Smith ran out of people to delegate tasks to and there was an anxious moment when we thought he might have to actually do some of these tasks himself.

It would be fair to say that the Dulwich innings was more like the Midsummer Night's Dream play within a play “Pyramus and Thisbe” which is performed by rude mechanicals in front of the Duke of Athens. Only Guy Skinner, happily recovered from his dalliance with the dreaded lurgy the day before, Ed Middleton and Simon Peters made it to double figures and the Dulwich innings subsided to 114 all out. It was interesting to note, however, the puzzlement on the faces of the CCI fielders as they watched the Crown Prince of Denmark bowling one perfectly flighted off break after another to a standing sprinkling hosepipe on the other side of the boundary.

Can we look forward to Hamlet uttering the famous words "Alas poor Yorick" in the Gravediggers scene in Chandrigarh?

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