Sun 29th October – Tour XI v Amandeep Cricket Academy

DULWICH 186-7 (35) lost to AMANDEEP CRICKET ACADEMY 189-4 (29) by six wickets

In many ways this game resembled the Indo-Pak Border Ceremony the Dulwich party had witnessed the day before. In this ceremony, two implacable foes perform an elaborate ritual of Panto mimic inanity instead of blowing each other to smithereens. In the ceremony, the first thing that happens is what can only be described as a warm up man appears dressed in a white shirt and trousers and gets the watching multitude worked up to a frenzy of patriotic enthusiasm.

Skipper Bailey decided to follow suit by handing the opening batting slot to Gibson. Unfortunately, only one person on the Amandeep ground managed to work up the same enthusiasm watching Gibson’s batting and that was the man in charge of the public address system, who persisted in giving us an unintelligible commentary, even as the bowler was running up to bowl.

Amandeep opened with a fairly swift 15 year old and a professional cricketer from the Yorkshire League and it was no surprise when Gibson’s opening partner Woodgate had his middle stump surgically removed in the classic manner. Gibson continued in his alliterative way nudging, nurdling, and nabbing the odd single until, to the general relief of the rest of the Dulwich side, he played the ball on to his pad and on to the stumps.

Your correspondent would like it to be known that although he has always been known as a gutsy adhesive batsman in the Steve Waugh mould, he has occasionally, in his 44 years long cricketing career been prized from the crease, but never by a bowler calling himself “Lovely”.

The sheer pedestrian ordinariness of Gibson’s innings was camouflaged by a fine cameo vignette played by Steward who swept and drove with Compton-esque ease. Even this innings was eclipsed by the fine shotmaking of Skinner who lambasted the Amandeep bowlers to most parts of the Punjab. He was accompanied for some of this innings by the pugnacious Tulsiani who specialised in hitting the ball very hard, sadly, on several occasions this was directly to an Amandeep fielder.

Tulsiani was eventually bowled and replaced by the somewhat hungover and dissipated Blench. I have to say, Ladies and Gentlemen, that I have heard from a very reliable but anonymous source, that this is not the first time Blench has been somewhat the worse for wear at a DCC tour. He has what is known as “form”. Many will recall his first visit to South Wales as a young Dulwich College schoolboy pleading to be taken out with the “big boys” to the steaming fleshpots of Swansea Harbour where he first developed his famous John Wayne walk but ended up in the words of my anonymous source “poleaxed”. He insisted that he joined the younger elements of this tour on a rabble rousing tour of the more louche Amritsar bars and bordellos and yet again, ending the evening in a similar state of intoxication and inebriation. It is to be hoped that his old school colleague Nigel Farage does not demand Blench’s deportation as part of a hard Brexit.

Nevertheless, Blench did manage a couple of boundaries against the now relatively blunt sword of the Amandeep bowling and Dulwich concluded their innings on 186 for 6 off 35 overs.

The Amandeep innings was opened by the aforementioned Lovely and his partner in crime Micky. It is a matter of conjecture whether Micky and Lovely’s mothers were fans of the work of Walt Disney. Perhaps Grumpy or Dumbo would come in at number 4.

Unfortunately, the next batsman was, in fact, Abhay who’s innings of 60 retired included no less than 11 boundaries and left skipper Bailey in something of a pickle. None of his bowlers had made substantial inroads into the accomplished Amandeep batting and it was something of a relief to the watching Dulwich faithful when the wily and resourceful off spinner Gibson was ultimately brought into the fray.

It was no surprise to the spectators when Gibson almost took a wicket with his first ball: a delicately flighted long hop which almost ended up in the hands of extra cover. Could we see a repeat of Gibson’s remarkable spell of 7 for 14 against the National and Grindlay’s bank in 1973? A bowling spell so devastating that the bank itself went out of business a few years later. Sadly, it was not to be: Montu and Sawan saw the Amandeep batsmen home with 6 overs to spare. The game ended with a splendid ceremony when various plaques, shirts, ties and ephemera were exchanged and John Smith made a speech of surprising brevity.

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