Sat 5th May – 5th XI v Wickham Park

A lovely sunny day to start the league season. With Jack Rutherford away, Tim was ready to skipper a strong side. There has been changes in the week but we still had a good blend of young and old, and a mix of Dulwich regulars and new boys.

The West Whickham ground looked in good condition and the wicket was in decent condition but a typical early season slow wicket. On winning the toss we decided to bat. It wasn’t a great innings as we had six batsmen bowled and one run out. Early season decision making was not great. Tim played across the line and chipped a full toss to square leg and Harry Chathli jnr edged a catch to slip. At 7 for 2 we were not off to a good start. New boy Alex Bigham dug in and tried to build a partnership with Rahul Weston. For a little while things ticked over but as they introduced spin to the attack the game took a turn in their favour. First Alex attacked a bit too aggressively to be bowled for 14, Simon Moore was bowled first ball around his legs and a mixup in calling and running between Sakib Rashed and Rahul Weston (run out for 15) left us 5 down 13 overs into the innings with only 27 on the board. Three wickets in an over usually slows the momentum. Sakib soon went too. It was left to Rhys Williams with 14 and James Worley with a lengthy and well intentioned 4 from 42 balls to start a fightback. David Begg came and went and Kevin Whiteman scored 20 batting at 10 and looked the most assured batsmen other than Rahul on display. Josh Nava at 11 gave a little resistance as we stretched the first innings to the last over of 40 and Kevin was last out with our score on 96.

The highlight of the tea interval was Simon Moore asking Tim as skipper “Did you win the toss”, when answered in the affirmative he then asked “And what did you choose to do”.

The half time talk involved plans of keeping it tight and being aggressive as the wickets fell. After the first two overs from Kevin Whiteman and Sakib Rashed West Whickham were 20 without loss and the small total looked even smaller. After this we bowled and fielded really well and slowly put pressure on the batsmen. Kevin found his line on the sloping pitch and picked up his first wicket for Dulwich with a fine gully catch from David Begg, immediately preceded by the sound of the ball hitting David flush in the chest. Rhys came on as first change and had a great spell 7 overs 3 for 18 as he kept getting the inside of the bat and deflections onto the stumps. We turned to spin and a few nervous overs from Josh which included a likely runout miss.

Both David and Simon tied the opposition down a bit. David had one unlucky lbw shout where the umpire said “Not out as it pitched outside off!!!!. A later less likely lbw shout was given and Simon picked up a sharp Caught and Bowled. As West Wickham edged towards victory we brought Kevin back and he took another two wickets to leave himself with fine figures of 3 for 21 off 9 overs.

When the scores were level we took the eighth wicket but a miraculous recovery was thwarted and West Wickham won by 2 wickets with almost 7 overs to spare. A dogged performance after the first 42 overs of the match but we need to put larger scores on the board to give our bowling attack a real chance.

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