Sat 9th June – 6th XI v Beckenham

The 6th XI headed towards the county ground at Beckenham but came up about half a mile short on an astro pitch by a leisure centre. That wasn’t the biggest early controversy however, Julian Dean arrived at the ground fresh off the back of his decision to triple captain Beggsy only to find out he’d pulled out with an unsubstantiated knee injury, this created early friction between Julian and skipper Tim Brown, as Brown (just above Julian in the fantasy league table) had switched Beggsy just before the midday deadline!

Having lost the toss and been asked to bat, the fantasy scandal seemed to be playing on Julian’s mind as he struggled to get the ball off a rather small square in the first 10 overs, but with opening partner Tahsin (17*) and extras ticking along Dulwich made it to 39-0 off 10, despite Julian (4*) collapsing to the ground with a shout of “oh no” at the end of sluggishly run single following an atrocious shot that dribbled to short third man off his outside edge, this was not the only time Julian ended up in a heap on the ground! With the strain of trying to score for 2, Tahsin tried to play some shots but got caught at mid off for 19, 45-1, extras still comfortably outsourcing Julian.

Waqas joined Julian in the middle and immediately tried to get bat on ball prompting Julian to attempt some shots to avoid the embarrassment of being outscored by Waqas within only a few balls. The score moved along to 68, with some entertaining running, then Julian offered a simple chance to mid off which was gladly accepted, so he departed for 16 in the 18th over.

Sakib joined Waqas but before either could get going Waqas chipped the ball behind square sweeping one of Beckenham’s two young spinners for another simple catch. Simon Bailey then joined Sakib and the pair steadied the ship taking the score past 100 with reality ease, although the large quantity of grass cuttings on one side of the outfield meant batsmen rarely got value for their shots. Both Sakib and Bailey managed the odd boundary though, with a beautiful pick up over square leg for 6 the highlight for Sakib. After a stand of 66 at close to a run a ball, Bailey missed a slow straight one and departed for 26. Henry Entwistle came and went, before Brown strode at 7, four places too high according to Julian. Brown didn’t last long however and departed for 4 as he and Sakib tried to keep the score board ticking.

Julian had entered the game as an umpire at this point to get a closer look at how a batsmen would go about hitting the ball off the square and wanting to make his mark on things, called Sakib for one short when turning for two.

With Rhys “Serena” Williams now at the crease, Sakib finally fell 3 short of his 50, Beckenham holding on to another catch. At 154-7 the innings was stalling somewhat but cameos from Williams and James Worley gave the innings a little gloss. Worley crunched his first ball down the ground for 6, taking his batting efforts of the last 3 weeks to 11 off 72 balls. He then executed a charge, swat, ramp shot which had to be seen to be understood.

Dulwich finished their 40 overs on 181-9. A fairly satisfying effort, on a ground that didn’t offer much for the purist!

Into the second half and just 2 balls in the skippers plan to hide Julian at first slip fell apart. Will Palmer opening the bowling drew the edge but Julian, only reaching down by his ankles to tie his shoe lace, proceeded to drop the catch and destroy his thumb in the process. After several minutes collapsed in a heap on the floor, Julian declined Bailey’s kind offer of a cake and left the field.

Fielding with 10 didn’t seem to make much difference and runs where at a premium. Wickets however were just as hard to come by, despite Rhys and Will bowling with pace and accuracy. The break through came when Sakib took a smart catch off Will Palmer in the 9th over.

Julian returned to the field just in time for Waqas to hurt himself and have to depart proceeding. Beckenham’s stubborn resistance continued and at 50-1 at drinks they where behind the rate but with wickets in hand. Brown had a quick spell and troubled both the batsmen and air traffic control, but not the wickets column. It wasn’t until John Comerford and James “what in the world does he actually bowl” Worley bowled in tandem that things changed. Both provided their own unique variations and wickets started to fall at regular intervals. John took 2 and James 3, the skipper then sensed more fantasy points for himself and returned to clean up the tail (the young bowlers mentioned earlier!). His plan worked and 3 wickets from Brown and a Sakib run out finished off Beckenham for 106.

A comfortable win and enjoyed by all except Julian’s thumb. Special mention must go to Henry behind the stumps for his enthusiastic and high quality keeping. He was unlucky not be awarded a couple of stumpings but also entertained with several solo appeals for imaginary edges!

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