Sat 9th June – 6th XI v Streatham and Marlborough

The 6th XI edged an entertaining and close fought battle against ye olde local enemies Streatham and Marlborough on Saturday. Batting first, Julian Dean and Aiden Reeves had the pleasure of taking first sledge from ex-Dulwich player Alf Grimsey.

Having watched the cunningly set trap of Alf moving himself back at mid-on back 20 yards, Dean skied the very next ball straight to him to depart contemplating retirement for 4. Reeves batted 8 overs for a well constructed duck to a ball that jagged back considerably from outside off stump / carried on from arm to stumps in a gun barrel straight trajectory untroubled by willow depending on whether you believe Aiden or the umpire.

The skipper (still batting 8 places too high) proceeded to play an entertaining innings where most of his 24 runs came from shots in an arc over, under and through first slip with the occasional lob towards cover for variety.

At 40 for 3, Dulwich needed a hero. Enter Nick Rochford. The author despite 8 years at the club has never had the pleasure of watching Nick bat and have to confess that I won’t be disappointed if I have to wait another 8 years to see it again. Flamboyant, swank, dashing, elegant, dazzling are all words that appear in the Oxford English Dictionary and will never appear in the same sentence as N. Rochford and cricket. (pedants will point out that they just have). With much swishing and flailing, air shots and general use of the extreme perimeters and back of the bat, Nick moved the scoring along before perishing in the nervous 9’s after 18 overs at the crease as Dulwich sought to rebuild. In keeping with such a glorious effort Nick was stumped in comic fashion with the keeper removing the bails with Nick’s foot firmly planted in the crease, Nick then going walk-about and the keeper flailing around with ball in hand trying to work out how to complete the job (pull the stump out mate!). Fearing a major diplomatic incident, the umpire enacted a justified mercy killing and headed off to put the bails back on and explain the laws of cricket to the bemused keeper.

Tim Brown sportingly volunteered to field for the opposition replacing the man in the covers who had ruptured his achilles. With his proven agility he was very much a like for like replacement, much to the delight of the Dulwich batsmen.

Ramon Sarao played himself in calmly before adding some long handle in the last few overs. With two balls to go he summoned his inner Worley by unleashing the charge reverse glide ramp shot and lost his middle stump for an entertaining 31. This allowed the Son of God to come in and unceremoniously hit the last ball for 4 (scoring 34 more fantasy points than last week’s one ball effort in the process).

Dulwich closed their innings on 193-5 off their allotted 40 overs. This could have been well over 250 if a certain S Bailey hadn’t taken sooooooo zzzzzzzzz much time compiling his ton. A proud Mancunian and born into a very sporting family including multiple World and Olympic champions, Simon has more than held his own by contributing a cycling proficiency badge, Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award and, cricket wise, a previous sojourn into the nineties in an under-13s match in the days in which his scalp was still fertile. The scorecard is lovingly preserved in Pa Pa Bailey’s household and dusted off reverentially on family visits.

Saturday June 16th 2018 was the chosen day for Bails to rewrite history with a well-crafted and chanceless innings played Gordon Greenidge style (Lords – June 1984) on two dodgy hamstrings. The event lovingly recorded in full technicolour detail by JL so there can be no doubt that it was 100 and not 99. At last a memento to put on Pa Pa Bailey’s mantelpiece next to Sarah’s 20+ Olympic medals. Rumours that an appearance on Question of Sport is imminent have so far gone undenied by Simon (mainly as I haven’t asked him).

After tea, Dulwich took the field with Dean taking over the gloves from Bailey. Matt Craig and Tom Thanks-For-Coming opened the bowling in steady fashion with runs hard to come by. The Son of God entered the fray with his usual mix of wides and unplayable yorkers to take the first wicket and put the doggies on top.

JC operated for a lengthy period with three slips, with the ball heading to and through the cordon with regularity. Brown at third slip, having let another one go through his legs, pondered out loud whether to put an extra slip in to which Bails quipped “where – in front of you?” much to the amusement of all.

At drinks, Streatham were reasonably placed at 70 for 1. Brown, informed air traffic control that he needed the fantasy points and would bring himself on to bowl and Heathrow implemented “Operation Pasty” causing a temporary build up of tired air travellers in Biggin Stack. As the rumble of passing 747’s subsided for the three minutes it takes Tim to bowl an over, Brown cunningly threw his first pie wide down the leg side and was despatched for 4. The second higher and straighter re-entered earth’s orbit right on middle stump to dismiss the dangerous opener for 38. Brown collected a further wicket a couple of overs later in similar fashion before ATC asked if they could have their air corridor back please.

By now Streatham needed 8 an over for the last 10 overs. Ramon decided to make a game of it by seeing how many different parts of the park he could get hit over, leaving Streatham favourites with 30 needed off 4 overs before Tom Thanks-For-Coming ran out Barrett-Johnston (both of them) for 47.

3 overs to go and 27 left this was the perfect chance for our death banker Matt Craig to seal the game with a new batsman at the crease. Studious field placing and a tight ring with instructions to squeeze the single hard were undone as the oppo bat hadn’t read the script and smacked 10 off the next two balls. 11 to win off 2.

With the game in the balance, the last two overs were delivered with high quality and precision by Tom Thanks-For-Coming and the Son of God to see us over the line.

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