At Dulwich Sports Ground, Monday 9 May 2011
Dulwich CC team: Noah Baker, James Chapman, Christian Freeman, Felix Gilbert, Isaac Gleave, Conor Moody, Finn Raben-Christensen, Fergus Russell, Charlie Stamp (captain), Max Swanson, Jude Tinkler-Davies (wicketkeeper), Devan Wasan.
Result: Dulwich CC U9s won by 123 runs.
Scores: Alleyn & Honor Oak U9s 212 – 9, Dulwich CC U9s 335 – 3
Dulwich began the 2011 season in much the same way as they ended the previous one: with a comprehensive victory over neighbours EAHO. Dulwich welcomed back the core of their successful 2010 team, alongside Noah Baker, Finn Raben-Christensen and Fergus Russell who all made their debuts for the club.
Charlie, captaining the side for the first time, won the toss and took first use of the new ball on a green wicket. He was looking to his seam attack to put Dulwich on top and was not disappointed as Max and James each took two wickets in their opening spell, reducing EAHO to 188 after the first four overs. They both finished with excellent figures: Max took two wickets for three runs and James two for four. Isaac, Charlie and Conor sustained the pressure, all bowling economically and chipping in with the odd wicket.
The introduction of the Dulwich spin twins, Christian and Devan, saw further wickets tumble. Christian took a few balls to find his line but then took two wickets; Devan immediately found a good length and loop and was rewarded with a wicket maiden. Noah, Felix, Fergus and Finn then closed out the innings, leaving EAHO on 212-9.
For the first game of the new season, it was a decent bowling and fielding performance. There were some inevitable cobwebs to shake off and some early season nerves, especially for our new players, but once they relaxed into the rhythm of the game there was plenty of potential on display. There was one clear area for improvement: we bowled no less than 30 wides and no-balls, presenting EAHO with 60 gift-wrapped runs and making ‘extras’ comfortably their leading scorer.
The manager asked Dulwich’s opening pair, Christian and Charlie, to lay a solid foundation for a good score. He got a fair deal more than that as they put the EAHO opening attack to the sword, hitting some elegant cover drives and, from Christian, one huge Viv Richards-style six over midwicket. His lycra-clad father, ten metres beyond the boundary rope, rolled back the years to leap salmon-like and pluck a magnificent one-handed catch out of the Dulwich sky. Only he shelled it. It reminded some spectators of the time Freddie Flintoff smashed a six over long-off at Lord’s, where his dad copped it full on the forehead. But it was a lot less elegant than that.
Anyhow, Christian and Charlie’s excellent opening stand set the scene for what was to come. Only three wickets fell throughout the entire Dulwich innings – a testament to good concentration and shot selection – and James, Fergus, Conor and Max all made double-figure scores. Conor deserves special mention for top-scoring with 18 off 8 balls including four emphatic boundaries.
This was a very good start to the season: this side’s largest ever margin of victory, our statistician informs me. Well done to all our players for concentrating hard throughout a long match. And particular congratulations to our debutants: we are very glad to have Noah, Fergus and Finn on board and we are a stronger side this season.
There are tougher challenges ahead – not least Esher later this week – but for now we can take a good deal of satisfaction in a winning start to the season.
Next match: away to Esher, Friday 13 May.