Dulwich Sports Ground, Turney Rd
14th May 2016
Weather grey but fair enough for it
South Bank CC won the toss and chose to bat
Having secured a weak medium opposition I decided to bat first when they said they were the 5th XI (of 5). Mark and Jon T opened and the opening bowler was a) wearing an Essex county top b) bowling off two paces and c) the keeper was standing as deep as I would to Hayes. So we concluded he might be a bit of alright. Which he wasn’t. First over he bowled mainly full tosses and Mark couldn’t believe his luck (after the pair he got last weekend). Other opening bowler was a young man with an ankle injury and a good line and length but no real venom. After that the best was a ten year old who bowled well but as wag Cohen put it when he heard the lad‘s name - Freestone - “that’s not his name it’s his weight!” he had just enough nip to come on nicely. At drinks JT and Mark were motoring along and the attack would need to have been more toothsome to overturn such resolute defence and application. Southbank 114-0.
After drinks the carnage continued. With nary a false shot let alone a chance JT and Mark tore into the flagging Alexandra park attack/defence. Both batsmen were most productive through the off side though at one point when the ball was being retrieved from beyond the fence on the leg side I trotted out to the middle to advise them both that I’d call them in at 100. Normally this is akin to the commentator’s curse (and was greeted as succh by both) but there was no chance that two stagers like Mark and JT would miss out now. JT duly made his hundred and claimed an extra run to ensure there was no accountancy error (101*) and Mark followed soon after on 100* dead on. These retirements gave Jim and Simon just enough time for a quick thrash. Simon played a little nervously and popped a ball to cover (B Rayan 11, 230-1). Jim played aggressively as ever and clattered the ball to all parts (occasionally missing out purely through the effort he was putting into each blow). Off the last ball of the innings he did what he sometimes finds a way to do - picking out a more senior fielder at backward square leg who somehow managed to clutch the ball at knee height - Jim b Karan 33 (off 17). This left Dave “where are my golden boots Dawkins” not out 3 and SBCC an imposing 269-2.
Alexandra Park CC bowling
Sharam, 5 overs 40-0
Rayan, 7 overs, 1 maiden, 27-1 (13 and their best all round and bowled through an ankle injury he told me).
Umear 4 overs, 25-0
Freestone 7 overs, 43-0 (ten years old and will be a handful in a few years)
Karan 6 overs, 43-0
Terry 8 overs, 40-0
Tom 3 overs, 32-0
Tea was enlivened by my getting my angles wrong on the pitch (a long and apparently hilarious story and for the record I was wrong - so very very wrong*). Tim opened from the MP memorial end (which is not quuiiittee as close to the pavilion as the pavilion end) where Ranj started. Both bowled tight aggressive spells and the game seemed immediately a no contest. King was struck on the foot dead in front (lbw Ranjan 1) and Tim picked up Mulbey caught and bowled 5. Murthy came on for Tim and first ball skipper Azeem shimmied down the wicket to push him through the covers and edged to Jim at slip (8). Those three were pretty much the ball game as those who followed focussed on defence over attack - not that this was always effective- Murthy blasted through Karan (b 6). At drinks Alexandra Park were 43-4 and I was wishing we’d offered a timed game.
Which was the challenge we set ourselves to bowl them out. Murthy followed up with a solo appeal on Mo (struck outside off on the thigh guard) - “lbw” 0. Murthy bowled too well to get the edge and Tim blasted in but couldn’t shift the defensively impressive number 4 Mike Hicks. Ranjan winkled out White with an absolutely beautiful delivery that nipped away off the pitch and kissed the edge to keeper me (8). Having bowled out the main strike bowlers I tried an over of Jon Dyson - and let’s just say it’s still too soon (stick to batting big man). Dan was enjoying things a little more and got the edge to Ranjan at gully off T Smith (throwing some aggressive shots for his 16). Dan then managed to get one on target to Sharam (it was all it needed but it took a while) b -0. Left handed Rayan showed he could bat as well as he could bowl and planted some nice boundaries through mid wicket off Dan and centurion JT getting an honorary over. “Catch is coming boys” called Simon and next ball it burst out of the sun and out of his hands. Next ball after that he nailed it to Tim who made no mistake this time “that’s how you catch them!” cried our triumphant Geordie - Rayan 16 at better than a run a ball and giving JT his first wicket in a long while. Meantime I was going to give our other centurion an honorary over too though Dave was happy to take the offer when Mark declined. All this was rendered moot when Jim (perfecting his off spin) finally lured the vigilant Hicks into a mis- stroke- hitting the double bunger back to the bowler who gratefully took the catch to end the game - Hicks out for 25 - Alexandra Park all out for 119.
South Bank CC bowling
Tim Williams, 8 overs, 1 maiden, 13-1
Ranjan, 8 overs, 3 maidens 12-1
Murthy, 8 overs, 1 maiden, 19-3
Dan Cohen, 8 overs, 1 maiden, 13-2
Jon Dyson, 1 over, 15-0
Jim Gant, 4.3 overs, 1 maiden, 21-1
Jon Thornton, 1 over, 8-1
A lovely bunch of lads (veteran Alexandra Parker's reminisced about seeing Doug Mumford which touching) but game was a mismatch that could have been addressed with a different approach had I known the opposition's strength (in Azeem‘s defence he didn't know it himself with half his team new to him). But we also played very well (a hundred is a hundred and a testament to the application as much as anything else) and the bowling would have turned over a far stronger outfit (would be good for Churchleigh next week) Plus good to beat someone at last especially nice folk who took simple pleasure in a good day out.
* Full version subject to gag order settlement (for a pint Jim said he'd not mention it again). Though as with all injunctions all heard it anyway and will no doubt bring it up at random moments for the next ten years.