So we set off half away across the world (Dulwich) knowing that only a win would keep promotion dreams alive.
The day started well as we all arrived on time to find ourselves with no oppo to face to only find out they were the other side of the hedge. Anyway to the game…
I won the toss and with the sun shining, an ‘okay’ pitch and small boundaries I chose to bat. Alwyn and Adam opened and got off to a fantastic start. Playing some lovely shots and feasting off some indifferent early bowling. Adam fell for a brisk 17 with the score at 47. Alwyn continued batting superbly when David joined him at the crease. They both continued to race the score along, punishing the bad ball and running well (David would later feel this in the field). David departed LBW for a well-made 24 which brought Bhups to crease with us starting to think 300+ could be on the cards. Bhups played himself by smashing a daddy 6 over long on (maybe 400 on the cards I heard someone say). Unfortunately, shortly after this it all went a bit wrong. Alwyn fell caught at point for a superb 74 (well batted). This brought me to the crease hiding at 5 hoping to rattle the score along with Bhups. For those who know, Bhups and I seem to be cursed and never score runs in the same game – this was our chance….Next ball Bhups caught at deep square leg and I shortly after bowled for a well-made 2. The nervous but steady and consistent Will came to the crease with the brief of steadying the ship (166-5 at the point with plenty of overs remaining). Will and Chirag formed a decent partnership and the ship seemed steady until Will was caught at slip for 9. Chirag fell shortly after for 14 and Chris also found himself back in the shed.. With Phil rapidly putting his belly away to get his whites on, the game was very much in the balance at 193-8. This gave Daffyd an opportunity to prove he is much better than a number 10 or 11 (which I am pleased to say he did) as we felt we needed in excess of 200. Prem and Daffyd formed a steady partnership. Prem looking solid and Daf playing some big shots. The score raced along and we found ourselves 231 for 9 off our 45 overs (well batted both).
A big of a mixed bag all in all – we definitely should have made more but all in all we would have taken 231 if it was offered before a ball was bowled. A great knock ball Alwyn, along with contributions from David, Adam and Daffyd ensured we felt pretty confident at the break.
After a long hike to and from the tea room we were ready to try and defend our total.
Bhups and Daffyd opened the bowling and bowled well, particularly Daffyd who bowled all 9 overs through for a miserly 22 runs (NO WIDES). Always looked threatening but to be fair to their openers played well. With the pitch fading it was felt the slower bowling would be harder to get away so in the absence of Elliot, David was brought on to bowl some off spin. At this point Ploughmans were still in with a chance as they found themselves 60 odd without loss. Although behind the run rate they were carefully negotiation the bowling to give themselves a chance.
Enter Phil ‘the belly’ Nacmanson….Clearly either bowling with a different ball or on a different pitch to everyone else, Phil starting ripping through their line-up. Has to be said that he got rid of their openers with two full tosses that were spooned and caught but other than that the other 5 wickets were well earnt. Phil seemed to find the line, length and pace of the pitch better than any other bowler and it was jagging around, keeping low, bouncing. It was a crazy 20 minutes of cricket but really pleasing to watch as his spell really changed the game from being a potentially close game all over – really well bowled – a match winning spell.
Worth noting that Prem also bowled one of the best spells I have seen from him – bowling all 9 through in the heat with zero bad balls. Had batsman hopping around with in-swinging Yorkers and playing and missing a number of times. A really impressive spell!
Somehow they managed to not get bowled out (credit to them), they ended their 45 overs 163-9.
Worth noting it was a great fielding display all round with catches being held (except for real difficult ones) and ground fielding also impressing. David – for the next game maybe try not wearing lead boots when in the field!
All in all a good team performance and it is genuinely pleasing that everyone is chipping in with great performances just when we need them. Our strength in depth is probably our biggest asset and for once we are actually using it. Well done all.
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Photo provided from Dulwich Sports Ground -Southwark Community Sports Trust