VALLEY END 164 (34)
DULWICH 166 (41.4)
by 2 runs
Dulwich overcame a poor start in both innings to secure a nail-biting victory by two runs at Valley End and record their first victory of the season in Division 1 of the AJ Fordham Surrey Championship. John Lewis reports
Dulwich chose to bat but had a disastrous start as skipper Chris Purshouse, James Schofield and Ahmed Khan were all dismissed without scoring, to leave them reeling on 9-3 after five overs.
Ollie Steele had scored all of those runs and had advanced to 28, off 35 balls, before being bowled with the score on 35.
Frankie Brown was caught behind for 6 to make it 45-5, but Robbie Keaton, in his first match of the season, played a bright knock of 17, off 23 balls, before also being bowled.
Jon Lodwick thus joined South African overseas player Dan Crowley with the score on 62-6 in the 18th over, and together they turned the innings round in a partnership of 74 in 13 overs for the seventh wicket.
Crowley led the way in his best innings for the club to date, making 44 off 49 balls before being caught with the score on 136. Michael Harms went for a single, but Simon Harwood helped Lodwick take the score to 149 before the latter fell for 34, off 54 balls.
Harwood was joined by Salaar Waqar, in the unaccustomed position of number 11, and they put on a crucial 17 for the last wicket before Waqar fell for 6, leaving Harwood undefeated on 7.
Dulwich were all out for 166 after 41.4 overs. Valley End’s skipper, spinner Tom Nevin, was the pick of their bowlers with 4-31.
Harwood took the first wicket in his second over, but this was not enough to stop the Valley End batsmen racing away, taking full advantage of the fielding restrictions.
Jayden Clark faced just 22 balls in scoring 28 of the first 35 runs before falling to Harwood.
Ed Young continued the onslaught. The opening bowlers came off after conceding 76 runs in just nine overs as Purshouse turned to his spinners.
He gained immediate reward as Khan had Young lbw with his first ball for 29, off just 17 balls.
Josh Dodd continued the attack against Khan and Brown, who conceded 20 runs and 17 runs respectively off their first two overs, but the two spinners then started to take control.
Brown’s dismissal of Dodd for 32, off 21 balls, with the score on 124 in the 17th over, brought about an abrupt change in the course of the innings.
Brown followed up with two wickets in successive balls in his next over, starting with the obdurate Josh Chauhan, who had held one end steady for 23, off 46 balls, while the carnage went on at the other end.
Brown took another wicket in each of his next two overs, while Khan chipped in with the wicket of skipper Nevin.
Valley End had lost six wickets in seven overs for just 17 runs, in which they had also registered three consecutive ducks, to be reduced to 141-9.
The last wicket pair of Steve Wellman and Elliott Coggins thus came together with 26 runs still needed. Brown and Khan had three overs each left to bowl and the batsmen resisted staunchly against these to reach 149 at the end of their spells.
The spinners had both recovered superbly from their earlier mauling, with Brown finishing with 5-36 off his ten overs, and Khan 2-32 off his ten.
Amidst mounting tension, Wellman and Coggins took 14 off the next four overs, bowled by Waqar and Harwood.
The score had thus reached 163 when Purshouse turned to opening bowler Crowley, who had gone for 29 in his first four overs. It proved to be an inspired decision. Coggins took a single off the first ball but Wellman was bowled by the sixth to give Dulwich victory by two runs.
This win lifts Dulwich to eighth, level with Wimbledonians. Next week the format switches to “time” games, which, in this division, are played over a minimum of 120 overs. Dulwich have another difficult fixture when they travel to Guildford, who are currently third.