Youth, a maiden century and a little luck keep Dulwich in the first division

DULWICH 225-6 (50)
lost to
CRANLEIGH 311-9 (50)
by 86 runs

cricket team photo
Dulwich after the match: Back row: Ollie Sykes, Sammy Fookes, Jon Lodwick, Simon Harwood, Sam Ellison, John Lewis (scorer) Front row: Robbie Keaton, James Schofield, Ahmed Khan, Chris Purshouse (captain), Dan Crowley, Ollie Steele, Michael Harms

Dulwich lost their final match of the season against leaders Cranleigh, but other results went in their favour and they retained their place in Division 1 of the AJ Fordham Surrey Championship. John Lewis reports

Cranleigh won the toss and chose to bat, putting on a dominating performance to amass 311 off their 50 overs.

The innings was built around a commanding knock of 132 off 100 balls by South African overseas player Carl Fortuin, followed by a rapid 59 not out off 48 balls by Robin Pritchard.

Dulwich knew that they had to win or gain a full hand of eight bonus points to be sure of safety, so their first target was to take nine wickets to capture three bowling points.

With only seven wickets down going into the penultimate over, this seemed unlikely, but Dan Crowley took a wicket in the 49th and then Jon Lodwick struck with the fourth ball of the 50th to rapturous applause to secure the third point.

The wickets were shared between Crowley, Lodwick, Simon Harwood and Sammy Fookes, who each took two, and Ahmed Khan who took one, but was the least expensive.

Dulwich started their innings with the minimum aim of reaching 250 to secure five batting points.

But, as the innings progressed, news that Old Wimbledonians had beaten Stoke D’Abernon meant that one batting point would suffice, so they only needed to score 150.

They were therefore able to pace their innings with this in mind, and this target was reached in the 38th over for the loss of three wickets.

By this time opening bat James Schofield was on 74, and the main interest for the rest of the innings was to see whether he could reach his maiden century for the club.

He advanced in ones and twos until a boundary off the last ball of the innings took him to the landmark.

He had taken part in stands of 31 for the first wicket with Ollie Steele (13), 44 for the second with Chris Purshouse (17), 31 for the third with Khan (11), 57 for the fourth with Sam Ellison (29), 14 for the fifth with Crowley (12), 17 for the sixth with Robbie Keaton (11) and 31 undefeated for the seventh with Harwood (11 not out).

His unbeaten 103 had taken 153 balls, but had ensured that Dulwich did not experience any alarms in pursuit of their targets. It also made him the second player, along with Steele, to top 500 runs for the season, the first time for 12 years that two players have achieved this feat. The innings closed on 225-6.

Beddington also lost, so Dulwich ended the season in seventh place.

Four 17-year-olds have played for the side whenever school commitments have allowed, and all have made valuable contributions.

Khan was one of them. He was present throughout the season and finished as the leading wicket taker for the second year running.

Dulwich will be looking to retain their youth policy next year as they seek to build on their performance in the latter half of the season.