BY JOHN LEWIS
Dulwich’s hopes of promotion from Division Two of the Surrey Championship took a dent when a depleted side lacking six first-team regulars lost a low-scoring match by four wickets against close rivals Stoke D’Abernon.
Dulwich were put into bat on a pitch giving movement to the seamers and turn for the spinners, and got off to a bad start when Veer Patel fell to his first ball for the second week running. This brought in Ahmed Khan – the second 14-year-old – who was making his first-team debut to join Chris Purshouse. The pair defended resolutely but found scoring difficult against a mixture of pace and spin, and the score had reached 41 in the 19th over when Purshouse was caught behind for 24, off 60 balls.
Alex Leyshon, recalled after scoring a century for the second team last week, joined Khan and the pair took the score to 63 in the 29th over when the youngster was caught at slip for 16, off a dogged 75 balls.
Matt Marfani went quickly, but Leyshon and stand-in skipper Will Bancroft advanced the score to 82-4 before Bancroft was stumped.
Leyshon followed four runs later, having made 19 off 59 balls. Nick Gunning and Simon Harwood took the score to 96-6 in the 42nd over, but both went on the same score. There was to be no repeat of the previous week’s tail end heroics as the last four wickets went down for eight runs.
Dulwich were dismissed for 104 in the 47th over. Nine of the wickets had fallen to the spinners, while keeper Tim Frost finished with three catches and a stumping.
Dulwich needed early wickets in reply, and got the ideal start when Harwood had Max Subba Row caught behind by Bancroft off the first ball.
A second wicket for Harwood and one for Sahir Hussain, both caught by Kamran Munawar at mid off, reduced Stoke to 11-3. Harwood could have got another wicket in his fifth over when Alastair Curran twice edged the ball through the slips to the boundary. Curran and Shawn Dyson added 44 in 12 overs for the fourth wicket before Curran was bowled by Gunning for 27.
With Dulwich’s three main spinners missing it was left to Pat George to lead the spin attack, but though he was able to put a brake on the scoring rate the batsmen managed to resist him. Bancroft turned to the leg spin of Khan, and was rewarded when he took two wickets in his third over. The first saw the two youngsters combine as Patel took a good catch at backward point. Four balls later Dyson was brilliantly held at long off by Harwood, having made 30, the highest score of the match.
At 79-6 Dulwich were still in the game, but Frost and Ben Zander proved equal to the task and took their side to victory without further loss.
Dulwich slip to third – their opponents leapfrogging them – but there are only seven points separating them with three matches remaining.
Dulwich go to Farnham on Saturday.
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