Saturday 15th June 2019
AJ Fordham Surrey Championship
Stoke D’Abernon 179 all out (40.4 overs)
Dulwich 151 for 9 (51 overs)
Match Drawn – ‘Winning Draw’ to Stoke D’Abernon
Visitors Dulwich may have won an important toss and were ahead for large parts of the match, but they had to withstand a tremendous post drinks fightback by Stoke who secured a winning draw with the last pair hanging on.
Missing their first choice opening bats a new combination took strike under grey skies in the shape of acting captain Tom Frost, and returning Stoke colts product Tristan Caviet, the latter playing his first game for Stoke since 2003 and his first League match for the Club since September 1999.
Frost was an early departure when he was bowled playing forward, and No.3 Ian Hopton could do nothing about a length ball that spat and ballooned to the keeper; but Caviet played nicely for his 31 from 47 balls faced with five fours before being third out with the score on 54.
The timing of Caviet’s dismissal was typical of the pattern of the Stoke innings; all the subsequent batsmen got starts but a wicket always seemed to fall just as a partnership was starting to build. Alastair Curran, Shawn Dyson and James Corbishley all made it to double figures on a seam-friendly surface; but ironically were all dismissed by left-arm spinner Gledhill.
Corbishley’s dismissal came soon after that of Robbie Blackburn who was successful in knocking the bowlers out of their rhythm, making 34 from just 25 deliveries, 17 of them coming in one over, before he fell to a stunning return catch – again by Gledhill who finished with 4 for 47.
Consequently Stoke were in a bit of a hole at 126 for 7, and a shower that took eight overs out of the game continued to make batting difficult.
Runs down the order came to the rescue, though. In their first outings of the season Billy Zander and Mike Enslin played in their respective styles; Zander struck five nice fours but was bowled for 29 from 24 looking to pull a sixth. Will Frost held around long-enough for Enslin to compile a run-a-ball 29 not out before he was left stranded as returning bower Munawar took the last two wickets to finish with 3 for 31.
After tea conditions for batting were better and there were periods of sunshine to aid the visitors’ cause.
Blackburn made an early breakthrough when Leyshon couldn’t keep down a ball that lifted; but opener Purhouse played nicely, a majority of his runs coming through the mid-on to mid-wicket arc.
Dyson made it 38 for 2 when he took out No.3 Catling; but No.4 Marfani played nicely to put Dulwich into a position of strength at 84 for 2 on a pitch that had started to lose its bite.
The Stoke bowlers, including Tom Dennis who bowled well without luck, stuck to their task and cut off the batsmen’s preferred scoring areas as they were starting to run out of runs to play with. But there was still enough for spinners Will Frost and Hopton to work with; and they bowled Stoke back into the match either side of drinks.
Marfani was caught by Corbishley at point trying to drive at Frost Jnr; then Hopton secured two leg-before decisions to change the atmosphere in the middle. 111 for 5 was soon 117 for 7 when Purhouse, (62 from 104), charged at Frost and was bowled; then in the next over Bancroft tried to hit Hopton over the top but Enslin took a stinging catch at mid-off.
Visiting skipper Lodwick and Harwood then dug in as all results remained possible; the visitors having 51 overs minimum to get the runs as Stoke had scored theirs so quickly earlier on; but the quiet spell was ended when Hopton, (13-3-26-4), took a great low return catch to dismiss Harwood.
Looking for the kill Frost, (12-2-27-2), gave way for Blackburn and Dyson who shared overs from the Railway End. The latter picked up No.10 leg before with his first ball back; but Stoke were unable to separate the last pair who negotiated the last 29 balls. A sharp slip chance went to ground but Lodwick, (24 not out), and last man Gledhill dealt with everything Stoke threw at them and secured a couple of draw points for their side.
Whilst it can be deflating to draw a game when you have the opposition nine down, given the loss of an important toss, the absence of some established players and being behind the game for long periods, Stoke should take a lot from this performance into their trip to Sanderstead next weekend.