Dodgers v DCMS

Tuesday 14 August

DCMS won by 58 runs

The Dodgers' recent poor run of results continued with a comfortable win for DCMS in our second encounter of the season.

In hot and humid conditions on a typical Chiswick batting track, the toss was always going to be important. Unfortunately JC insisted on calling himself and lost for the umpteenth straight time. Opposition skippers have got wind of his unbending dogmatism in this matter and you can hear the sniggers as the doubled-tail coin goes up while their opening bats are getting their pads on.

Dodgers did not have a potent looking side, especially on the bowling front, and veteran medium-pacers Neil Benn and Phil McBarron opened the attack. The pitch was quite slow, though, and DCMS struggled to make headway against tight bowling. After 6 overs they had struggled to 8-1, with Mitchell (4) bowled by McB. The second wicket pair inevitably found their feet and the scoring rate accelerated slightly, but Dodgers fielded surprisingly well on the whole and kept the lid on the situation up to the drinks break.

Darren Bultitude – another rare bowler for us – performed respectably and picked up opener Cooper for 39 to a sharp catch behind by The Cat just when the danger signs were apparent. When star bat Palao only succeeded in hitting David Pope in the air to mid-wicket our hopes were raised. These hopes went even higher when Benn returned to the attack and picked up two (slightly fortuitous) wickets and Matt Leach bowled the DCMS number 6.

But Barry Fitzgerald has been our bogey man before, though not so often with the bat. Despite being unable to run much faster than Adey, he picked up 44 runs from nowhere, principally in collaboration with Scattergood before the latter was bowled by Cap'n Carr for 21, leading DCMS to a competitive but not unassailable 204-7 after their 40 overs.

Dodgers would need to bat well, but Chamberlain was in his usual vein tying down openers Bultitude and McBarron before having Darren caught low down at first slip for 13. Benn was promoted to three in the order but he and McB predictably failed to make much progress against accurate bowling, particularly from That Man Fitzgerald.

Attempting to break the shackles with a swift two, Benn was run out by a direct hit from short third man for 7 and the scoring rate didn't improve much as Carr (10 overs for 12 before attempting an ugly slog across the line) and Whitrod (5) came and went. McB was finally caught behind off Fitzgerald for a good 55 to leave Dodgers 126 for 5 in the 31st over. He had played with increasing fluency but without finding the exceptional form necessary in the circumstances.

The last rites were more interesting than usual as John Cooper played a very promising knock, hitting two fours in his (career best?) 25 before being beautifully deceived by a slower ball from Chamberlain's return over. Matthews had used up one life when caught off a marginal waist-high full toss no ball, a decision umpire Benn regretted deeply as The Cat bored the pants off everyone in a nine-over stay for 5 not out. Matt Leach played an excellent lofted cover drive off his first ball from Chamberlain – the champagne moment for me – but this was short-lived joy as his stumps were re-arranged from the next ball. David Pope was then dismissed twice and we finished well short.

A comprehensive defeat all-in-all, but there was something for Dodgers fans to take away from this game. We were always going to struggle with a badly weakened side against the class of Chamberlain – 7-3-8-3 – and the unvarying accuracy of Fitzgerald, coupled with Palao's batting among others. But we were in the game for a long time and but for Fitzgerald's knock might have got an awful lot closer. The fielding was good and McB's bowling and John Cooper's batting were both encouraging.

If only JC could learn how to say "tails"...