Down Came the Curtain
Date: 18/09/2021 | Location: Northern Meeting Park, Inverness | Conditions: Sunny | Overs: 35
After a dreich encounter the previous night, DCC returned to the grand old home of Northern Counties CC to be greeted by a glorious late summer’s day. Although the hosts arrived with an abundance of talent, they were a couple short, but frantic deadline-day transfers saw Alan Douglas, Gregg Dunsire, Paul Fensom, Cameron Glasgow, and Al Stewart become honorary Highlanders for the afternoon as they subbed in and out throughout the contest. DCC had to be firing on all cylinders as NCCC sit a-top the Northern League table. Due to some tight purse strings there were no coins available to toss, so DCC were invited to have first wield of the bat.
Captain Sandy Cunningham reverted back to opener, and was joined by his neighbour Simon Breasley. The opening few overs had DCC’s blood pressure shooting up as the pair of M. Lather and S. Thomas were firing down bullets. The openers survived until Lather zipped one in and found Breasley’s outside edge with Alan Douglas – turned traitor – snagging a real beauty at first slip, Breasley returned for 7.
This sent Marcus Tinlsey to the middle, but any thoughts of an ex skipper and current skipper partnership were quickly eradicated. Thomas would copy his fellow openers work, finding Cunningham’s outside edge and once again the ball made its way to the safe hands of Douglas at first slip, sending the skipper on his way for 3.
Paul Arnold, who despite playing three game’s against DCC in 2021, was making his first appearance of the season as he joined Tinsley. The pair showed confidence in seeing off the openers first spell, and quickly got the innings back on track. Arnold started going after J. Lean, while Tinsley confidently dealt with the talented A. Green.
Arnold would keep the fire lit and the sound of leather on willow started to echo around the Highlands as he repeatedly sent the cherry over the rope. Tinsley meanwhile was in his comfort zone as he got acquainted with the gaps in the field and also got the umpires arm flowing. The pair brought up their 50 stand, but after adding another 10 runs, a phenomenal bit of fielding from mid-wicket saw Arnold run out (direct hit) for a stellar 39. The score at this stage was 60/3.
Rob Passé was looking to end his season with a big knock, but Douglas would once again turn his back on DCC as he trapped Passé on the pads, third ball, with a plum LBW, sending Passé back without scoring. Charlie Dunn entered and quickly got off the mark, but he got overtly aggressive, and like many of our opponents over the years was bamboozled by Dunsire and skied one to the fielder at mid-off, out for 2.
Tim Dillion was in at 7, and began supporting Tinsley who had started to seize the initiative and began to flirt with a big score, but this would be his downfall as he flicked one into the leg side only for Lather to rocket the ball to the stumps at the non strikers end (another direct hit). Tinsley run out for 28. Score now: 87/6.
This brought Tom Hall to the crease, who was well acquainted with the pitch having camped there the night before. Unfortunately he failed to read one and fell to the brought-back-on Thomas for 2. Replacing him in the middle was Callum Kirby to herald not just his DCC debut, but his cricketing debut, keeping his family’s cricketing blood line alive as he followed on in his late maternal grandfather’s footsteps. Although, judging by his play a passer-by would struggle to know it was his first time batting out-with the confines of a net.
Kirby and Dillion started to get the tail wagging, and looked set for a decent partnership as they moved the score into the 110’s with some impressive leg side 4s. Ultimately the partnership was cut short by young P. Du Preez who floated one down to Dillion, struck him on the pads and the appeal stirred the umpires index finger, Dillion out for 13. The next over, Fensom would join Douglas and Dunsire in the Back Stabbers Club as he forced Kirby into playing one straight to a fielder and he walked off for an impressive first score of 11.
Connor Adam and Jason Syme were the last men at the crease and despite their best efforts in facing Lather, they could not forward the cause by more than a couple and Syme was caught behind for 1. Adam remained unbeaten on 1. DCC all out for a below par 120.
P. Arnold (39), M. Tinsley (28), T. Dillion (13), C. Kirby (11)
In reply DCC had to be on their absolute A-game to have any luck in ending the season with the winning run intact. Unsurprisingly Syme was handed the cherry first and took no time at all in firing up his powerful right arm. With the first ball came the first chance as Green was lucky not to be out for royal-duck as Dunn was inches short of catching him at cover-point. The next chance would present itself only a few balls later as Syme fired one down, found Polata’s edge and Kirby made no mistakes in taking a fine catch at first-slip.
With Breasley at the other end, the squeeze was being applied and despite Green whacking one for 6, the opening quicks found more than just a little early rhythm. Syme would double his efforts with a wicket maiden in his second as he forced Al Stewart to pop one up to Passé at extra cover. The Yorkshireman would only improve on the near perfect start as he wonderfully got Green to leave one outside off-stump that nipped back beautifully behind the pads to topple off-stump.
The new men, Thomas and Lather had to dig themselves a trench to shelter from the relentless shells being fired down the wicket. A moment of controversy arose as it seemed and sounded like Syme clipped Thomas’ glove to the wicked keeper and the finger went up; but after some Umpire’s discussion the square-leg umpire called it “arm” and the the appeal was withdrawn by the DCC skipper.
The pair managed to survive a bit longer, but life would not get easier for NCCC as Dillion and Tinsley continued to bowl well and increase the odds of a once seemingly unlikely DCC victory. With a shorter ball from Tinsley, the cherry leapt up and tickled Thomas’ glove and nestled in the keeper-captains mitts. The NCCC captain dismissed for 8.
With the score now at 24/4 in the 11th, DCC had their tails up. A few economical overs past, but the wickets would soon be tumbling once again. In successive overs, first Tinsley cleaned bowled Lean with a corker, then Dillion got his man Lather to play one to the safe hands of Arnold. Score at the midway stage: 36/6.
Arnold replaced Dillion at the Wall End and needed no extra motivation to have a crack at his Train Tapas partner Glasgow. He got his reward in a hurry. His left arm turn got the pill to glance off Glasgow’s bat and made its way to Kirby’s safe hands – not the worst debut! By this stage the Dollar faithful in the stand (no names!) started getting raucous and were providing the impetus to get DCC over the line.
With victory in sight, Cunningham turned to Dunn from the Grandstand End and after a tidy first over, the strike bowler landed his first blow with a brilliant middle stump Yorker to remove Patel without scoring. Fensom joined Du Preez, but the vice-chairman and his junior partner could not get anything out of Dunn, and the new man Hall.
Dunn got his name in the book again as Du Preez bottomed edged one and Cunningham took a fine one-handed catch to give Dunn his 15th of the season and title of leading wicket taker. Hall would finish off the innings, and the season, as he went straight through no. 11 McKeller’s defence and confirmed a famous DCC victory. A supreme bowling and fielding effort to leave NCCC all out for 58.
C. Dunn (2 for 4 off 3), J. Syme (2 for 7 off 5), M. Tinsley (2 for 9 off 4)
We offer thanks to our opponents not just for a great couple of games, but also for hosting us in their lovely old ground.
The addition of a DJ serenading the in and out going bats only added to the enjoyment had by all. Many of the Northern Counties players embodied the true spirit of the game as they stayed after to join in with some post match football, entertainment, and refreshments. We wish them nothing but luck next week as they look to secure their league title.
Man of the Match: Callum Kirby (Debutant),
“Fantastic team effort, even if I had to carry them on my back for large parts.” (So he says)
RESULT: DCC VICTORY BY 62 RUNS
Played 11 | Won 9 | Lost 2
Win streak: 6
Next up: The 2022 season…
‘Thank you for taking the time to read these match reports, and thanks to the club for giving me so many wins to recall. Season review to follow…’