The Fates’ destiny for Dulwich Hamlet’s season will be clear to us mortals by the time you read this. Regular perusers will recall that for most of 2023 our heroes in pink and blue have been toiling to avoid a fall from the Conference South to the more difficult to spell Isthmian league. Now the Isthmian League derives its name from the alluring isthmus of Corinth where in ancient times a Games was instituted by mighty Sisyphus (no stranger to toiling himself) and dedicated to Poseidon the great god of the sea, earthquakes and for some reason horses. The etymology of our current league is less clear, but was probably burped forth by some beery sports bureaucrat at the Braintree Travelodge during a team-building challenge to assemble a football league comprising some of the least desirable towns in southern England. So if it does come to pass that the Isthmian is where The Hamlet lays its hat next season, it may well be your average fan considers the demotion to have a distinct upside as away-days to Lewes, Hastings and Margate are pencilled in. Some of us peri-retirees might even check out the real-estate while we’re down there, see what you can get for the price of a Barry Road townhouse.
That said, and as your scribe writes, The Sons of Edgar Kail are putting up one Hades of a fight to stay up. Early April saw a proper relegation six-pointer against Cheshunt, a place once home to Linda Lusardi. Now while ex-Hamlet and current Cheshunt manager Craig Edwards has his knockers too, his teams are always set-up like a three day old sourdough loaf – hard, a little bit tasty and tough to break down. Indeed for the majority of the game the football on show was difficult to digest, belying any notion that association football is necessarily the beautiful game. Like a non-league Agamemnon, Cheshunt laid brutal and prolonged siege to the Homer team’s goal. But Troy as they might The Ambers couldn’t breach the Dulwich wall. And then just as this Medusa of a game threatened to turn The Rabble to stone, Sanchez “The Emperor” Ming teed up Johl ”I can see Robert” Powell a treat before the youngster fired home. One-Nil to The Hamlet and that’s how it finished to the trembling joy of the Champion Hill throng. A subsequent 1-1 draw away to Hemel Hempstead and a stolid, solid and sapid 2-0 home victory against Somerset titans Taunton has balanced the humors somewhat. But you’ll find no hubris on the slopes of Dog Kennel Hill as the season draws to its nail-biting close.
Whatever the season brings, make sure you put Sunday 7 May in your diary as we pay homage to a club legend, when The Prince of Peckham, The Duke of Dulwich, the King of Camberwell himself, Mr Nyren Clunis, will have his long-overdue testimonial. Kick off is at 3pm with a Hamlet class of 2013 team going up against the class of 2018. With 486 appearances and 117 goals for the Hamlet, let’s all rock up and show Nyren what he means to us all.
As ever, you can keep an eye on all club news at www.pitchero.com/clubs/dulwichhamlet and buy some tasty Hamlet clobber at www.dhst.org.uk
Victory to The Hamlet!