We all thought that volunteering for a Saturday night game under the lights at the world famous ICC was a really cool idea! How wrong can the 11 sweaty betty’s who braved the high humidity of the last day of August 2013 be?
The opposition , OMD , spookily playing in Black shirts , where at the ground early and practiced hard the skill of continuously dropping a white cricket ball. This practice would come to our rescue on more than one occasion as the evening progressed.
Ash , our stern but methodical skipper won the toss and as is the norm chose to bat and selected that well known optical duo , Dommett and Lloyd to open our batting. As in the morning game Mr.Wide kept the scoreboard ticking and our gallant openers ran several swift singles before Chris found the middle of his bat with a couple of crisp fours. Having run a three Nick decided it was too bloody hot and mistimed a shot and was caught for 8, the partnership worth 30. Enter the fray our nonsmoking athlete , Greg Moses, who looked lean and mean. Greg started with a thunderous on drive , some said imperious , others regal , others didn’t like regal and then the conversation turned to the strange names of cigarettes in the UK in the 70,s , like number 10,s and number 6,s. Ash denied all knowledge of such vices using the fact that he was not raised in the UK as a defence! Flimsy stuff!
Chris ran his usual sharp ones and twos before also being caught off the bowling of Bin. He had in fact Bin and Gone!
Greg was seeing the ball well but spooned one off into the deep , we held our breath as the ball spiraled out of the inky black sky and breathed again as he was dropped! A dolly we all said!
Lawrence struck a few lusty blows before he was smartly stumped for 13 off the bowling of Qasim. Our run rate was about 7 an over and we all know that is never enough at the ICC.
Lee Dawson strode meaningfully to the crease wearing one of Badger’s Chiang Mai cast off shirts and we all agreed it fitted well! Lee was quickly off the mark and as he does every year or so seemed to time the ball well AND ran regularly between the wickets. The runs started to come and then Greg spooned one off into the deep..(see previous part of the report!).
Skipper Ash was doing all sorts of calculations and reckoned we needed at least 179 to be sure of victory. This message was relayed to the middle. Lee hit an enormous 6 over long on and Greg hit a smorgasbord of shots as our run rate started to climb. Greg then spooned one off into the deep (same chap , same story , same ending!). As per the skippers instructions and with precisely 179 on the board our innings came to an end with Greg having hit a fantastic 87 not out , surely he will be topping the batting averages? Who knows? Lee finished with a supportive 29 not out and Darjeeling where pretty confident that we had enough on the board.
After a Pattonesque team talk out in the middle from Ash we set about our defence of the 179. Chris (the tyre) Tebb who was a late arrival at the ground due to having to call in a 3rd party outfit to change his puncture opened from the net end and started with something almost as rare as a Darjeeling set of averages , a maiden over! CD was given the honour of opening from the City end and bowled a good length to worry the opener and after 2 overs only 5 runs where on the board. Chris was relieved of duties after his second over and CD struck in his second so after 4 overs the OMD where behind the pace at 19 for 1.
David replaced Chris and got the ball to swing and seam with several oohs and aaahs from our nonsmoking athlete who for some reason was static at first slip.
David bowled so well he was taken off by Ash ( a Darjeeling tradition???) who brought himself on whilst CD finished his spell , sweaty but happy. Ash bowled a tight first over and a generous second! I was allowed a couple from the City end and despite reading Mathewson’s book on how to bowl Donkey Drops and take wickets , was not able to prize out the opener or the number 3 bat who by now looked comfortable and ready to accelerate the run chase.
Nick and Greg where introduced to “get us back on track” or so Ash thought. The runs however continued to flow (see earlier email from bowling guru Stu) until the opener literally gave up! Nick bowled , nothing happened , silence and the opener walked! Kaseem , out to Lloyd , fatigue! Strange but true. (it is recorded in the book as a stumping but clearly not true!).
Then the champagne moment of the whole evening. Stuart is at last called upon to bowl. His torture as a mere fielder over at least for a short while. He trundles (slightly slower than that but I don’t have a suitable phrase to suit that pace) , tosses the ball high into the night sky , down it comes and…. stumped! Eat your heart out Moses he thinks but does not say! In comes the next batsman , a left hander this time. A big swat to deep mid-wicket and David takes a catch as coolly as you like! 2 balls and 2 wickets to the bowling guru! The hat trick ball evades the batsman and the stumps but the 4 th ball is “spooned off into the deep , we held our breath as the ball spiraled out of the inky black sky and laughed as Greg dropped the ball and assisted it over the rope for a 4! Well most of us chuckled a bit , Stuie maybe not quite so much!
The game was almost won , Ash stated boldly that it was always his plan to bring Stuie on when the batsman where so desperate he would clear up and indeed another wicket fell to him and his figures of 2 overs 3 wickets for 7 runs will surely be recorded somewhere? Apparently not! The opposition innings closed on 159 for 6 so DCC won by 21 runs.
Nick had 2 for 35 off his 4 and CD 1 for 31 off his 4 and generally the bowling and fielding was tidy. The team spirit was excellent and the opposition remarked how sporting we all had been!! A very enjoyable evening was had by all and as I understand it evening games may become a more regular feature of our season to come. Bring it on I say!!!g