XMAS Match on the 27th December 2013 – words from G Human

It was the night before Christmas……… hang on that’s another story


It was the festive Darjeeling cricket game held in the midst of Sharjah, far far away from the North Star.

True to the etiquette, fashion and reputation of Darjeeling, the 1pm start became a 1:20pm inshallah get together and with a possible 1:30 start.


Most players arrived with a lot more of a different spirit than the intended Xmas spirit. This spirit grew as the game progressed.

The two wise “G’s” were self nominated and went forth in selecting the team – Team Gary and Team Greg put their teams together and with a minor one or two last minute changes the final teams were  selected. Winning the toss for this game was of upmost importance and Gary being the strategist pounced at this opportunity to nominate his team to bat.

The rules were fairly simple – play cricket and have penalty drinks. For those not there, a brief description;

                                3 dot balls – drink for the batsman

                                Wides/no balls – drink for the bowler

                                Bad fielding, good or bad batting, drop catches, 4 or 6’s, bad wicket keeping etc etc…

 Basically anything deemed right or wrong justified a drink.


The opening pair of Paul and Brandon took to the crease and Team Gary’s tactics were already put in motion. The first drink took place within the opening 3 dot balls for the batsman and then the fun and games began. Team Greg and his team were fined with drinks for the first 5 overs, bad bowling and fielding, it was only in the 7th over when the first 4 appeared and that’s when the batsman also got involved with the drinking game.  Paul runout, “Jagermeister”, Brandon retired with 50 plus “Jagermeister”, Jason a Goldie “Jagermeister”, Isra retired “Jagermeister”, “Jagermeister” “Jagermeister” “Jagermeister” “Jagermeister” Kym in and out “Jagermeister” “Jagermeister” etc….

Batsman score, bowling figures  – available on request   

Bottle of “Jagermeister” finished and advantage Team Gary. The innings ended with 190 off 20 overs.

Drinks break – as if it was needed.

Needing 191 to win –  Johno and Ash opened for Team Greg putting on a great partnership of “who gives a damm” “Jagermeister”  – substituted with beverage and cheap wine. The game was now in very high spirits and it became even better (thanks to Brandon’s dad) when a 2nd bottle of – yes you guessed it “Jagermeister” made its debut. Same as the first innings, no balls “Jagermeister”, wides “Jagermeister”, fours, sixes “Jagermeister” “Jagermeister”, beverage, “Jagermeister”, wine “Jagermeister”. Johno good knock, retired “Jagermeister”, Ash great score retired “Jagermeister”, Kym bowling – worst for the day lots of “Jagermeister” etc etc .

Again  Batsman score, bowling figures  – available on request.

Lots of dropped catches to be expected from a sober Darjeeling team, no different from a spirited team.

PS – News flash for all Sharjah and Iran residents – there were no reason for concern regarding the light tremors experienced during the afternoon. This was only the result of a good attempt but bad result dropped catch “Jagermeister” and one of the highlights was a great attempt of a diving catch – more of a falling over attempt but roughly about 5 meters away from the ball, “Jagermeister”. No names mentioned at this time.

The game was going to be close, run rate achieved, then a wicket “Jagermeister” – pressure was on both captains. Advantage Team Greg in the last over, only 8 runs needed for victory  – Tom stumped “Jagermeister”, 3 balls 3 to win. Greg eventually found the crease –  The final showdown Captain against Captain, wide called and there seemed to be a hint of “match fixing “ in the air, 3 balls 2 to win. Greg a swing and a miss, 2 balls, 2 to win, another ripper from Gary, Greg sways back, big swing and another miss.

Advantage Team Gary, last ball, 2 to win. Another big swing from Greg, confusion all round, Brandon throws back to the non strikers end, Gary allegedly fumbles the ball and Greg is through for the single.


Great finish to the 2013 Darjeeling year.

Team photo and pleasantries  followed.  

DCC vs The Lions at SES 13th Dec 2013 – words by Hassan Saeed aka Darth Vader

There was much anticipation in the lead up of this game against The Lions at SES. Our Skipper for the day was Boom Boom Jason. The start of the match wasn’t encouraging with only eight DCC guys showed up on time ( I suspect the rest were still recovering from their hangover after over indulgence of some sort the night before). At the toss we had no option but to bat first which seemed a sensible decision as our opening pair of Israr and A Lang put on 42 runs for the opening wicket after 7 overs.


Israr departed after making 24 runs and looked in good nick before being caught on the boundary. A Lang was caught and bowled for 13 the next over with the score on 47. It was up to Johno and Jason to build on the innings. Jason was out for 3 runs, bowled by one of their chucker’s with a suspect action. With the score on 52 or 3 there was some panic in the dressing room, then Kym strode to the crease and made 8 runs before being caught, the score was 70 for 4. Gully was out for a duck and the score became 70 for 5. Johno in the meantime was batting well, and when Ash came out to Bat they both steadied the sinking DCC Ship to post 122 after 20 overs. Johno made an unbeaten 50 with 2 4s and 1 6. Ash played well for an unbeaten 11 runs of 8 balls. However the DCC total of 122 was never going to be enough and we were at least 30 runs short. The extras column was the third highest score at 14.


Now it was up to our bowlers to perform some of their magic if we were to defend a a below par 122. Israr opened the bowling along with Gully and Israr was bowling with pace and bounce and had some of the Lions batsmen in trouble. He finally got a wicket in his second spell clean bowling on of the Lions Batsmen for a duck. By then the match was pretty much over though. The Lions opening batsmen made a solid start with the openers making 15 and 38 respectively.  We were never in the game as we needed to take wickets regularly and hold on to our catches, (we dropped a couple of absolute sitters). Dave got the first wicket after their opener was caught for 15 with their score on 70 odd. After Dave and CD had finished their spell, the spin doctors Ash and Kym were called into the attack and both bowled tight spells.  The next wicket to go was their other opening batsmen who scored 38 after being stumped by Johno of the bowling of Ash ( Score was 90 odd for 2). Mohit also bowled an over. The Has was called into the attack and bowled his usual fiery spell and picked up a wicket towards the end with the score on around 115.Here are the DCC bowling figures.


Israr – 3 overs 1 for 16

Gully – 3 overs 0 – 25

Dave – 3 overs 1 – 28
Ash – 3 overs 1 – 16

CD – 2  overs 0 – 20 

Kym – 2 overs 0 – 15

Mohit – 1 over 0- 10

Hasan – 2.3 overs 1- 8 


The match lasted until the 19th over with the Lions chasing 122 with 6 wickets in hand. All in all a disappointing result, but am sure we should bounce back strongly.

Match Report from Jono Houghton, Fri Dec 6th fixture…

Venue: Sharjah English School
Teams: Darjeeling CC v Something Champs (No name on the score sheet!)
Conditions: 25-30 degrees. Clear blue skies.
Hangover: Worst for wear after a long night out with Brownie and Gully and two hours sleep.

The day began with Darjeeling 23-0 after three overs. This is mainly due to the fact the game began with two members failing to show up on time with Houghton being in Albania the night before and waiting for an ‘airport pick up’ from Gully who as always was running late. Eventually both members arrived and were informed that Captain for the day Gary Turner negotiated the toss by explaining to the opposition captain ‘We are Darjeeling, if you want to play us we bat first’ if only all Darjeeling captains followed Captain Turners lead. Brownie and Dommett opened up and put on a solid partnership before The Domminator was bowled for 13 with a couple of expertly guided edges for 4. Darjeeling starting well on 46-1 after 5 overs.

Houghton batting at 7 needed to make some quick inroads and advised Dannie ‘the lol’ Rees to get out as soon as possible with Dannie quickly obliging being caught for what can only be described as an adventurous 7. Meanwhile Brownie was knocking it around confidently and looking good. In came Jason Brown who was quickly targeted by the square leg fielder who observantly pointed out that J.Brown could well be a run out candidate – J.Brown chirping back by saying ‘I’m faster than I look’. That theory would quickly be tested. In other news Brownie was clearly upset that his mates Jonno and Gully hadn’t come in to bat with him, he therefore took it upon himself to make sure this happened as soon as possible and duly ran J. Brown out without him facing a ball – direct hit by said square leg fielder. Darjeeling now struggling on 56-3 after 8 overs.

In came Brandon and he immediately took a liking to the bowling knocking them around before Brownie was caught top edging one for a well-made 37. Israr was next and put on a good partnership with Brandon worth 45 before being cleaned up for 14 trying to up the scoring rate. Darjeeling now 128-5 after 17 overs needed a strong finish to the innings to post a competitive score. In came Houghton scoring a quick 12 caught at long off, Andrew Laing bowled for 4, Brandon sacrificing his wicket trying to steal a quick single run out for a very well made 44 with 5×4’s. Captain Turner coming in for the last ball scoring 1*. Darjeeling finishing up on a respectable 158-8 in 20 overs on a slow outfield.

Attention now turned to what bowling options Captain Turner had available and there certainly was not much to choose from with only Israr and Gully (debatably) classified as our quicks. Nevertheless Darjeeling strode out confidently with Israr taking the first over. Israr and Gully began well keeping things tight with Israr having an absolutely stone wall LBW turned down by – in the words of Captain Turner himself – ‘cheating fuc$%@£&king C%^un$ts’ or words to that effect and Israr chipping in by telling the umpire ‘It’s because of people like you that Pakistanis have such a bad reputation’ NB: It could well have been slightly more X-rated than that. Soon after, Gully made the first breakthrough with an equally outrageous LBW decision – bowling around the wicket to a right hander, hitting his thigh pad and the umpire raising his finger. Gully finishing up 3-0-23-1 and Israr a very economical 4-0-16-0 unfortunate not to take a wicket. Opposition now behind the required rate at 39-1 after 7 overs.

Captain Turner strategically or perhaps through no other choice took the pace off the ball by introducing Brownie and the LOL who kept things tight before Brownie and Dannie both got hit for 13 and 18 in their last overs bringing the opposition back into the game approx. 100-1 in 14 overs. Perhaps unsurprisingly the Darjeeling fielders did not help matters with catches being shelled by Andrew Laing and twice by Houghton, sshh sshhh sshhh. Houghton however received good support from his team mates Brownie and Dannie who abused him for the next few overs with Captain Turner removing Houghton from the boundary and bringing him in the circle. The abuse obviously got to Houghton as when the ball was hit to long off he turned to throw back some abuse of his own to his ‘team mates’ at long on and deep midwicket which meant he was not following the game and failed to back up the throw from the boundary…The opposition stealing an extra single.
Brownie 4-0-23-0 and Dannie 2-0-22-0.

With the game now finely balanced and the opposition requiring 59 from the last 6 overs with 9 wickets in hand on came the star of the show Captain Turner who blew away the opposition batsmen with flight, pace, drift and guile (allegedly) taking wickets regularly including a hat trick maiden over. Captain Turner 4-1-22-5 was supported by Houghton from the other end conceding just 9 from his 3 overs at the death quieting his critics and backing up his captains decision to introduce him into the attack. Darjeeling winning comfortably by 20ish runs.

Good contributions by Brownie and Brandon with the bat with good catches by Brandon and Brownie however the Man of the Match undoubtedly belonging to Captain Turner for his 5 wicket haul. Beverages were had, banter exchanged and another enjoyable weekend of debauchery and cricket.

Darjeeling CC vs. Fly Dubai CC, SES, Fri Nov 29th – words by Ash Banerjee

Captain’s Log, Stardate 29.11.2013 (Gregorian)

These are the voyages of the cricketship Darjeeling, with its mission to boldly go where no cricket club has gone before…

It was one of those rare days when the crew assembled early. By 1 pm, 9 of 11 were present, with Mo having recused himself due to a family emergency but Julius’ mate Liam co-opted as a replacement and waiting for a runabout to SES to dock with the club’s enterprise.

Liam had sent the most endearing introductory email to the club: “Julius, if you’re looking for a low-scoring pie-chucker who can’t catch, then I’m your man,” so he was in like Flynn. 

All ready for battle we were, except our opponents flydubai, an avian species, were missing from the designated zone of battle. Over banter it was agreed that tardiness was unacceptable given the time of genuflection had moved up to 12:15, and the toss would need to be negotiated favourably.

By 13:30 the opponents were still scarce and it was agreed that Darjeeling would definitely have the opening salvo; Officers Laing and Ward were instructed to suit up for battle so we could engage soon after the oppo eventually arrived.

Around 13:40 the opponents began straggling in, and the skipper negotiated and agreed first dibs for the ship, while urging the opponents to hail the rest of their crew on all available frequencies and summon them to the Neutral Zone in order for the skirmish to conclude before the early sunset. 

Meanwhile Liam’s runabout had still not materialised, the despatchers of Dubai Taxis off-form as usual, while flydubai were true to form, arriving late as their aircraft usually do.

Finally at 14:00 both sides maneuvered themselves onto the battle zone, the avians opening with the phazers of Asim and Praveen while Officers Laing and Ward defended with shields at 100%.

Defend they did, and how! The plan was for Andy to turn the strike over while Wardy, in his first proper batting outing for the club, used his youth, muscle and the benefit of coming in off the night shift to give the bowling a tap. But the best-laid plans of mice and men… Wardy, proficient in the art and science of fighting fires, refused to set the SES alight and decided to bat himself gently into form over an extended live net. Andy, trying to compensate under instructions from Julius (umpiring) and get the ball off the square, was drawn into unnaturally expansive but generally unfruitful shot-play. Both missed more than hit, the oppo kept dropping dollies, and after 10 overs, half-way into the battle, the good ship found itself at a sedate 45/0 with just a solitary 4 off an overthrow, while the storm-troopers Pretorius, Brown (J) and Ul Haq were champing at the bit in the grandstand.

Meanwhile, Liam’s runabout had yet to arrive at its point of departure.

Finally the first wicket fell to cynical cheers in the 11th over, Andy lbw to Ilyas for 18, and in walked Brandon and promptly moved the score along rapidly with a triplet of 2s, then a 3 and a 4, bringing the game to life and the grandstand out of its beveragey torpor.

Meanwhile, Liam’s runabout was finally en route, with its occupant (newly arrived in Dubai) clueless about where his destination lay.

After 14 overs the skipper exercised prerogative and beamed Wardy back from the holodeck, retired for 28 in the larger interests of the team’s endeavour.  The virtual teddies departed the virtual pram briskly, and it needed a Yoda-esque “Sublimate your individual needs you must, to the team’s overall interests” chat to get Wardy on-side again.

Jason replaced Wardy and carted it around briefly before falling for 7 to an outrageously unlikely catch, much like Brandon for a well-made 27 in the previous over. Then Izzy walked in and set upon the bowling, cracking a quick 30 not out with four 6s, while Julius was quickly in and out for 1, and Etienne smote a quick 14 (including a pulled 6 over square-leg) before being run out, the Abu Dhabi lads doing the business.

Meanwhile, Liam’s runabout, despite the pilot being instructed precisely (Exit 64, etc.) in Urdu by Ground Control, had still not managed to deliver Major Tom.

Neil, borrowed jock-strap and all, with a quick 3-ball 6 (1×4) in the last over saw the club to a sub-par 144/5 after 20, the consensus being we were about 25 short.

——Commercial break——

(This is the first and last time I’ll plug a commercial message from the club’s current main shirt sponsor, before they are replaced by the TV-wallahs whom Badger and I have locked in for next year.)

Mobile number portability is here; if you’d like to keep your Etisalat number and switch to du, please SMS ‘Change’ to 3553 or go to du.ae/change to register for the switch, to happen later this month.

—–End of commercial plug—–

Given the sub-par total, the skipper fished out a Dukes newie, proclaimed “I’ve defended a paltry 90 at The Sevens so we could pull this off if we bowl and field well and keep our heads” and rallied the ship’s complement for a concerted defence.

Meanwhile, Liam’s runabout was still en route but the avians were kind enough to offer up 13-year-old Anas to field for us, and he was promptly hidden at fine leg.

The avians opened with Adnan and the redoubtable Azeem, with the former skying one to safe-as-houses Gibby at mid-on in Izzy’s first over as we celebrated the early breakthrough.

But #3 Rashid proved resolute and Azeem opportunistic against Izzy and Wardy, both swinging the Dukes ball well at pace, then against Jules and Etienne, and at the 10-over drinks break it was 67/1 with the game still in the balance, Darjeeling having bowled and fielded really well (Jason outstanding in the covers), the field in good voice in support of the bowlers.

Meanwhile, Liam’s runabout had somehow managed to find an unknown wormhole and ended up in Romulan space on the wrong side of E-311 somewhere remote in the Sharjah constellation, so he was instructed by Julius to head back, money down the drain, unfortunately.

The skipper then brought himself on to bowl the 11th from the Uni End with Neil bowling the 12th from the Tank End and removing Rashid for 29. Not too many ensued, then Azeem was well caught at long on against the setting sun by Izzy off Ash in the 13th and it was game on.

Neil got rid of #4 Aslam in the 14th but unfortunately Tanmay at #5 took 3 consecutive 6s off the rest of his over to swing the balance and it was going to be uphill from there on.

With the game still in the balance in the 16th, Izzy ran out Tanmay at the bowler’s end, but the non-striker Rizwan had made his ground at the wicky’s end, the umpires didn’t know the rules (effing numpty-fied Daleks they were!), our concerted appeal and subsequent polite discussion with the umpires and batsmen ending up fruitless and Tanmay refusing to go, proving conclusively that he wasn’t avian at all, but a Kling-on.

With Ash finishing his spell after the 17th, the fast men Izzy and Wardy bowled well briskly in the fading light as retribution for the wrong decision on the run-out, but the avians got away in the penultimate over, winning by 5 wickets with the Kling-on Tanmay 42*.

The bowling figures: Izzy 4-1-21-1, Wardy 3-0-29-0, Etienne 3-0-24-0, Julius 3-0-25-0, Ash 4-0-11-1, Neil 2-0-29-2.

So a pyrrhic victory for the old enemy, but we will fight and win another day. The reading of the book followed, over a few cold ones on the turf, the usual piss-taking and banter, then eventual departures.


DCC v The Abu Dhabi Bedouins – words by J.Mooney

Saturday 16th became not only a famous day in cricketing history to celebrate Sachin Tendulkars final game for India in all formats, but also for what we hope is the start of a regular fixture for us at the Emirates Palace Ground in Abu Dhab
Despite Andrew Laing sending out encouraging emails at 7:49 for a 9:15 push back from the EPPCO petrol station in Media City we set off a little later than expected thanks to the ever reliable Gully. Dannie “Dave Twit” Rees quickly grabbed the front seat as the precious little flower gets car sick, much to the delight of Sackers Mum Molly who called him a wimp and told him to man up. Unbelievably Mr. Brown (jnr) and Mr Houghton (also jnr) were there ahead of time but not looking a picture health after an all nighter at Sandance (Steve I know you mum reads this so I won’t mention what the girl from the night before knows her way around…). Jono physically couldn’t remove his sunnies until about 2 in the afternoon and Steve was….well Steve….his usual uncontrolled dribble coming out in full force – I am Sparta…etc etc.
After a stop off at the Ibn Gate hotel to pick up our VVP member Jason Brown, why he couldn’t meet us at EPPCO is beyond all of us, we were heading down SZR at not a particularly fast pace. Beverages and breakfast were consumed and the usual tweedle dum and tweedle dee banter from the back was had (Due to Ash Banerjee request this banter is X rated and cannot go into here so as not to upset the DU IT team). (Dum = Jono, Dee – Steve – please see picture below – taken on the bus). After a very quick stop off to collect Captain Harvey from his hotel on Yas and very near miss of Mooney wetting his pants (bladder of a 4 year old) we had made it to the spectacular venue – only 45 minutes late.
Harvey won the toss and elected to bat, a decision that was made only because he was worried we would all continue to drink and be unable to physically field later in the day….(Laing did a superb job ensuring there were two cooler boxes with over 80beverages). Actually the choice to bat probably would have been a better one, as I am sure we would not have messed up the numbers….Being the bright boys we are we started the first over with 12 men on the field….Gully quickly volunteered to sit down and nurse his hangover with a Malboro light and a cold beverage
Chris “Fire-man Sam – with an 80’s porn star movember effort” Ward had the honors of opening up the bowling and started very well, he was unlucky not to finish up with any wickets but kept the runs to a minimum with a very tight line and length….Chris finished 3-1-14. At the other end Mooney, freshly back from his paternity duties and a 5 weeks absence from the club bowled a fairly tight line, after his first ball got smashed for 4, he managed to get one on a length and saw an absolute screamer of a catch (+some juggling) taken by Tweedle Dum in the slips (glasses still on). Mooney finished with final figures of 5-0-35-1 including a 2 over tight spell at the death.
With Mooney subbed off for Gully, Gully feeling slightly more refreshed came on as first change. It was soon apparent after his 2 overs that he would have preferred stay off the field. Despite some good “chat” to the batsman who responded by smashing him for another 4, Gullys day apart from a drop catch (which he didn’t even see and was knocked back 6ft) was over – Final figures 2-0-29-0. Ettience bowled better from the other end and after a return spell later in the match finished with 4-0-27-0.
Pick of the bowlers Nick Harvey was great from ball one, bamboozling the opposition batsman and getting his reward with a good LBW against the Bedouins second top scorer.  Selfishly Nick took himself off after 3 overs in the anticipation that he might get a bat – Nick finishing with 3-1-6-1
Dannie “Dave the Twit” Rees was somewhat lucky to take 2 wickets in his spell, but did bowl a fairly good line until his final over went for 14. His first wicket a solid LBW followed by an absolute pile of dog poo full toss which was taken very smartly by Chris Neal in the deep.  4-0-23-2.
Tweedle Dee (Steve Brown) finalized proceedings when the batsman were going for the kill, deservedly snaring the wicket of the Bedouins top scorer in the final over when he was really smashing it – Chris Ward took a great catch over his shoulder… 4-0-26-1
Other Notes from the field:
Chris ward – told to move away from the boundry by Dave Rees as his was too close to his wife (Dave got a bit jealous, and knows his wife has a thing for fireman with Nasty Mo’s)
Gully – mnnnnn apart from the drop catch….nothing
Jason Brown – advising Dave Reece that he does know how to play cricket, when Dave suggested he moves a bit wider
Johno – great catch – was on the field for a total of 6 overs
Sackers – great efforts in the field (thought about claiming a bumped catch…)
Given the great efforts in the field Darjeeling were set a fairly modest target given the quality of our batsman and the size of the pitch of 163.
Paul Sackley and Chris Neal opened up for DCC…Sackers wasted no time by crisply driving his second delivery for a lovely 6 over mid off….Not to be out done the very next over Chris hooked the other opener for a big six. Some divine shots from the men in the middle took DCC to 50 without loss until Mr Sackers edged one to the keeper…a fine 25. Chris Neal followed soon after cleaned bowled trying to late cut the spinner for 24.
When the opposition saw Jason Brown come into the middle they took they’re foot off the pace and immediately brought on their D list bowlers…However looks certainly can be deceiving – Jason had immense fun smashing these bowlers all over the ground… by the time they brought on their top bowlers Jasons eye was well in and even these lads got carted around…At the other end Dave Rees was also causing carnage including hitting 25 off one over…..Dave secured victory in the 17th over with a huge six over the covers…
Top knocks from both Jason and Dave. Jason hats off…was a cracking innings….Dave you were average….
Jason finished 54 not out off 33 and Dave a quick fire 49 not out  off 26 balls.
After a few beverages with the opposition it was time to say goodbye to Abu Dhabi and head back to Dubai…Thankfully the return journey was a little more civilized Tweedle Dee slept for most of it and Tweedle Dum just looked glum. Special thanks to Mr. Andre Laing for organizing the refreshments and the bus!! All in all a cracking day out!

Darjeeling CC v TAHA CC – words by Kym (not a girl) Harris

It seemed fitting with South Africa playing Pakistan in a test match in Dubai sports city, that Darjeeling would attempt to do the same, by fielding 5 Safas, all equipped with hidden zips, to tackle a Pakistani Taha CC in a 20/20 on turf at the ICC.

Meeting in the dressing room bright and early, it was clear from Gully blaming a maid for his whites misplacement, and Ollies text message at 3.40am to Danny to be picked up, but now not answering the phone, that DCC may start what a basketball team describes Noel Raymond…. short.

A toss was lost, and the inevitable occurred, Darjeeling would field. Gully arrived, had a few heaving practices, and 10 men proceeded to take the field, with captain Tideswell donning the pads. English pastures have seen less grass than the pitch that had been prepared, but as many have experienced in Rock bottoms during school holidays, with grass on the wicket, let’s play cricket.

Moses would open from the Southern end, and although struggled with his length, immediately got a breakthrough,  and again in his second over eventually finishing with 2/18 off 3. Ward fired up from the Northern end, pestering the batsman with a good line, and the promise of some real pace with his Mitchell Johnston like ink. Neither the pace, nor the wicket came but finished off with 0/15 off 3, respectable on a pitch that didn’t want to offer too much assistance.

Danny arrived, Ollie not in tow, without his kit, but more worrying without a towel. So whilst the rest of the DCC players plundered who may be asked to dry the bald head, Danny had scavenged together a uniform, and made up the 11 on the field.

Tideswell made the change, and Brought on the second and third Safa bowlers to get the breakthrough. 2 blistering overs from the younger of the Kurten brothers, Barry (0/6 off 2) put the pressure on, allowing Ettiene to take 2 wickets in 2 tight overs (eventually finishing with 2/17 off 3). The first of which proves why even a moan can be classified as an appeal, with  the umpire giving it out LBW before people had even realised what the muffled sound was. Taha were struggling at 4/48 off their opening 10.

Drinks were taken and Gully trudged in, refreshed for the first time in 3 weeks from water with no hops. Ward would drop a sharp catch in the covers, leaving the silver brumby wondering if his teammates have a disliking to catches off his bowling. The theory was certainly plausible as Kym came in first ball, claiming an edge, and the brisk movements of Hassan at point clenched onto a catch.

The number of safas in the team was questioned when a complaint about the ball was made, but we explained it was made in India, and it was merely dismissed. Very similar to Saturday night supermarket disputes in Durban.

Gully and Kym would keep the wickets falling, with Gully getting one through the batsman defences, and rocking his middle stump, a method not requiring his fielders help, and Kym giving Tideswell the chance to get a good stumping on a turning pitch. Gully finished 1/20 off 3, and Kym 2/31 off 4.

Hassans nimble, panther like movements in the field got him the nod for a bowl, and although the batsman took the aerial route, non went to hand, finishing with 0/30 off 2. Taha CC 7/144 off their 20 overs.

Darjeeling made a steady start to the chase, with their very own Geoffrey Boycott, Andrew Laing (2 runs off his first 16 balls faced), and the larger of the Kurten brothers, Greg, taking the opening duties. A quick flurry of boundaries from Greg, brought tears of pride to Barry on the sideline, before skying one too many finishing with 25.

Same name, different family, Moses strode to the pitch, and pelted a quick fire 32, Andrew Laing continuing to push singles on occasion. At drinks Darjeeling were 1/63 off 9.3 overs, called early due to Moses clearing the boundary, leaving Taha some time to find their pride along with the ball. It didn’t take long after the break for Greg to hit one too many skywards, holing out to midd on.

Barry (the proteas team activities manager) Kurten, hit a fine 18 off 9 balls before being trapped plum in front. If he had laid bat on ball he would have been given not out, yet bat on air is not a saving grace for anyone. His displeased complaints were duly noted and considered, but not even Oscar Pretorious could get the benefit of the doubt on that call.

Laing and Ward quickly followed suit and fell on 14 and 1 respectively, giving Taha a sniff, but Tideswell (34*) and Gully (10*) steadied the ship and put on 37 for the final stand. Not even a time limit pressure given by the ICC security guards could faze the 2 twilighters, and on a five minute warning, even with 4 overs to spare, 26 were hit off the final 10 deliveries, seeing DCC home 5 down and 2 overs to still be bowled.

Beverages in the cricket stadium were to follow and watch the final hours of the test match. A brilliant way to finish a Saturday of cricket, and always keeping that spark alive of what one could have been instead of a Darjeeling cricketer in Dubai. But we surely are not complaining.

Friday 18th October T25 Darjeeling vs Victory Chalisa XI: Scribed by A Laing

My life fades.

The vision dims.

All that remains are memories.

I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land.

But most of all, I remember The Cricket Warrior. The man we called “Nick Harvey”.

To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time. When the world was powered by the black fuel. And the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war…

And so it came to pass that Darjeeling XI played a 25 over game against Victory Chalis XI at SES on Friday 18 November 2013. Unbeknownst to our very own Cricket Warrior Nick Harvey, his family & friends had sneakily cooked up a cricket match to celebrate his 40th birthday. Well to be more correct (despite numerous hints and clues along the way), he didn’t work it out it until he happened to pull into the same service station on the way to the game as all his friends and family (suspiciously all of them happened to be dressed in assorted white clothing lugging large coolers full of snacks, ales etc).

After recovering from the shock, Nick as Captain of Victory Chalis XI proceeded to win the toss and elect to bat. Girish Monie and Andrew Laing opened the batting on a sunny afternoon. To spice things up, Girish also had an accomplished runner (Trupti Harvey) doing duty, so the running between wickets was the subject of more negotiations than the latest US Congressional Budget Deadlock Crisis. No matter, the Victory XI sneakily worked the ball around until Girish was out bowled by Hasan Saeed in the 5th over with the score on 28 (Girish making a stylish 3).

In came Noel Raymond who along with Andrew added a quick fire partnership of 38 in 4 overs before Andrew was out for 22 (one 4 and one 6) to a good catch down the legside by keeper Ian Potgieter standing up to the mystery spinner, Russell Goulbourn (Score 66 for 2 after 9 overs). Next man in was Elliot Spencer who made a guarded 9 before being caught by young Jacob Raymond off the bowling of Mohit Manwani. In walked Nick Harvey, the birthday boy himself, who together with Noel took the fight to the bowlers.

Nick hit three 4’s in a quick fire assault and ended his inning with a well thumped 6 – Retired on 35. Noel hit one 4 in his stay at the crease and also ended his innings on a well hit 6 – Retired on 31. After this there was some interesting styles of batting on display with big shots being attempted with variable levels of success. Steve Finnigan made a absolutely dashing first ball duck, being stumped by Ian off the bowling of Barry Cummings. Steve Cook then made a cautious 7 (all in singles) before also being stumped by Ian off the bowling of Mohit. This was followed by quick fire innings of 1 from Bridget Irvine (caught by young Jacob Raymond off the bowling of Jason Brown) and another well played innings of 1 from Robyn Harvey who was caught and bowled by David Mariadson. Ben Raymond and Ash Banerjee (one 4) provided some stability as the wickets tumbled and both were not out at the end with 7 runs each. As per a long-established tradition, Extras at 40 was the highest score and the innings closed after 25 overs at 161 for 7. Darjeeling used a total of 9 bowlers, five of whom took at least one wicket. Destroyer-in-Chief was Mohit with 2 wickets for 14 runs off 3 overs. The award for “Most Airmiles Earned” of the innings goes to Barry Cummings for his 1 wicket for 39 runs off 3 overs. And the mystery spinner (even he didn’t know where it was going to bounce!) Russell Goulbourn was economical with 1 wicket for just 9 runs off his 2 overs.

After snacks, sandwiches and a few (or possibly more than a few) well-deserved beverages, Darjeeling XI went out to bat with Jason Brown and Russell Goulbourn doing their duty as openers. Steve Finnigan and Ben Raymond opened the bowling for Victory Chalis and it was young Ben who made the breakthrough by having Russell stumped by Noel Raymond for 4 runs. In came Hasan who made a good partnership with Jason before being bowled by Nick Harvey for 14 (with one 4). This bought Warren Spencer to the wicket which did not last long as he was stumped by Noel off the bowling of Ash Banerjee for a very entertaining duck.

CD Kotze came in to stop the rot and despite surviving a rightly vociferous appeal for a first ball stumping (the umpire at square leg clearly needed new glasses and dark comments were passed on his abilities and parentage) went on to score 12 runs (hitting one 6) before being caught off the bowling of Ash. Meanwhile Jason had been steadily accumulating runs and retired for 30 (with one 6 and two 4’s).

At this crucial stage Barry Cummings and Mohit Manwani came to the wicket and proceeded to put the nail in the coffin of Victory Chalis’s hopes. Barry bashed a thumping 30 Retired (one 6 and three 4’s) and Mohit provided good support with 22 Not Out (all run with no boundaries so he must be quite fit by now!). Paul Shrigley added the last few runs and was 3 Not Out at the end.

Darjeeling made the required target with two overs to spare and kept to tradition by making sure Extras at 41 was again the highest score of the innings. Best bowler for Victory Chalis was Ash Banerjee with 2 wickets for 18 runs off his 3 overs. The award for “Most Airmiles Earned” of the innings goes to Elliot Spencer for his wicketless 3 overs that went for 24 runs. Robyn Harvey also turned her arm for 1 over of 11 runs – her figures were not helped by some seemingly harsh interpretations of the laws of wide balls.

Man of the Match went to Nick Harvey who was presented with a fully engraved trophy to mark the occasion for his 35 runs and a tight bowling spell of 1 wicket for 19 runs off 3 overs.

A video of the event was provided by professional film maker extraordinaire, Lou Shrigley and can be watched at: https://vimeo.com/77318686

All agreed that it was a great day and many thanks to all of Nick’s friends and family (especially Robyn and Tripti Harvey) for the arrangements, snacks and drinks.

Darjeeling CC v Wombats CC – words by Chris "Stato" Tebb

Someone must have forgotten to tell the powers the be that the summer should be over as Darjeeling Cricket Club took on the Wombats at the ICC on a hot Autumn Saturday. As the Darjeeling elite moseyed on into the changing room for plenty of pre-match banter, the Wombats enthusiastically took to the field for a very professional looking warm up.
After the squad had assembled and it must be said, on time, Nick Harvey strolled to the middle for the coin toss which he duly won and after much deliberation decided “we’ll ave a bat first”.
Openers Chris Neal and Crayton Apps took to the field and Darjeeling were off to a great start with 2 fours from Neal in the first over, however on the last ball of said over, Neal Bowled by Abid for 8. Next in was Jason ‘Averages’ Brown looking to rack up some runs after a small absence from the club due to some niggling injuries. After facing a few balls to get his eye in, looked to be getting comfortable but was yet to get off the mark. Brown was then shocked to hear Apps call for a very dubious single that subsequently lead to a relatively easy run out for the visitors and DCC were 2 down for just 9 runs. 
In steps Higgins to try and settle the nerves that are starting to show in the faces of on looking team mates. However after some 1s and 2s and the occasional 4 from either end and the score board ticking over slower than the UAE’s unrelenting summer, Higgins was trapped LBW for 12. It must be said that John Houghton’s innings was almost the mirror image of Higgins with some neat 1s and 2s and the occasional 4. His dimise was a catch off  the bowling of Farid with a total of 12.
Nerves and tempers frayed, not helped with short cameoes from Tideswell (1) and N.Raymond (0) who can usually be relyed on to cement a middle order. Out strides the Vice Captain, Nick Harvey,  determined to change the tide of an ever worsening situation. Some at this point may have forgotten that amongst the carnage of the middle order Apps’ name hadn’t yet appeared on the wicket list and they would be absolutley correct. Harvey, getting his eye in with some singles and then unleashing a fury of bondaries; whilst Apps at the other end, stubborn as the preverbeal mule, added to the mounting partenership with singles and doubles of his own. Harvey was finally stumped for a respectable 31 from 35 balls. The score now a very modest 114 / 7.
Apps finally surcombing to the heat was stumped trying to up the run rate which brought in Josh Smith for a short spell of 4 runs from 5 balls.   Andrew Laing and Chris Ward then took to the task of seeing the remaining overs through and try to put a decent target on the board for the Wombats to chance. What ensued next was arguably the best partnership of DCC innings with some magnifisant stroke play, sharp running between the wicket and great communication between the two young batsmen. (A few leaves for the top order maybe). Ward bowled Haroon ending the DCC batting at Laing 10 not out, Ward 21 and Darjeeling CC 170 all out, 4 over short of completing their 40.  
DCC took to the field with heads slight bowed at the daunting task that faced them. The new nut was handed to Josh Smith and Nick Harvey respectively and after a few overs each the mood started to pick up as both bowlers were keeping the run rate fairly low. This was helped by some sharp fielding that lead to 2 quick wickets, the first of which was a stunning run out from Ward and shortly after a solid catch from Neal. Darjeeling very happy to see the backs of the two openers. This was however short lived as the replacement batsmen planted themselves at the crease and subsequently up the run rate. Smith 7 – 0 – 38 – 0, Harvey 7 – 1 – 33 – 1 and Ward 5 – 0 – 37 – 1.
Something needed to be done, so the captain made the decision and the nod was given to our very own Stuart Mathewson, better known as Badger. Raymond’s sixth sense for wickets was spot on as Badger was rewarded with two from very good catches on the boundary by Neal and Apps. Mathewson 4 – 0 – 24 – 2, a few other cameos from DCC bowlers included Neal 1 – 0 – 8 – 0,  Gully 2.4 – 0 – 24 – 0 and Unnamed in the score book 1 – 0 – 4 – 0.
Catches, Run outs, shape fielding and cameos however were not enough and the Wombats easily reached their target with plenty of overs to spare. A very sporting decision was then made that DCC would remain in the field and bowl the allotted number of overs so that the opposition got their moneys worth for the day.
The result certainly wasn’t one that Darjeeling CC would have hoped for however another smashing day of
cricket was had with plenty of banter and laughs shared.

Darjeeling vs HSBC

Saturday 5th October

With a 1030 start foxing some of the lusher DCC players and the prospective sponsors forcing Steve Brown to be on his best behaviour. Skipper Sackers then asked every player what to do if he won the toss as he fancied a bowl, fortunately peer pressure told and after winning the toss he chose the right option. HSBC took to the field with only 6 players after 4 new players did not turn up! Despite the sparse field, neither of the openers Browner nor John H could take advantage and after a self-confessed scratchy 15, Steve departed with the score on 23 in the sixth over. Cameron tried to accelerate the scoring but perished to Josh’s trigger finger for 13. 

Captain Sackers strode to the wicket intent on increasing the sedate scoring rate (57 off 9.2) but fell for 9 off 13 trying to score off a wide. Enter Chris Neal who succeeded where the other failed and playing proper cricket shots increased the run rate. After Johno retired for 41 at the end of the 16th over, Badger strode confidently to the wicket and confidently strode back one ball later after playing what Browner described as French Cricket around a straight one.  Gully helped Chris maintain the run rate until Chris fell for 36 off 17 balls. Josh (1*) and Gully (16*) managed to help DCC scrambled to a respectable 169 for 6 off their 20 overs. 

With Sackers asking for a brisk over rate as our time slot was fast approaching its deadline, Josh duly obliged with a wicket first ball. Etienne opened at the Academy end and bowled tightly save the 4 and 6 that were smeared off his 5th and 4th ball respectively. Josh returned for a second over but forgot the skipper’s instructions and decided that he enjoyed bowling in the sticky heat and promptly bowled 12 deliveries in his second over. Ash was getting plenty of exercise as the umpire, with his arms up and down like a windmill in a decreasingly enthusiastic manner.  Josh(1-17,2) was withdrawn and Chris Tebb brought in to the attack. Chris and Etienne then bowled tightly only to see some lusty smears reach the boundary off good balls. Etienne was withdrawn after 3 (0-19) without breaking a sweat despite the rest of the team doubling in weight with their sweat saturated shirts. 

Chris picked up his first wicket for the Tea Leaves with the score on 52-2 after 7. Sackers then started the Midas touch routine with the introduced Neil Colbeck striking first ball. Four tight overs from Neil effectively won the game for Dajeeling (4-0-1-24) before Sackers repeated the trip introducing Gully for Chris 1-24 (3), who promptly bowled the HSBC batsman first ball. Gully picked up another two wickets thanks to good catching from Chris Neal, who also chalked up a direct hit run out. Badger bowled the usual floaters that normally bring great success; unfortunately just the one wicket this time and one also striking the Academy on the full about two-thirds of the way up(3-0-18-1). With Gully bowled out with figures of 3-24, Sackers offered a bowl to Chris Neal, who declined, so he bowled himself going for a miserly 5 in the 19th over. HSBC finished on 135-8 off their 20 overs, resulting in a 34 run win and a 2 for 2 weekend for Darjeeling.

Darjeeling vs Desert Eagles

Friday 4th October

 With the summer heat still lingering the Tea Leaves took on the Desert Eagles at Sharjah. Winning the toss skipper Nick Harvey had no hesitation in forcing the Eagles into the afternoon heat. However the same decisiveness was lacking in the batting order, Noel went through 3 or 4 partners before striding to the wicket with Kym Harris. Noel looking resplendent in all white, Kym looking like he had just walked off a beach, set about watching the Eagles bowl to lines that would have been closer to the stumps on the next wicket. The first wicket was broken with Kym tamely chipping to midwicket with the score on 17 (10 wides), Greg strode to the wicket with purpose, allowing Little and Large to try and raise the total with the willow. After a breezy 18 off 9 balls, including 2 sixes, Greg edged to slip, score 47-2 (16 wides).  

Next in was Dannie Rees who carried on where Greg left off but with Noel also finding 3rd gear and the ball disappearing to all parts. A wonderful partnership of 101 off 53 balls was only ended when closing in on 50 Dannie was stumped for 42 off 26. Noel then upped his scoring rate again and after a quick innings of 1 from Nick Lloyd, Noel with another ton in sight perished for 85 off 56 (11x4s & 1×6). Nick C (6), Nick H (4), Chris Ward (10*), Hasan (3) and Jacob R (1*) took the score from 20 overs to 206 for 8. The crowd was also entertained throughout by on-going fielding competitions between Nick H, Wardy and the Raymond boys with Wardy being beaten every time, until he realised that the winners were always at the other end.

After a quick-ish turn around Darjeeling took to the field confident of defending 206; Wardy opened up from the Water Tank end. What followed was a display of aggressive and tight fast bowling and after a dropped catch in the maiden first over, Chris struck with his first ball of the third over bowling the opening batsman. The other opener quickly followed in the same over after a suicidal single to Nick Lloyd resulted in a run-out. In his next over, Chris picked up two more wickets with another clean bowled and a Greg Moses catch. Final figures of 4-1-10-3 sum up the great spell of bowling that it was. 

After a slightly less effective 0-14 off 2 Nick replaced himself with Jacob Raymond who, despite beating the bat with regularity, did not pick up the wicket he deserved (0-15 off 3). Hasan picked up a wicket caught behind by Dannie Rees to leave the opposition 36-5 off 8.2. Before a mini revival despite the best efforts  of the spin demon Kym; Kym and Nick L picked up a wicket a piece before the economic Ben Raymond bowled a decent 2-over spell for 9 runs. Kym picked up a second wicket and finished with 2-25 as the opposition closed on 103 for 8. Tea Leaves winning by 103 runs!


The Green's response…… words by Josh Smith

Raymond Snr and Mr. Sackley duly went out to the middle for the customary coin toss with Raymond Snr using the first of his Jedi mind tricks to win and install his Greens into bat….It was discussed in the changing room to reverse the batting order which was dually agreed upon apart from Raymond Snr insisting Mr. Rees opens up to steady things with the promoted lower order to ensure we at least got some runs in the first 10 overs…..Jedi mind trick number 2…..Raymond Snr’s plan was working a treat. 10 overs in Greens were at 64/4 with Raymond Snr (6), Coles (0), Mooney (0), and Raymond Jnr J (0) all succumbing to Mr. Harvey’s superb opening spell of  bowling that included a complete Hat-trick, a caught behind, bowled and an LBW.

The next 10 overs started in much the same way with Mr. Rees feeling he had to provide catching practice to first slip off the bowling of Raymond Jnr B. Gone for an elegantly played 40. This bought in what could be argued a slightly less elegant Mr. Ward but argued again just as effective. Mr. Ward and Mr. Theo (3) (apologies for no surname) made a well-paced 20 before Mr. Theo was bowled Mr. Hassan (apologies again.) Mr. Smith came to the crease and so the rebuilding commenced. Mr. Ward and Mr. Smith taking advantage of some inviting captaincy from The Golds to swash buckle the greens up to 120 odd by the middle of the innings prior to Mr. Ward missing quite a nice straight ball through quite a large gate from Mr. Banerjee for a fabulous 33. By this time Miss Pinky had been and gone, still without the faintest idea what cricket is but safe in the knowledge Mr. Pinky does actually do something on those Friday and Saturday afternoon’s he manages to escape (at least that is what she thinks.) One thing she couldn’t understand was that if we were outside ‘running’ around all day, why are we not all fit?!?

The dismissal of Mr. Ward bought out Mr. Turner and the revitalization of the Green’s innings continued with more swash-buckling. Mr. Smith eventually out LBW to a well claimed 5 for from Mr. Harvey for 42 with the score on 190 odd. The ‘hard-working’ and late arriving Mr. Brown came to the crease with Mr. Kym (I need to remember some surnames) huffing and puffing from having sat with his pads on for the best part of 20 overs, gradually being promoted to number 11 (remember we reversed the batting order.) Mr. Turner stuck around for another few overs before being bowled by Mr. Escritt for a pleasing 24. This bought Mr. Kim to the crease who took the Snr partner’s role with Mr. Brown showing him how it’s done with some lovely shots before Mr. Brown (7), who was middling everything for 1 was finally caught middling it to mid wicket, moments after blaming his bat and calling for a new one. Mr. Kim not out for an apparently controversial 11. Innings closed on 226 all out off 33 ish overs with much thanks going to the Gold’s for top scoring for us with extras of 60…..The favour would be returned.

With both teams retiring to the changing rooms for a quick turnaround, Mr. Turner offered out the energy drinks to the Greens (Savannah Cider) and Mr. Raymond came up with a masterful team talk, “The Golds don’t think we are playing as a team, lets show them how it’s done!” or something to that extent. Jedi Mind trick number 3.

The Golds opened up with Mr. Johnno and Mr. Crayton, with The Green starting out with Mr. Smith and Mr. Mooney. Mr. Smith instantly regretting extending his run up in the 40 degree plus heat, getting a little over heated in the first over but bowling Mr. Johno for 0 with his in-swingers. The Green’s showed tenacity and good ground work in the remaining overs up to tea but coming out empty handed as the Golds were comfortably in control with 79 on the board and the only additional loss of Mr. Dommett for a hardworking 19. Caught Mr. Reymund Snr bowled Mr. Rees off his first ball. Jedi Mind trick number 4.

The marvelous delights of tea were consumed, amid a variety of conversation between players and families. The final curtain was ready to rise with the Golds well in command needing 150 odd from 26 overs.

Mr. Sackley and Mr. Crayton Carried on where the Golds left off before Mr. Crayton was bowled by the Green’s ‘all-rounder of the day’ Mr. Ward for the innings of the day 48. Mr. Tideswell entered the fold and carried on where Mr. Crayton left off with compiling a decent innings of 25 before being caught off the impressive bowling of Reymund Jnr J. This was all becoming a familiar story as Mr. Harvey again came in and created another good partnership with Mr. Sackley before succumbing to another of Mr. Reymund Snr’s Jedi mind tricks (Number 5), a snick off Mr. Mooney’s boot to be run out at the non-strikers end (14).  This was the luck the Green’s needed; Mr. Brown held a catch, Mr. Sackley going for 37 off the bowling of Mr. Reymund Jnr J. Mr. Mooney then produced another magical over, trying to emulate the heroics of Mr. Harvey’s previously bowling first Mr. Moses for 3, and then Mr. Escritt for a golden in successive balls…..This bought the fearless Mr. Reymund Jnr B to the crease; Sledging coming from all angles behind the wicket from his father, he stood up and defended the ball stoutly.

With the run rate increasing the squeeze was on…..Mr. Hasan swinging at everything but finding the chirpy fielders and Mr. Raymond Jnr B intent on not letting his father get the better of him, despite some attacking batting coaching from out ‘promoted number 11’ Mr. Kim. 6 runs in 6 overs, the run rate was still increasing and Mr. Hasan diving out the way of a ball from Mr. Mooney caused much amusement to Mr. Rees as he fell to the ground in fits of laughter.

After much debate and controversial discussions in the middle Mr. Raymond Snr turned to more Jedi Mind Tricks (number 6) and bought on Mr. Theo. Tossing the ball up Mr. Hassan’s eyes lit up, as did Mr. Raymond Snr’s, a swoosh of the bat and a rattle of the stumps, Mr. Hassan had missed but Mr. Raymond Snr didn’t. Stumped for 6. It was then Mr. Theo’s for the taking and he obliged taking the final wicket wrapping up what at one point seemed a very improbably victory for the Greens. That’s Cricket!

A good team effort from the bowling with Mr. Mooney (7-12-2) Mr. Raymond J (6-30-2) and Mr. Theo (1-5-2) all taking the limelight. The Greens did oblige with the extra’s providing 40 of them.

And so back to the changing rooms for the debrief, the banter, and the light hearted debates.

All-in-all a much enjoyed day by all, and one that shouldn’t be left to linger too long in the memory before another is organized.        

Greens defeat Golds in Winter Season opener – words by Ash Banerjee


 Lower-order recovery and the skipper’s ‘victuals for victory’ strategy the keys to win


Darjeeling CC opened the entirely hypothetical winter season with a 40-over intra-club match yesterday, despite any evidence of winter being thin in the air or on the ground. 

Greens’ skipper Raymond Sr. had spent the week plotting the Golds’ demise, and their newly-anointed skipper-of-the-day Sackley walked right into the trap. The experienced and canny Raymond conned the Winter Gods into favouring him with the toss, convenient as two of his squad (the irrepressible Brown (S) and the responsible-yet-delayed Turner) were not expected to arrive anytime soon. 

Play began at 10:38 with Raymond and Rees opening the batting for the Greens, and Harvey and Moses sharing the new ball for the Golds, from the Academy and School Ends respectively, both bowling in the right areas and making good use of the conditions, and the batsmen being circumspect as a few no-balls and wides kept the board ticking slowly.

You have to bowl lots of dot balls or take 10 wickets to win a one-dayer, and Harvey took three in the third over to put the Golds ahead on points quite early in the piece. First, the infamous Raymond himself, nicking a brute of a delivery to Dommett behind the stumps and pausing for effect before being sent on his way, the very next ball Coles choosing to leave an in-ducker which struck him in line on the knee-roll, then Mooney, after his many sacrifices on Friday, stylishly shouldering arms only to see his off-peg gone, mortified, with Scholtz mocking in absentia, “Cheers Jules, thanks for coming.” A hat-trick for Harvey, the ghost of Tony Grieg heard gushing it’s all happening in the middle as winter set in early for the Greens at 14/3 after 3 overs. 

Raymond Jr. (J) was in next, pa testing the opposition to see if they’d take the frontline bowlers off to give the young lad a break, and Sackley obliged, taking Moses off and replacing him with the fraternally friendly medium pace of Raymond Jr. (B) at the School End. 

Amidst the carnage, Rees stayed calm, farmed the strike to shelter young Jake from the newie, played the ball on merit and struck boundaries at will to keep the scoreboard moving. However, Harvey soon scalped another in his 4th over, Raymond Jr. top-edging a dolly to Escritt at short mid-wicket for nought, Greens 44/4 after 7, with the first partnership of any significance realising 30 runs in 5 overs, all to Rees and Extras. Remarkably, nos. 3, 4 and 5 had failed to trouble the scorer

Ward arrived at the crease and immediately began playing some shots, to Rees’ relief. With Saeed on at the Academy End, the pair added 20 in quick time before Ben got one to kick up slightly, Rees nicking off an attempted glide, pouched well by Houghton at slip for a well-made 40, Greens 64/5 after 10. Adamson in next, and out shortly thereafter for 3, bowled by Saeed off “the in-swinger he’d been searching for,” getting his first wicket for the club, Greens 82/6 after 13 thanks to some strike-pinching and good hitting from Ward.

Tardy Turner had finally turned up but there was no sign of Brown yet so Smith was sent in, an inspired move as he settled into stroke-play with ease. Escritt replaced Raymond Jr (B) at the School End, bowling well, but the batsmen were up to the task and the partnership of the innings ensued either side of the first drinks break as they put on 44 for the 7th wicket as the pair milked runs off some unthreatening bowling. 

Ward finally succumbed to Banerjee from the Academy end, bowled off a flipper for an incisive 33, Greens 126/7 in the 19th and this brought Turner to the wicket and thence began the second significant partnership of the innings as Escritt, Banerjee and Sackley leaked runs to the rampant Smith and Turner, odd full-tosses going for 4 even as the dulcet tones of Michael Holding echoed ‘the bad ball must be put away.’

Finally, Sackley resorted to pace to prise the partnership apart, Harvey obliging by trapping Smith lbw for an adventurous and target-setting 47, a 5-fer to Harvey and the Greens 190/8 in the 25th over to bring Brown in at No. 9. Meanwhile, Moses had to pull out of the attack with a sore back after trying to bowl an effort ball (he hates the phrase ‘bowls a heavy ball’ on account of its inaccuracy per the laws of physics). 

Turner and Brown carried on for a bit before Escritt bowled the latter for an enterprising 24, 200/9 after 27, bringing in last man Harris, a good No. 11 to have in any side. Harris and Brown had a bit of fun as the Golds’ lads wilted in the field, taking the score along to 226 before Brown hacked Banerjee across the line to Sackley at short mid-wicket to bring the innings to a close at the end of the 37th over. From a precarious 82/6 the Greens had done very well, aided by some indisciplined bowling (60 extras!) and lackadaisical fielding from the Golds, to end up with 226. 

The Golds had a decent showing with the ball, Harvey the pick of the bowlers with 6-0-23-5; Moses 3-0-19-0, Raymond Jr. (B) 6-0-41-1, Saeed 4-0-24-1, Escritt 7-0-37-1, Banerjee 4.5-0-25-2, Sackley 3-0-23-0 

The scheming Raymond Sr. then unfolded the next phase of his cunning plan, asking the Golds to bat 10 overs as “Tea wasn’t ready yet,” then sent Turner to the rivals’ changing room with a fine, chilled bottle of Macon Village from Chateau Fagerhult to take their minds off the chase

Houghton and Apps opened the batting for the Golds, with Smith (School End) and Mooney (Academy End) opening the bowling for the Greens. Smith worked up a fair head of steam in his first over, castling Houghton with an in-swinging full toss off an under-edge (called no-ball for height) off the 3rd, then yorking him off the inside edge with the last ball, Houghton gone for a duck, sent off with a bellow from the bowler, the Golds 2/1 to bring Dommett in.

A fine partnership followed, with Apps playing attractive shots on both sides of the wicket and Dommett offering sensible support and rapid running, the pair never looking troubled and assuredly putting on 71 off 12 overs while taking the shine off the new ball, then blunting the challenge of the first and second change of the Yorkshiremen Turner and Brown, forcing Raymond Sr. to take them off after 2 and 3 overs respectively, and introducing the off-spin of Rees and the brisk pace of Ward. 

The change worked, Dommett caught behind off Rees’ first ball for 19, Golds 75/2 after 13.1, the skipper Sackley coming in to continue the chase with the returning, in-form Apps, whose stroke-play was as fluorescent as his accessories. Mrs. Dommett appeared and Tea was taken after 15 overs, a sumptuous feast of sausage rolls, spring rolls, curried egg sandwiches, samosas, onion bhajis, brownies, carrot cake, fruit and more, mostly provided by the Darjeeling ladies, Mrs. Raymond & Mrs. Harvey in the main. Mrs. Apps, Mrs. Rees and the soon-to-be Mrs. Tideswell were also present, and children gallivanted nonchalantly on the mound and under the 

tree. Banerjee uncorked a chilled bottle of Gavi with first dibs for the ladies, with Harvey, Sackley, Dommett, Turner, Raymond Sr. and the sommelier polishing off the rest. The senior members were heard remarking this is just like old times at the old Clubhouse, in the TMS booth in the sky Blowers waxed eloquent on the quality of the cakes, and as the afternoon sun peaked, civility prevailed, appetites were sated and thirsts slaked
, and the third phase of Raymond Sr.’s evil plot was put in play, inducing a sated torpor to the Golds’ lower order, effectively taking them out of the chase. 

The scorers Raymond Jr. (B) and Banerjee then passed the sheet on to Houghton, with an exhortation to make a contribution to the team’s efforts and score with the pen since he couldn’t with the bat. Houghton settled in with the leftover sausage rolls and omitted to note the scores and overs at the fall of wickets whilst eating for Kent and drinking for France.

The top order continued to thrive after Tea, first Apps and Sackley putting on about 20 for the 3rd wicket before the former was bowled by Ward for a classy 48, then new man Tideswell and Sackley putting on another 40 or so with good strokes all around the park as three catches went down in characteristic Darjeeling fashion. Tideswell eventually holed out in the deep off the bowling of Raymond Jr. (J) for an enterprising 25 off 29, with a big six over cover off the hapless Harris, who bowled better than last week but still couldn’t buy a wicket

Harvey and Sackley put on another 30 or so before the latter’s straight drive found Mooney’s trailing boot (even while he was taking evasive action) onto the stumps while Harvey was backing up, unfortunately run out off for a typically efficient 14 off 16 balls, the Golds approximately 160/6 off (I think) 22 overs, still in with a chance if the lower order kept their heads about them and the tail wagged, but some on the mound suspected that the worm had turned. 

New man Saeed was in at 7 and Sackley was looking sublime until he was snared in the deep playing one lofted shot too many while trying to force the pace, Raymond Jr. (J) doing the damage again. With the indisposed Moses coming in at 8 the Golds had hope yet, until he was undone by a pearler from Mooney taking top of off, and the wheels began to come off the Golds’ chase. 

Escritt in next and out first ball, bowled by Mooney, then Raymond Jr. (B) in, defending doggedly while Saeed tried to farm the strike, trepidation on the mound as tension and humour mounted equally as only 6 runs came off 6 overs, the chase effectively grinding to a halt. In an inspired move Raymond Sr. brought on Adamson to bowl his dobbers, and Saeed was out stumped to bring in last man Banerjee, with 40-odd needed off 5 overs. A few runs later Raymond was stumped as well and it was all over, the Golds collapsing from an assured 135/4 (or so – wish he’d done the FoW) to 190 all out after 33.

The Greens conceded 40 Extras yet bowled well, Smith 4-0-23-1, Mooney 7-0-12-2, Turner 2-0-15-0, Brown 3-0-28-0, Ward 6-0-25-1, Rees 5-0-33-1, Harris 3-0-23-0, Raymond Jr. (J) 6-0-30-2 and Adamson the pick of the bowlers with 1-0-5-2. 

On deeper reflection the ebb-and-flow of the game presents an interesting story. The Greens began poorly before a late-order recovery got them to a respectable total, while the Golds began well then tailed off rapidly, run-scoring and wicket-taking showing alternating bell-curve-like patterns over the course of the day’s play. A game of two halves indeed, through the course of which the injured Brown (J) made snarky comments through the day on everyone’s batting techniques, bowling form and fielding prowess (or lack thereof) and cracked up all present. 

With so many old and new members having played a good game of cricket, a team photo was inevitable and Theresa duly complied. Gary snapped away through the morning, some more were taken with phones in the changing rooms, and all will be compiled as an album on facebook in days to come. 

And so, to the changing rooms – both teams gathered in the winners’ with cold ones in hand, the books were read, banter exchanged, Gary magiced up a bottle of sparkling Rose for the winning skipper, Dannie appeared in a technicolour sarong brighter than anything we’ve seen on Crayton, then presented Hassan with a jockstrap, the bottle of bubbly went around the room, we finished up the beverage and some proceeded after showers to Girders, hurried along by the most pungent of farts from an apologetic Brownie which necessitated a rapid exit from the changing rooms. 

A really great day out for all… well done to Nick for organising it, to the Darjeeling ladies (Mrs. Raymond most of all – she later confirmed Noel had asked her to hold off coming to the ground as his plan was playing out well) for a sumptuous Tea, and to our junior members Jacob and Ben for being absolute troopers as they always are.