Away we go

So the day has finally arrived, with those gallant men and boys from Darjeeling (not the hill station in India) but from Dubai, the dust bowl we call home are now counting down the hours till we rendezvous at Dubai International Airport wearing our PINK (not my colour of choice) tour shirts, to depart for the 26th Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes in Thailand..

Arriving two days before the tournament actually is a really good idea, to allow the Tourists to acclimatise to the heat, not that we are not used to being hot, with Dubai now being in the mid thirties, saying that it is a different type of heat, with a lot more humidity to deal with than we are used to, well that’s what we tell the wives and girlfriends!!!

The advance party, who have been arriving in dribs and drabs over the course of the past week, are now in place to ensure there are no surprises for the main party, with special care taken to ensure that the varying taste requirements of the Tourists, that Singha, Chang, Tiger and Heineken are immediately available and chilled to perfection for their arrival at the Porn Ping Tower Hotel tomorrow morning.

With the Saturday already booked for golf  probably at Mae Jo Golf Resort & Spa and the welcome reception at the River Market Restaurant in the evening, we get down to the serious business on Sunday with both teams in action, luckily for us we have been blessed with lunchtime games, so we will have plenty of time to warm up (recover from the previous night).

There has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes in the lead up to the tour, Chris Dommett taking over from Jeremy Coulbeck for 2013 in managing the Tour, other contributions have come from George Appleton, the Club Chairman and Chiang Mai nightlife mogul in sponsoring the team and organising the Tour shirts, even the pink one!! Negotiations for cost effective flights with Thai Airways was handled by Stuart Matthewson, as well as the playing shirts for this years sortie, so no surprises as they are exactly the same as last year.

We wish the Tourist the best of luck for this years tournament, with an outside chance of repeating the heroics of 2012 when we achieved  our highest accolade to date in coming in as runners up on the 25th Anniversary in the Cup – the second best team in Chiang Mai.

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Darjeeling calls stumps

 

Darjeeling calls stumps

Philip Moore closes the scorebook on a fascinating little cricket club.

Darjeeling CC v Loose Cannons Saturday 16th March 2013 – penned by Badger

Yet again another warm afternoon in prospect at the ICC Global Cricket Academy, Brian Scholtz as Skipper lost the toss as usual, and Darjeeling were doomed to the first 20 overs in the field.

With two of the Darjeeling boys still having failed to appear on time, Loose Cannons Skipper Richard Bradstock kindly lent the fielding side 2 able bodied men.

Brian took the new ball himself, hoping to bowl the ball a tad straighter than his previous wayward spell only getting shipped for 8 in the opening over, relying on youth and exuberance from the Academy End our junior player Jacob Raymond kept the ball straight, with the opening batsmen, Clint Birkenshaw and James Elliott-Square rotating the strike for the Cannons. CD Kotze came into the attack in the 5th over hoping to stem the flow of runs, currently over 10 an over, and proceeded to gift the visitors a 22 run over. The Cannons were in full flow and all the bowling options that Darjeeling offered resulted in runs, Ben Jacob, Ash Banerjee, Stuart Matthewson and Gibbon Human all getting carted around the ground.

James Elliott-Square finally departed cleaned out by James Grisdale on the last ball of the 16th over for a fluent 81, the partnership of 188 having done the damage, Ash Taylor joined Clint in the middle for a four over onslaught on the Darjeeling bowling, with the Loose Cannons blasting 94 to finish on 282 – 1 in their 20 overs, with Clint Birkenshaw 142 off 65 balls and Ash Taylor 31 off 12 balls.

Looking at the unenviable task of setting off chasing over 14 an over, Brian Scholtz went for a Jonathan Houghton – James Grisdale partnership hoping that these two could get Darjeeling on track in the run chase, the reality kicking in on the 4th ball as Jonno was cleaned out by Nick Anderson. Chris Dommett strode determinedly to the crease and with his first scoring shot drilled a boundary; his fourth ball saw him waving his bat at a loose delivery from Tauseef Qadri to get caught behind. This brought together the high octane partnership of Brian Scholtz and James Grisdale. With a 21 partnership in full flow Brian found himself trapped LBW by Nick Anderson, bringing the left handed Noel Raymond to the crease for an 11 run partnership, before Big Gris going for a quick single found himself narrowly coming up short with Darjeeling finding themselves in all sorts of trouble at 39 – 4. With Jacob Raymond joining his dad at the crease the biggest of the afternoon’s partnerships was formed with 37 before Noel finally departed for 23, Ben Jacob joined his brother before being ruthlessly bowled by Bradstock. With the over’s diminishing and the tail looking very fragile wickets fell regularly with Jacob going for (9), Ash Banerjee(6) and CD Kotze (1) bought the unlikely paitring of Gibbon Human and Stuart Matthewson to the middle to try and avert a total humiliation with three and a half overs still to be bowled and with Darjeeling sitting on 90 – 9!! This pairing bought the third highest partnership of the day of 20, mainly gifted by wides with scoring shots consisting of two fours and a double. Darjeeling finishing well short of the target on 110 – 9 losing by 172 runs!!

Darjeeling CC v Choueiry Group Friday 15th March 2013 – penned by Badger

With a warm afternoon in prospect at the ICC Global Cricket Academy, Andrew Tideswell as Skipper won the first salvo of the day, the toss, and elected to bat.

Opening with Jonathan Houghton and Cameron Coles, it only took four balls for Jon to be netted and back in the hutch caught on 2. Cameron was the second to be snared for a three ball duck in the 2nd over trapped LBW. Nick Lloyd and Greg Moses steadied the wobbling Darjeeling ship with a partnership of 87, with Nick cleaned out for 28. In strode James Grisdale looking full of purpose to blast a quick-fire broadside of 42 in 18 balls of his 60 partnership with Moses, Andy Tideswell still not having been dismissed at the ICC looked to add to his strong run. Greg was the next to get reeled in with Darjeeling on 175 in the 19th over for 76 off 48 balls, Brian Scholtz followed the next ball for a Golden.

Tideswell  & Nick Harvey put on a 14 partnership before Tideswell trudged back to the hutch for 20, Nick Harvey and Julius Mooney adding  a further 14 partnership before Nick was cleaned out for 10, Julius hang on with Mohit (0) and Badger (1) adding little or no support with Julius finishing on 13 not out and Darjeeling floundering on  a minnow of a score with 213 all out in 24 overs.

With the clock ticking down Choueiry had to turn round quickly to beat the tide of time that was against them. Baber and Bilal anchored themselves in the middle and resisted the lure of the Darjeeling bowlers Grisdale, Scholtz, Moses and Mooney coming up empty handed, putting on 92 before Bilal was hauled in from the first ball of Badgers first over with a sharp catch from Lloyd for 35. Baber managing to escape with a couple of huge appeals both for catches behind, Sameer got lured down the track on 17 by Badger to be snared, Hammad and Bilal saw the Choueiry boys home in  the 23rd over with Baber on 94 not out and Hammad 40 not out.

Darjeeling retired to the Pavilion to analyse their short comings and the power point presentations to follow by nets on Tuesday!!

Darjeeling CC v Farooq CC

Farooq CC (supported by du) squared off against Darjeeling Cricket Club (supported by du) in a friendly 40 over game @ the Fairgrounds Oval yesterday (8th March 2013).

Winning the toss and electing to bat first, Farooq CC were rocked back in the second over of the innings when Rashid Khan was cleaned up by Adel Farooq for a duck. From then on, it was all Farooq CC with two big partnerships, the first (143 Runs) between Ahmed Shaukat and Qais Farooq and the second (74 runs) between Qais Farooq and Waqas Khan with Farooq CC getting a competitive 269/4 at the end of the innings.

Qais Farooq played a stellar knock (although he was assisted by a couple of dropped chances) to score a superb 102 not out in 116 balls (9 x 4s) with Ahmed Shaukat (86 off 88 balls, 9 x 4s) and Waqas Khan (41 off 24 balls, 5 x 4s, 1 x 6s) being the other main contributors. For Darjeeling CC, Gris (7/0/37/0), Adel Farooq (7/0/53/1) and Ben (3/0/22/1) were the main bowlers.

Chasing a competitive target, Darjeeling got off to a sedate but stable start as J Houghton (24 off 34 balls, 3x4s) and N Raymond (67 off 115 balls, 9x4s) put on a decent 41 run partnership before Adel Reyal (5/0/34/3) picked up a couple of quick wickets to peg Darjeeling CC back to 76/4. The fall of the 4th wicket brought Adel Farooq to the crease and he, along with N Raymond, put together a brisk 100 run partnership in an attempt to bring Darjeeling CC back into the game. Adel scored a superb 44 off 48 deliveries (3x4s,3x6s) before being dismissed. Qais Farooq followed up his batting performance with a wonderful bowling performance (8/2/41/3), the match ending with Farooq CC (supported by du) winning the match by 84 runs.

Darjeeling v Loose Cannons – match report penned by J Houghton – University Graduate. 3rd Feb 2013

Darjeeling Logo supported by du

Darjeeling Logo supported by du

Friday saw Darjeeling take on a slightly weakened Loose Canons team. After the last performance against them this was much needed.

The day began with several of the players typically showing up hungover. Thankfully Chris won the toss and elected to bat. Unfortunately though he decided to open up with the two most hungover players with yours truly and Steve Brown (with Grisdale still missing).

The brave decision by the captain was quickly vindicated as Darjeeling got off to a flyer with a scoring rate comfortably over 10 an over. The two openers made light work of some average bowling posting an opening partnership of 136 in the 12th over with yours truly out LBW (Questionably?) for a fine 68 off 37 balls with 52 runs coming through the leg side. Stevie followed soon after for a very well made 57 from 36 balls caught at point – Darjeeling being 145-2 in 12.3 overs at this stage. In came Olly and Nathan to slow down Darjeeling’s scoring rate with a partnership off 87 in just under 10 overs ending with Nathan being caught for 36. In came Pete and back out he went. First ball. A determined Grisdale stumbled towards the wicket hitting two huge sixes of his first two balls before being caught by the traitor hitting towards the longest boundary against the wind – falling one yard short from a third consecutive six. Captain Magnificent (Yes I want to open again) came in for the last 10 balls scoring a quick 15 from 8 balls with Olly anchoring the innings for an excellent 42 ball 52*.

Darjeeling finishing on 274-5 in our 25 overs no thanks to the opposition bowling 25 wides and 7 no balls. The traitor comfortably had their best bowling figures going for 25 in his three overs with no wickets while Bradders finished one short of his 50 in his three overs.

Darjeeling feeling confident of a win strode out to the middle knowing that Bradders was the key man to get out early. Grisdale and Gary Turner opened up with Gary getting a wicket in his first over bowling a full toss which the batsmen hit to short extra with yours truly taking a stunning one handed catch. Bradders soon got hold of Gary though hitting him for 21 of his third over and looking good. Ash could and should have made a better effort to catch a top edged pull from Gris’ bowling however instead decided to take a couple of steps backwards before watching the ball land behind him. Fortunately for Darjeeling Gris soon got his man caught at point – an excellent diving catch by Olly – to remove Bradders for an aggressive 56 off just 26 balls. Luckily Captain AT was not playing and fielding in his usual point position as surely that would have gone for four. This left the Loose Canons on 73-2 in 6.4 overs with the traitor coming in. Grisdale finishing on four overs 1 for 35 and Gary T four overs 1 for 43.

Darjeeling then began to take wickets regularly with Olly taking a wicket in his second over – a superb catch by yours truly running towards third man and taking a skier over his shoulder. Not all of Darjeeling’s members were quite on the ball as yours truly was and some very average fielding followed culminating with Captain Magnificent labeling some of the fielding as ‘toilet’ before dropping a sitter himself which Stevie was quick to point out.

On came the spinners Moxey, Badger and Ash keeping things tight and picking up wickets at regular intervals. Ash with the pick of the figures finishing on 3-44 in his five overs while Badger bowled five tight overs only conceding 34-1 while Moxey went for 38-1 from four overs. Loose Canons finishing on 221-8 from their 25 overs with the traitor ending up on a fine 63* from 59 balls. A convincing 53 run win for the mighty Darjeeling who put on a great show for their fans (AT, Sackers and Brian)

A great days cricket had by all with special mention to Pete Foley who played his first game in a long time and got out first ball however some exceptional looking dives in the field (even though nowhere near the ball) will keep him in contention for selection next week. A few cheap beers at Girders followed before those left standing went to Barasti.

Darjeeling Cricket Club v Wombats AKA Nomads AKA Team without a Name match report. Words by CD Kotze

Darjeeling Logo supported by du

Darjeeling Logo supported by du

On what can only be described as a perfect day for cricket the Darjeeling Cricket Club took on an unknown rival (later to be identified as a team we thrashed before at SES) on the smaller pitch at the ICC and previous venue of a fine Grisdale batting display.

While indulging in in a fast-growing pre-match ritual of devouring a choice of Burger King or Hardy’s pre-match chatter was mostly centered around certain members’ conquests of the the previous, Jono AKA The Darjeeling Bicycle sharing what he described as a stereotypical Dubai hookup with a teacher and Greg adding that he for the first time saw a certain member of the DCC known for his anger management issues showing a softer side, the table was set for a standard random day at the home of DCC.

With members arriving from 12:30 to 1:15 for a 12:45 team get together and some confusion caused by the term “bring a few scoops” amongst the internationals of DCC, the source of the confusion and the second-last player to arrive, Gary Turner AKA the Guv’nor was selected to Captain the side, due to club captain Chris Dommett’s reluctance to captain the team from keeper, against the Wombats/Nomads/ Without a Name, which at this stage had 3 players at the ground consisting of two slightly portly cricketers and a gentleman resembling a Bollywood actor playing the role of the Rambo of the cricket field.

With the classic line of “my team is still coming from Friday prayers” uttered by the opposition captain, the Guv’nor proceeded to win the toss and in true DCC form, elected to bat, a decision not driven by tactical prowess but by a culture of Friday hangovers and a memory of desert weather conditions. So the day of normal randomness continued as DCC Umpire Shiju and Umpire Banerjee took to the field to call ‘Play’ on a 25-over match.

Out strode Sackers and the Bicycle to open the batting against the Wombats who were at this stage recognized as a team we played before when an aforementioned DCC member with anger management issues scored 90 against Sharjah and were outplayed by DCC. The opposition by this time had grown to 9 players with two of their team still praying hard.

Sackers started scoring from some Jonathan Trott-like shots but not in true Sackers style gave away his wicket softly with a practice catch to the opposition off the bowling of Hamad, before the opposition had reached the full complement of 11 fielders.

Out strode Greg Moses to the pitch with his signature fisherman’s hat and a bat won for player of the tournament in Chiang Mai. His feng shui just seemed right after having witnessed the first time emotional display and armed with a new pre batting ritual involving two fingers and a foul smell (details of which are being withheld due to the open nature of Facebook and fear of having to enter into a witness protection program for revealing them) Mr. Share the Love himself went on to build a Rahul Dravid rock of an innings.

In the meantime, more and more scoops (beers, biere, brews, lagers, XXXX’s etc, for the rest of us non Oldham Athletic supporters) were being enjoyed next to the pitch, which bode well for the banter but perhaps not the batting performance needed by the middle order.

Bicycle, during all this, started his innings nervously, very unlike a man with his Casanova-like exploits but started to find his stride not too long after Mr. Moses walked in, and proceeded to bash a few fours for a very good 40 and an innings-defining partnership of 73 with Greg before being bowled by “one that kept straight” otherwise known as a “beauty” from the bowling of Moiz, who was proving to be a be a bit of a thorn in the side of the Darjeeling run rate along with Taz “Sharapova” who had a Shoaib Ahktar like run up and a Maria Sharapova like grunt upon delivery.

Unfortunately, a batting collapse reminiscent of the England cricket team of the nineties, South Africa in a Cricket World Cup or the more recent collapse of the Pakistan middle order in their previous test in South Africa, commenced with depressing ease.

First came and went the reluctant captain, usually dominant, out for 1, bowled by Haroon, followed by the self-proclaimed agricultural cricketer, Nathan Cartwright, out for 6, bowled by Abid.

Which led to an attempt at an innings-stabilizing 7 of 9 balls innings (Strike rate significantly helped by 4 overthrows) from Jules “Tats” Mooney, caught off Moiz with teddy bears, rattles and puzzles lining the way back to the changing room along with some choice words. Which brought in Mr. Comeback, Nick Harvey, who was soon after caught off the bowling of Hamad for 4.

All this action happening while Greg was building a beautiful game-saving attempt of an innings on the other side of the scooped-up middle order, while bravely trying to hide the pain of his pulled hammie and fighting the burning sensation in his nostrils. The question being raised at this point, will Mr. Share the Love be able to bowl with a pulled hammie, since we were looking a little bit short of a few wicket takers, which as we all know, is crucial for winning a game of cricket.

Finally, after a serious batting wobble, in strode Gully, red-eyed from a week-long visit from his wife’s cousin and looking brittle, therefore setting the opposition bowlers at ease, to bring some form of support for the superb innings being played by Greg.

After feeding the strike to Greg with three well-taken singles, the gentleman out in the middle realized that Greg running with a pulled hamstring was not in the spirit of Darjeeling Cricket, so Gully decided to let loose and hit two classy fours before trying one shot too far and was caught off the bowling of Taz (of the Sharapova kind, not to be mistaken with the Tasmanian kind) for a crucial 11.

In strode the “taking one for the team” player of the day, your’s truly, to witness some brutal hitting by Greg, a short run of a very well-taken two runs (disputed with the umpire, the first of two dubious umpiring calls for the day) and a brave sacrifice run-out to protect the Batsman of the Day’s wicket for a well-run duck without facing a ball.

This left only one ball of the innings which Greg proceeded to hit through the air, only to be dropped and ending the innings, carrying his bat, for a long overdue 108, his first 100 after the sad demise of the Darjeeling Cricket Club grounds in 2008, may she rest in peace.

With a softish target of 207 set for the opposition, Darjeeling took to the field and after a brief stint of enthusiastic fielding practice, set about defending their total, opening the bowling with the deceptive Gully from the Academy End and Jules from the School End as a well-fuelled Gris replaced Ash to umpire for the first 10 overs, while the latter tucked into a Stella or two.

The opening bowlers proceeded to keep it about as tight as a loosely-tied westminster tie, with some quality dot balls mixed in with some good balls dispatched to the boundary, but there was hope in Darjeeling’s slightly scooped-up blurry eyes when Jules took the wicket of Mannu sharply caught by the candidate of comeback player of the year, Nick Harvey for 5, which brought to the crease a blue padded, Inzamam ul-Haq like communicator between the wickets, Omar.

Gully proceeded to bowl his five overs on the trot, which is no mean fitness feat for any DCC bowler, unlucky to end his spell wicketless, conceding 44 runs and with Jules finishing 4 of his overs on at the other end with figures of 1 for 38, Darjeeling were still battling hard to stay in the game.

During Jules’ spell, the second dubious call of the day was made when Gris called a (low) slow ball full toss a no ball, which brought about a pleasant exchange of shits and giggles between the Guv’nor and Jules and said umpire, with the other umpire proclaiming his support for his fellow umpire with a well timed: “What to do?”. The call was also later falsely blamed on the innocent square leg fielder.

Jules was replaced by Nick at the school end and he came in to bowl like a man who did not spend any time away from the game with an injury. Nick was the only other wicket taker in the innings bowling Karan “Bollywood Rambo” with a pearler for a well played and showy 62. Nick ending the day the pick of the Darjeeling bowlers with 1 for 38 of his 4 overs.

The Bicycle then replaced Gully at the academy end and clearly thought that a slow full toss would be his stock ball of the day, with ‘Taz’ Tauseef, who replaced the Bollywood Rambo and the blue-padded Omar proceeding to take advantage of the fine weather and friendly pitch, though rarely used by the Bicycle. Not even a change of ends stopped the full toss frenzy and Jono ended the day with an uncharacteristic 52 runs of his 5 overs with no wickets.

Mohit was brought on to replace the Bicycle and stem the flow of runs and did a great job in his first over, but unfortunately, consistency let him down in the second and Mo was knocked around a bit in his second for figures of 0 for 21.

it was now clear that Greg’s hammie was costing us on the bowling front with the aforementioned lack of wicket-takers taking effect, facing a team spurred on by the wild celebrations and Asian drums from the other pitch, where a corporate cricket day was in full swing with spectators lining up for food boxes, etc.

With Darjeeling’s fielding being good to pretty good despite a few misfields, a dropped catch and a half-chance, we could not take any benefit from some poor running from Omar and Tauseef as they merrily continued chipping away at the target, getting the Wombats into a very comfortable position.

The Guv’nor brought himself on to replace Mohit for one over and went for 12 runs in the 19th over of the game, leaving the Wombats 2 runs to get with 5 overs remaining.

On came CD, some say a little too late, and after 3 balls and a hamstring-inspired misfield, the game was all over, the Wombats beating Darjeeling by 8 wickets with several overs to spare.

Despite the loss, it was a thoroughly enjoyable game made better by great banter, scandalous dressing room stories and good opposition who understand the spirit of cricket.

The Wombats were worthy opponents and with a bit more depth on the bowling front, they are very beatable.

Unfortunately, I cannot do a Girders report, but judging by the pace of scoops being consumed until the time we were asked to leave the dressing room, some quality shenanigans were had.