Match Report – Darjeeling CC v Wombats

On a drizzly Saturday reminiscent of ‘St. George’s Day’ in 2008 when grey skies and rain greeted the 43rd US President, Darjeeling CC was due to begin their Two Match T20 series against The Wombats (recent winners of the pre-Chiang Mai Sixes Tournament).  On arrival to the ground, the GCA appeared deserted – the teams however, (most of which arrived early) were camped out in the Changing rooms warming their hands round post match bevies.   Familiar faces of Greg Moses, Neil Colbeck, Sackers and Steve Brown greeted me whilst Brian languished horizontally on the benches deigning to offer an outstretched arm.  (Ash was around busying himself with the ground staff – of which I discovered he refers to as ‘curators’)   Early discussions surrounded Friday’s performance of DCC – with particular reference to dropped catches, Brian’s scruffy half century and the enigma of what made certain Darjeelingites ‘tick’
Next to join ‘the party’ was Matt Escritt looking healthy and ready for action followed by Gibby & Son along with (yet another) trimmed beard style and tails of bitter Canadian winters and thermal underwear.  Bringing up the rear, the unmistakable figure of Lee Dawson.
Further mention should be given at this stage to the weather and pitch conditions.  There was spitting rain – rain I might add you would welcome in England for your Saturday league cricket – let’s say median British weather conditions. Rain that was however, keeping the covers on.  A 2:30pm start was announced – at 2:20pm the toss was lost and Darjeeling was put into field.  At 2:30pm the covers were sliding off and Lew was limbering up.  At approximately 2:33pm the covers were sliding back on.
When polite enquiries were made (whatever polite is for what the fuck is going on with the covers’) – we were informed that the ‘Australian’ pitch was due to be used and as this was heavily clay-based it might be too slippery for us and could cause injury (which is ground staff/curator speak for “there’s a spot of rain in the air and we don’t your spiky feet touching our pristine square”).  A further pitch inspection was agreed at 3:00pm and we also heralded the arrival of one Mr Dommett looking a wee hungover and donning a simple Nokia to replace his vodka-damaged smart phone.
DCC sauntered back to what Americans call the ‘locker room’ and the lids to the Eskies once again opened.  A new shower turned our interests to indoor cricket and an impromptu game of French cricket began. We learned that you cannot be out for a Golden Duck and that Steve Brown is a little too ‘passionate’ in the froggy form of the game.  We then stretched the indoor pitch to the toilets and found Ash’s batting forte is definitely with indoor tennis ball cricket after he sent deliveries pinging around the alcoves of the changing rooms.
At 3:00pm it was announced the game was cancelled and some took this as a cue to leave whilst a few of the keener/more optimistic/more deluded members (myself included) hung around in the hope some cricket could be negotiated.  Interests however, turned to talk – with that master orator, Greg Moses delivering a 3 o’clock bombshell – i.e. that he had zero sympathy with anyone killed by a dog or a snake*
We even tested the theory of how to repel such a snake attack and agreed it would be possible (and forgivable)if the victim was drugged or asleep.  Discussion then switched to further unlikely “Animal Death Matches”  A Staffordshire Terrier v a Red Kangaroo, A Badger versus a Wolverine, a Gorilla against a Bull and Tag team between a Tasmanian Devil and Staff (Terrier) versus a Monitor Lizard / Komodo Dragon and Panda.  We also concluded that a Great White Shark would beat a Polar Bear (in water) – unless, the Polar Bear was defending her young and lastly, that a Grizzly Bear was just about the hardest beast out there (out of water).
Now this may sound like drivel to any TMS (Test Match Special) followers – but let me tell you Aggers, Blowers and Bumble – it beats discussions about the demise of test cricket cheesecakes any day!
To further prevent the onset of ennui, Greg entertained us with a Sydney Harbour Bridgesque climb up the GCA
and avowed it to be “one of the finest views in cricket”.  After getting further updates on the current affairs on the world of darts (and hearing that Sackers has forked out AED1,200 for a ringside – or should I say “oche-side seat”  at the Dubai Duty Free Masters) it was time to leave. I would welcome any further addendum from any of the more hardcore DCC’ers who remained.
*On further probing, the parameters of this bold declaration were agreed – the snake would have to be of the constrictor type (i.e. a python or Boa and not a poisons viper) and that we’d be talking about a sole dog and not a pack dog attack.

Darjeeling v National Bank of Fujairah – words by Gary Turner

Whilst the majority of the Darjeeling crew , including the  current and immediate past Chairman’ where continuing the team building and bonding exercise that is commonly known as the Chaing Mai Sixes, it was left to the hardy few to brave the largest shamal seen in the UAE for many a year and take on the unknown entity known as the National Bank of Fujairah.
Greg Moses had managed to pull together a team of has beens , never will be’s and some still thinking they might be’s! Plus a ringer from London called Bruno who is a lover not a fighter!
Skipper for the day , Gary , selected because Greg did not want the stress, walked towards the square like a man who understands bad weather and duly won the toss and elected to bat. So far so good!
With no Simon Fowler to select it was obvious that Noel, the ever ready, and Ben were the obvious choices to open up for DCC. There is something impressive about Noel strolling to the wicket. A combination of pugnacious short arse Aussie and knowing that no matter how bad those first balls are he will block and say in a loud voice “NO” means reassurance!
At the other end , Ben , a man who has been sent to Darjeeling because his partner was worried he was drinking too much! WOW! Grisdale will meet you soon MR. BEN!, The bowling was average and the two boys went on their merry way , Noel striking the ball magnificently behind square and Ben pulling anything short for 4.
Noel got bored and missed a straight one for a well worked 35 and Greg , chilled as ever strolled to the wicket looking like a white and slightly tall Viv Richards. He didn’t have any smoke on him but you can use your imagination!
Ben continued to strike the ball well until on 47 a Darjeeling umpire gave an LBW! Yes! No name no pack drill as they used to say and he shall remain anonymous ….. Lee! Apparently as plumb as Jack Mc Plumb living in Plumbville!
Enter Anthony who had described himself earlier as doing a bit of both to the skipper!! Grisdale will soon meet you MR. Anthony!!!
Anthony and Greg plundered the runs off the 9 bowlers used before the former was caught on 47, a great knock if you forget the many dropped catches the bankers had spilled!
Bruno the cockney geezer came and went and it was left to Greg , 51, not out and Steve Blandford to bring us to a creditable 216 for 4 in our 25 overs.
By now the wind and sand storm was at a level that even well hard northeners , from England at least where beginning to blink! Greg, as usual, and a worthy position for a Saffer, was asked to toil up the hill, into the gale, and at pace.2 out of three was not bad as he plopped the ball on a length enough times to cause the somewhat Kamikaze openers some trouble. Etienne came down the hill and struck early with a wicket in his second over. Greg meanwhile toiled up the slope but after 3 overs was given a well earned rest to be replaced by Both Ways Anthony! Of course this skippers decision led to a wicket with Anthony clean bowling the other opener.
There is a time in a match when a decisive decision has to be made, this was not it so CD was brought on to replace Etienne who finished with very creditable figures of 4 overs 1 for 14.
CD , as you all know is an enigma. So much talent, so few wickets! But not today…… Amidst the wides and the full tosses he bowled some Jaffas and finished with 3 for 33 off his four overs before pleading with the skipper to be taken off because his wallet , still strapped to his body was giving him back ache!
Anthony, whose 2 overs gave him figures of 1 for 19 was replaced at the up hill end by Steve Blandford who these days bowls robbers mask eroding as spin.Needless to say he provided the champagne moment when a batsman tried to smash him through mid wicket and was deceived by the lack of quality of the ball and skied in towards a gently snoozing Mo. screams of catch it woke our Grocer of note and he sprinted in and took the catch at knee height ! Fantastic cricket?
Skipper GT replaced CD and duly confirmed the golden arm theory with a wicket off his 4th ball, well caught behind by the ever ready Noel. Steve finished with 2 for 33 off his 5 and GT a creditable 3 for 23 off his 3.4 overs.
All together a good performance in very difficult climatic conditions.
Please note that all names used in the production of this document  are factual and will not protect the innocent!