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!