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.