DCC vs Loose Cannons – G Turner Esq

A surprising start to this grudge match against arguably our biggest cricketing rivals in the current Era , Loose Cannons. 11 Darjeeling players turn up on time and not  a hangover to be seen. Of course Gulli played the day before so that may have had something to do with it!

Skipper Ash disappeared with their skipper Bradders and duly won the toss and of course Darjeeling elected to bat first in a match designated as 25 overs per side.

Ash instructed Brandon and Tom to open followed by our resident chirpy person Danny in at 3. A few photographs of the intrepid opening pair were taken [to follow] and off they strode into the glorious sunshine. About this time a stranger came amongst us and enquired  if Brandon was out in the middle as he had been hearing great things about his recent batting performances. We confirmed that he was indeed out  there and joked that he had probably evoked the great cricketing gods to smite Brandon down!

The Cannons had to start without their regular openers as they had arrived late so a large bearded chap with a famous cricketing name , Gower , was asked to bowl the first over. He duly trotted in and Brandon was hit by the cricketing gods bolt of lightning  and he was bowled neck and crop for a super golden duck! His mate chuckled as Brandon swore and cussed his way off the field to be replaced by Danny. Not the start skipper Ash had envisaged!

Danny patiently played out the rest of the over which included more than  a few wide’s  but it seemed that the normally placid ICC pitch had developed demons and the ball was moving via the seam as well as rearing off just short of a length. Batting was extremely hard work and the old sages of DCC where predicting that 180 would be a good score on “this” sort of track. So much for being an old sage!

Tom finally connected with a few deliveries and had just hit a glorious 6 when Gower nipped one back a shade and it was au revoir to Boinville for 12.

Chris the dominator  was promoted in order to “steady” the good ship Darjeeling, as skipper Ash tried to second and third guess how events would unfold. Even at this stage he was planning his opening bowling attack! Now that is forward thinking !

Chris certainly steadied the ship and was extremely patient whilst at the other end Danny slowly started to find his touch and timing. Chris was bowled for 7 by a ball that shot along the floor and he  queried on his return to the sidelines just how much DCC had paid for such a cow patch of a track!! It did not look good for Darjeeling and that 180 seemed a long way away.

What happened next? Did the pitch suddenly put the demons away? Did the ball get soft or was the quality of the support bowlers merely not up to much? I prefer to say that through patience and application Danny and Israr  built their respective innings in a way we always have to do on pitches found particularly in the UK. At this stage respect was shown to the good ball whilst the over pitched or short delivery was dispatched to the boundary with panache and grace and often with pure brute force!

Experienced bowlers like Moxey and Bradstock where simply hammered off the park and only Sameer with 0 for 23 off his 5 overs came off the pitch without having received a beasting! Danny batted beautifully for his 73 before being superbly caught out to give Gower his third wicket of the innings. Andrew Tavare  strode in with the clear intent of giving Israr the strike and how beautifully it worked. Israr simply demolished whichever bowler was asked to do battle with him and he  raced to his 100 before skying a catch that was well held by that man Gower.

So instead of the disastrous score predicted by the sages we finished with 239 for 6 off our 25 overs. If any sub continental chap had had a wager on that score after ten overs surely he would have lost his shirt??

Ash gave the boys a pep talk on the pitch, reminding every man jack of us that we had to do the basics well and that if we did surely we would win. Sounds easy I guess but……..

Opening with Etienne and Julius it started well with again a bit of extra bounce and the odd ball moving off the seam DCC had a tremendous spirit in the field and Cameron Coles batting against his former club found the going particularly tough. It was his partner Taylor who fell first , admirably walking having gloved a  cracking Julius delivery to the safe hands of the Dominator having scored 23. Richard Bradstock entered the fray and in his usual fashion started to dominate the bowlers and with Coles built a fast scoring partnership before Coles fell to Israr for 26.

Gower strode to the crease looking for all the world like he was a farmer in a Thomas Hardy novel and sure enough swung  the bat with great gusto. For the first time DCC where a little rattled as skipper Ash rotated his bowlers seeking a breakthrough. Although the bowling at this point was generally tight , with Jamie having 2 overs for 24 , Ash bowling his first 2 overs for 16 the scoreboard continued to click around even though DCC felt in charge of the match . When the next wicket fell it was an unlikely scenario of Bradders pushing to mid-on  and seeing it was me fielding there  set off for the single. Little did he know that years of playing darts on a Manchester board meant I was able to hit double top from 3 yards and Bradders was a goner! Drinks where taken and DCC at this stage looked favorites  to end the recent run of defeats to Cannons.

Dannie replaced Ash and I replaced Israr who finished with a creditable 1 for 40 off his 5 overs. Dannie bowled his first over for only 6 runs and when Israr took a great catch off my bowling to snare Gower in an over that only went for 4 runs it was smiles all round for DCC.

That is of course when the cricketing gods reappeared and decided to change the whole course of the game! Danny went for 15 in his next over and even worse Sameer took 22 off my next over and the momentum suddenly was with the cannons.

Ash desperately tried to re organize  the troops when Tom had to retire with a hamstring injury but Sameer was in irrepressible form smashing various bowlers to all corners of the ground and in particular straight and high and hard!!

The fact that the match went to the 4 th. ball of the last over suggests that WE  did fight until the very end and that generally the bowling was controlled and straight. The fielding was generally good and the spirit remained high throughout. However when a guy is batting like Sameer was , supported admirably by Anderson , sometimes , just sometimes , you have to admire what the opposition has done rather that beat yourself up over what we might have done differently.

tienne and Julius both strove at the end to keep Sameer under control, but he kept smashing the ball skywards and unfortunately never once close to hand!

So did we snatch defeat from the jaws of victory ? Did we collectively let skipper Ash down when the going got tough? In my view the answer is a definitive NO. Simply one man took the game away from us in the same way Isrars   innings ensured we were in the match in the first place.

Ash skippered the side well and he was supported by all the lads and especially Chris behind the sticks.

For me  one of the best games I have played in at the ICC since we started playing there , played in a great spirit with both sides fully committed to paying hard but fair.

As for the track? It looked a  dog but 480 runs in 50 overs suggests that in spite of  having played cricket for over 40 years this Sage knows Jack!!!

Roll on bowling at SES I say!!,

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Friday 16th May – words by Andrew “Tavare” Laing

In the second millennium, the world changed. Climate, nations, the ICC, all were in upheaval. The Earth transformed into a poisonous, scorched desert, known as “The Cursed Earth”. Millions of people crowded into a few Megacities, where roving bands of IPL cricketers and Internet Bookies created chaos the ICC could not control. Cricket Law, as we know it, collapsed. From the decay rose a new order, a society ruled by a new, elite force. A force with the power to dispense both justice and punishment. They were the police, jury and executioner all in one. They were the Judges of Darjeeling.

Greetings, puny Earthlets!

Yes, it is I, Tharg the Magnificent, who has returned to your solar system to grace you with more tales of the Judges of Darjeeling. The Scorer Droids were particularly busy this weekend recording the spectacular displays of the Judges of Darjeeling and I give fair warning that what you are about to read will strike fear into the hearts of bowlers everywhere.

Engage your circuits and prepare for sensory overload…  And so it came to pass that the Judges of Darjeeling travelled to the dry, barren wastes of Sharjah English School to lay down the law against the Sixers. As per usual, some of the Judges arrived slightly worse for the wear, Judges Gully, Joey and Brownie having just come off their night shift at Rock Bottom and assorted other trouble spots. There was a serious lack of interest in assuming the role of Chief Judge for the game and somehow, I, Tharg the Mighty, was elected Chief Judge. After surveying the team list and soundly cursing the Selector Droids for picking a team with 9 bowlers and 2 batsman, I wandered across to converse with the Captain of the Sixers. After unsuccessfully trying to invoke Darjeeling Rule 1 (Darjeeling shall Bat First), I resorted to having to just win the coin toss (with a few Betelguesen Mind Tricks being very helpful here) and Darjeeling batted first anyway. Darjeeling Rule 2 (Judges Brownie and Houghton shall open the batting) was invoked with just one small change as Judge Houghton was still on injury leave after his hand was hurt in an assault by a Lebo Street Gang during a recent Block Riot.

Judges Brownie and Blikkies (both recent centurions for Darjeeling) opened the batting with the stern words of Tharg ringing in their ears “Make sure you stick around, we do not have a deep batting order today”. Little did I know what I had started…

Judge Brownie started confidently, hitting boundaries seemingly at will while at the other end Judge Blikkies looked distinctly out of sorts. Eventually Judge Blikkies fell in the line of duty, bowled for 9 (1 x 4) after a 60 run partnership for the 1st Wicket. Judge Brownie meanwhile kept normal services running, bashing boundaries all over the place. This bought Judge Dominator to the wicket who also seemed to be playing on a different pitch to Judge Brownie. Dominator was soon out, Caught for 5 for a 30 run partnership for the 2nd wicket. And Judge Brownie kept rolling on, banging boundaries like he was downing Bull Frogs at Rock Bottom. Judge Gully was in next (yes, he was batting at number 4 – the tail started early that day!). After messing around with some singles, Judge Gully belted a 4 and a 6. He was then immediately bowled through the gate (a Reigellian battle cruiser would have fitted through that gap!) for 14 runs (1 x 4 and 1 x 6) out of a partnership of 51. And yes, Judge Brownie was still going like a Boeing, smashing it all over the park. This bought Judge Julius to the crease where once again, the pitch just seemed to be that much more difficult if your name was not Judge Brownie. Judge Julius hung around in a Tavare-esque fashion for 11 runs Not Out (1 x 4), while (no surprises here!) Judge Brownie kept beating the opposition bowlers like they were red-haired step-children. The Sixers ended up using 9 bowlers with only Sajad being able to stop the flow (2 for 24 off 5 overs), the rest of them were just thrashed around the park.

Judge Brownie ended on a massive 144 Not Out (5 x 6’s, 18 x 4’s = 102 runs in boundaries alone!) – a spectacular performance and one any sane cricketer would happily have paid money to watch. Well done Judge Brownie!!! Your name shall be recorded in the annals of Darjeeling History (now if you would please do something about those holey underpants, we would all feel a lot safer!). Special mention must be made of the second highest scorer in the innings: Extras with 20! Darjeeling closed the innings on 206 for 3 wickers after 22 overs. A worthy score and Tharg was left with a lovely case of pad rash having been due to come in at Number 6.  And now to the bowling. With no less than 9 bowlers available (although Judge Brownie seemed particularly fatigued after his efforts so did not bowl – perhaps he was missing his Bullfrogs), Tharg was spoilt for choice and decided to open with Judges Gully and Blikkies. Judge Gully bowled 4 very respectable overs on the trot and even got a wicket (LBW!!!). He then proclaimed that he would like to finish off his spell of 5 overs without a break saying “I am like the Titanic. Once I get going I am hard to stop”. Here, dear readers, Tharg made his first mistake. And so Gully was given a 5th over which  was duly dispatched for 13 runs. And so Tharg’s 1st Law for Captains has been set: If in doubt, don’t listen to your bowlers!!!.

Judge Blikkies bowled with consistent aggression for his three overs and took two wickets, the key one being the tubby Sixers opening batsman who had started to look dangerous, dispatching 4’s around the park. Thereafter the scorebook is a great mess as the Sixers Scorer Droids had clearly given up the fight. The Sixers never really looked capable of keeping up with the target and quickly fell behind the required run rate. Judges Julius, Rohan and Dave M (1 wicket) all bowled three overs each while Judges Rory and Ross (1 wicket) bowled 2 overs each. Judge Brownie was not to be outdone in the field and contributed to a good run out while Judge Dominator kept well and got a stumping. Judge Joey (imagine a recently shaved Chewbacca coming off a long run up and you will not be far off) also got one over at the close and got his maiden wicket for Darjeeling in his very first appearance. Sixers ending on 153 for 7 off 22 overs giving Darjeeling the win by 53 runs.  I would like to say that we all went for drinks afterwards but Judges Gully, Joey and Brownie all went for a “tactical nap” that turned into a permanent one and so the planned party felt flat…