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…

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