Saturday the 8th November saw a rare opportunity for the mighty DCC to play their first game in the Dubai International Cricket stadium, against a travelling “Over 50’s” Touring 11.
DCC were in high hopes and full of energy prior to the game with a decent bowling and batting side out for the day. Amazingly there didn’t seem to be a hangover in site, not surprising as Jono and Gully were not available – could be some debate that Dave Rees migraine was a hangover left over from the KP Gala dinner a couple of nights before…but more on that later. Photos were taken and given the venue our captain for the day decided to be the gentleman and allow the opposition to bat first (not that he was given much of a choice).
Darjeeling took to the 25,000 seater stadium to a stunned silence – shock – the stadium was empty….I personally blame the committee for this…..I had a call from the Sports City that 20,000 supporters were queuing outside the stadium the next day to watch up play….somehow they got the wrong date!!
Mooney opened up the bowling and snatched the first wicket of the game on his 5th ball, actually a rubbish ball that the batsman cut to the fielder of the day – Mr Smibert. Saint Jame Grisdale opened from the other dessert end – James bowled a tight spell but finished wicket less after his 3. The on field captain Harvey opted for a little more variety and brought on first changes Banerjee and himself. Nick was very unlucky not to snare a wicket in his first over – a top edge (ok maybe not that lucky it was a rank full toss) just evaded Mitchell in the covers. Banerjee looked sharp from the start with his first ball bamboozling the oppo batsman…Harvey deservedly got a wicket in his 3rd over thanks to a superb bit of keeping from Domminator. Ash finished off wicketless which was unlucky as he bowled pretty well all day (6 overs for 28). (Nick – 4 overs 1 for 18)
Rees then came to the mark post drinks – despite a broken finger and not shutting up about his hero KP who broke his finger – he bowled a pretty tight six overs – but as is so often the case in cricket his worse ball of the day was his first wicket…a sharp catch from Dommett behind the stumps…Dannie bowled his next victim and finished with very respectable figures of 6 over – 2 wickets – for 18 runs. From the other despite a pretty haphazard first over Mitchell completed 3 over for 13 runs. Mooney came back on for a second spell and snared his second wicket – removing (yes removing) the middle stump much to the delight of his 15 month old son sitting in the “crowds” – ok he had no idea what was going on. Mooney finished up with 5 over 3 maidens, 2 for 10….To finish up proceedings Potti came on for a quick cameo and Grisdale finished up bowling spin and snared a beauty -Nick said “we need to let them get a few more runs on the board so we actually can bat for a bit” Famous last words.
For once the fielding from DCC was very good and there were a lot of acrobatics in the field – most notably Smibert with a sublime direct hit run out. However Extras were the second top scorer with 36 (11 byes, 4 Leg byes and a disgraceful 21 wides)
After a Dubai Sports City lunch – actually not too bad – the crowd in the stadium doubled with the arrival of the Grisdale clan….and Darjeeling were in full confidence that despite a slow and low wicket we would have no issues knocking off the 143 required to win.
De Bonville and Smibert opened up and looked classy, driving beautifully and running well between the wickets…DeBonville then got a little complacent and tried to drill one out of the stadium only to be stumped with a ball going down leg for 7. Not to worry surely…we still had some very good batsman to come. Potti was in next but was bowled for 5. Brown and Dommett were soon back in the padock after been triggered LBW….They were not happy about these decisions……..Smibert too was stumped soon after – achieving a second top score of 19.
Saint James was the only man who produced the goods for us…scoring a St James style fifty….Harvey kept him company for a little but was soon triggered LBW for 7, Banerjee was next in and played some lovely strokes for his 9 (that almost sounds like an Oxymoron) – Ash was very quick to point out in the changing room that he made a 50 partnership with Gris….sadly the end of Ash came about, bamboozled by a double bouncing long hop….
Mooney came in next at 9, and quickly saw Grisdale retired for 50 (rubbish rule) – With the new man Dannie Dave Rees (My bat cost 400 pounds chat) and Mooney out in the middle there was a little hope, however hope was diminished when Dannie was bowled first ball….Moony being the genius he is then ran out poor Mitchell for 1. However all was not lost, Grisdale was allowed back in…with about 26 needed of 4 could DCC change their losing streak and finally win won….? That was answered 2 balls later when Mooney was stupidly lured into a Badger style sky ball only to be stumped. Darjeeling had lost by 26 runs…
All in all a great day out at the stadium and one I am sure we will always remember. Maybe some debatable umpiring decisions and certainly a dreadful deck were in play…but that as they say is Cricket!