In May 2014 Dubai lost one of its real characters, Simon Fowler, who passed away at the much-too-early age of just 53. Cricketer, rugby player, cyclist, guitarist, businessman, and above all a great family man, Simon devoted much of his time to raising money for charity through his band Suburban Voodoo, and coaching youngsters at his beloved sport of cricket. Cricket was so dear to him that Simon and his wife Dee named their two daughters Lara and Courtney, after two famous West Indian cricketers.
Simon played for Darjeeling Cricket Club for over 20 years, and to honour his memory and support his favourite cause, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSE), we staged a 24-hour Cricket Marathon on November 20-21, 2014. This calendar forms part of the overall effort, and was inspired by the calendar of Extreme Cricket produced by Threlkeld Cricket Club in England’s Lake District to raise funds for repairs to their ground after it was devastated by floods.
Chris Dommett and Nick Harvey being interviewed in the lead up to the Darjeeling CC 24 Hour Cricket Marathon
In the Test Match Special Radio commentary box are several well-known cricket commentators
“Welcome everyone! Richie Benaud (much missed) here in the box and It’s a lovely day at the ICC, the sun is shining not a cloud to be seen”
Tony Greig (not so much missed) -“ Richie you f**kwit we’re in Dubai, there’s never an f’n cloud in the sky!”
Darjeeling skipper Ben Jones won the toss and elected to bat
Henry Blofield… “ my dear old thing, that’s hardly surprising, it’s awfully warm out there!”
From the off Pete Kesby (30) caressed the ball to all parts including rather too well to mid-off causing Potty to be run out from a direct hit.
Richie now joined in the box by (wish he bloody would go missing) Geoffrey Boycott… “ trifle unlucky there I thought Geoffrey?”
Geoffrey… “bloody stupid!” My granny could have turned and got back quicker than that!”
An over or so later Kesby played a shot of such magnificence that David Gower would have creamed himself.
Blowers … “He’s batting like a millionaire… oh dear … hope I haven’t jinxed him… Ashiq comes into bowl its short, he cuts and oh dear…he’s out, caught at cover at the second attempt”
Geoffrey… “ that’s just bloody roobbish is that! My mum would have sent that to Abu Dhabi with a stick of Rhubarb!”
Glenn McGrath (yes we had the delights of old 5-0 himself in the radio test match special box this year) “Shut the fack up Boycott you old fart. You couldn’t hit a fackin football with your bat!” at this point a fight breaks out (though Geoffrey normally only hits his female partner) and Boycs is arrested resulting in TMS temporarily taken off air!
After the loss of 2 early wickets order was restored by Jacques (30) and Shugi (30 and a few)who batted brilliantly, running well between the wickets and dispatching every bad ball (there were a few) to the boundary.
At drinks, Darjeeling had smashed their way to 100ish for 2 (or something like that as its quite difficult to tell from the scorebook). After the much needed drinks break with skipper Jones urging his men on to greater things, play resumed…
4 balls later Darjeeling were 2 further wickets down…
Jaques bowled off his elbow… TMS back on air
Richie … “trifle unlucky there I thought?”
Very much adored if a bit clichéd Lancastrian, David “Bumble Lloyd… “that’s gotta hurt!”.
1 ball later…
Richie… “Masood, he’s a bit quicker through the air than you think, bowls, big shout, looks pretty straight to me… and he’s given him”.
Glenn covered in bruises from Geoffrey assaulting him earlier… “Looked fackin plumb to me! What the hell did they put in the fackin drinks?”
So a rescue act was called for and Darjeeling had just the man to do it, Saffer Viv (47 not out) and boy was it some rescue.
Tony … “This boy can smash it f’n miles” and so he did including one straight six that nearly killed a man in Sharjah.
Henry “He hit that one like a kicking horse, jolly good shot”.
In company with Shugi initially then with Jules (16 not out), Viv’s pyrotechnics got Darjeeling up to a more than competitive 172 for 5 off their 20 overs. Strangely on Shugi’s dismissal the match umpire limped off to get some pads on…
Much missed by all Yorkshiremen and pipe smokers Fred Trueman… “I just don’t know what’s going off ‘ere, I’ve never seen the like?” Fortunately the umpire was not required to sally forth to the wicket
Richie… “So Danish (Kaneiria) how do you think this one will go”
Danish… “Certain win for Wombats, I told the umpire exactly how many wides to give and which balls and”…. Short silence…” I think I just gave the game away didn’t I Richie?” Two men with handcuffs appear in the box to take Danish away!
The Wombats innings began with Viv opening from the football pitches end.
Glenn… “He’s fackin quick this bloke. If the Wombats opener got any closer to the square leg umpire he’d be taking one up the rear from him”
Blowers… “Yes indeed Glenn old boy, he bowls like the wind. Would you like another piece of chocolate cake?”
Geoffrey now out on bail… “Yea good idea, that’ll shut the stupid Aussie up will cake!” He’s not quick, now that Lillee and Thompson they were quick!”
Richie.. “ er Geoffrey… Didn’t you retire for a while when they were at their peak?” There is silence in the box …
And indeed Viv was fackin quick. Quickest thing this correspondent has seen for a while at club level. Even Omar, a fine player who has put Darjeeling to the sword on more than one occasion looked a trifle nervous. Viv and Shugi, slightly quicker than slow left arm, strangled the Wombats innings at birth. Although there were no early wickets, there weren’t many early runs either Viv going for just 5 off his 2 overs. Shugi was particularly unlucky having three chances missed including two in consecutive balls. Viv nearly getting a wicket from Jacques attempt at clawing in a full blooded hook shot from Omar
Richie.. “that was a trifle unfortunate for the bowler there..”
Tony.. “Well that’s a disaster! I just hope it doesn’t come back to haunt them… When you’ve got these boys down you’ve got to make them grovel!”
Jules was introduced into the attack and in his first over strayed a bit in line to allow the shackles to be released with 3 leg side 4’s but soon regained control in partnership with Krish who apart from a couple of wides found a lovely rhythm at a decent pace. At drinks despite no wickets down the Australian marsupials were miles behind the asking rate.
Bumble… “Bit of scoreboard pressure out there now ‘Enry?”
Blowers… “My dear old thing I do wish you’d stop talking exclusively in clichés but I know what you mean.”
Drinks worked their usual magic and in the first over after Jules induced the opener with an unpronounceable name to sky one to via his shoulder and head to Potty behind so at last a breakthrough.
Bumble.. “ that’s got to hurt!” Blowers… “ Oh for f***s sake Bumble, no more clichés!”
Sat 26th @ ICC
A humid and a bit unpleasant but not that bad evening greeted DCC on Saturday for the match against the unusually named Dubai Mammoths.
Skipper for the day Ash duly won the toss or invoked the 1st rule and DCC went in to bat. Jono and Watto opening up for the home side on what can only be described as a bit of a sticky wicket. Watto later claiming it reminded him of an English pitch in March.
DCC started well enough, not so many off the middle but runs nonetheless until Watto was bowled by Anil for 15 off 13 deliveries, Darjeeling 1/32 in the 5th over.
Rhys next in to bat putting on a 56 in 8 overs with Jono before he departed caught for 30 off 34 deliveries, the highlight being a 6 over deep extra cover. Darjeeling 2/88 in the 13th.
Jono joined at the crease by Lloydy, the former looking like he wasn’t sure whether to call for oxygen or water. A mini assault ensued with the score quickly moving to 125 in the 17th before Jono was run out for a well compiled 62 off 40 odd balls.
A couple of tidy overs from the Mammoth’s kept the scoring down over the last 3, DCC ending up 3/143 off the allotted 20. Julius 10 not out off 13 balls and Lloydy 16 from 16.
There was some debate as to the legitimacy of this being a decent score, the camp split over the pitch conditions v’s it’s just not enough farking runs.
With the pitch holding up a bit Ash opened the bowling with Nathan Williams who bowled some tidy inswingers and had the batsmen in all sorts of trouble. At one stage boasting figures of 0/1 off 2 overs with the lone run being a wide (ending up with 0/24 from 4).
Shugy opening with spin from the other end, first ball had the opener back in the pavilion with Jono taking a sharp one handed catch in slips diving away to his right. Very un-Darjeeling like. Shugy also taking another in his next over with the other opener caught at point and ending with impressive figures of 2/13 off 4.
Shugy and Williams in tandem reducing the opposition to 2/4 in 4 overs. DCC were smelling blood and the run rate spiralling.
This bought the batting pair of Sunil (18 off 21) and Jawed (44 off 40) together, Sunil in particular playing some inventive shots, the inside edge, the outside edge, the French cut, all to effect. When Julius was bought on and dispatched for 6 straight back over his head Sunil had indeed shown us his full array, the latter surprising nobody more than himself.
At drinks the oppo 3/49 needing about a hundred from the last 10 and hadn’t shown much with the bat to this point. 3/49 quickly turned to 5/76, with a wicket to Reece (1/31 off 4) and probably the run out of the century pulled off by Krish and yours truly (not really but need to get a mention in my own report). Oppo 5/81 in the 15th and needing a shade over 10 an over.
From here things got interesting, Shadab and Saqlain smashing the ball to and over the fence with regularity. Rama bearing the brunt of this going for around 20 from his one over and Ash 1/19 off his two.
With the runs required quickly dwindling Saqlain was removed by a fantastic running and diving catch in the outfield by Reece (I think he took 2 good catches from memory), DCC given a sniff with Saqlain departing for 25 off 12 balls.
2 overs to go, 15 needed, Lloydy on to ball. First ball… got ‘im well bowled. The over eventually going for 9 runs leaving 6 to get from the last over.
Julius entrusted with the last over, the dangerous Shadab at the non strikers end, Mammoths 7/138 needing 6 to win.
Wicket first ball, 8/138 shadab still at non strkers end.
The remaining balls went something like, 2, wide, dot, wide, 1, 4 with Saqlain hitting the winning runs off the penultimate ball.
On the surface it may seem like DCC snatching defeat from the jaws of victory however I suspect the oppo reversed the batting order to keep us in it…
Saqlain man of the match for his 37 from 12 balls.
Given that Darjeeling Cricket Club seem to be as diverse as the Japanese Rugby team, and in honour of their superb victory over the Springboks last night, it only seems right to write this report as an ode to the Japs (apologise if the use of the word ’Jap’ is derogatory – my grandfather who fought in Burma for 3 years in WWII had far worse descriptions….anyway back to the match report)
Not since Pearl Harbour had the Darjeeling boys put out such a controlled tactical operation beginning with the ruthless (yet standard) toss win….yes you guessed it…..we were to bat first. Wattos San and Rhys San were due to open the batting, but Watto San was too busy finishing off his tempura and Sushi and Rhys San took a little longer than expected ’finishing’ off his last client….so Imperial leader Houghton San demoted them down the order. In stepped Last Samurai Potti San – who some could say looked a little ’spyish’ in his loyalty to the imperial Empire of Japan and Houghton San. Potti San soon confirmed suspicions, when he was run out for a brief 7 – Kamakazi in nature going for second. In stepped Rees San who started taking the attack to the boks, pushing them further out of their comfort zone, inching forward with every boundary. Sensing a spy in the midst Rees San was stumped for a solid 46 and showing his loyalty to the empire launched his bat in his ’follow through’ towards the square leg empire narrowly missing Potti San…..(the empire salutes you brave warrior).
Watto San energised by his prematch tempura and sushi added 20 more with our Imperial leader Houghtan San….before our leader was caught for a solid 36. Watto San soon followed – run out, despite the indigestion pushing right to the end.
The final 3 overs saw the very quick departures of Harry San committing Harakiri for being out for a duck, Mooney San, Rhys San, Rachitt San and Ram San (Ram San…I like that) contributing a mere 14 in the last 3.
The imperial empire finished the 20. 142 was the score to defend. A below par score, the boks fancied their chances, and given the empires recent performances in the field this could prove too small a score to defend. But game on…..
Mooney San and Ram San opened up the bowling keeping it very tight. Ram san got the breakthrough in his second over, Samurai style swing (ok low full toss on leg) middled to Potti San at square leg – who thought about dropping it, even parrying it up in the air to contemplate whether he wanted to be exposed as a spy….taking a fantastic catch….Mooney San bowled out – finishing his 4 overs for 20 runs. Ram San – 3 Overs, 1 wicket for 23. Rhys San and Rachitt San took over duties both bowling controlled line and length each ball building more and more pressure on the bocks. Rhys San – the pick of the bowlers picking up 3 for 21 of his 4 and Rachitt San a very noteworthy 2 for 17 of 3. Some extraordinary catching behind the timpers from Harry San and another great take in the deep by Potti San supporting the boys.
Rees San – bandana and all was given the nod for one quick over – and after nearly exploding like Mount Fuji at Brent San for a dropped catch picked up a quick wicket….The pressure overs were given to Rich San – (like his cousin in arms Rees San – Rich San donned the bandana of war…)and Brent San. Rich San kept it tight – well the bowling part – work behind the stumps was interesting to say the least – especially when his started doing what going only be described as a Polynesian mating ritual dance behind the stumps when backing up….Imperial leader – not impressed. Brent San – forgot to take off his Samurai war wig to bowl, but somehow it stayed on, and this was a good move as by this time they were running scared….Like Potti San – Brent San was of on the raider of Imperial Leader Houghton San prior to the game as a possible infiltrator – but like Potti San….they soon realised that the pull of the Imperial Empire of Japan Darjeeling was just too strong and loyalties soon moved.
Brent San, finishing off 2 for 20 of his 3 – again aided by some superb handling behind the sticks by Harry San.
Darjeeling had done it….pulled off the impossible and left the game favourites crying into their bunny chow. Superb military tactics in the field had led the way to a closely fought victory by just 11 runs.
The thirsty troops all retired to the Dojo (Kickers) where we all clinked glasses in celebration – Kanpai!!!
As two members part our shore…
Characters for which there is much rapport,
A farewell fixture was held…
During which many folk excelled.
In the most part cricket was unrelated…
As Freddie the funnel kept us hydrated,
GT’s chosen men marched out…
Receiving many an early shout.
Umpire Drummond duly obliged…
To certain men’s surprise.
Unhappy mutterings from the fence…
His twitchy finger made matters tense.
Each player with 15 balls to face…
Dawson’s opener claimed a brace,
As Boin’s team turned the screw…
The oppo enjoyed more home brew.
Eventually the run rate increased…
Well the scoreboard said so at least,
Setting a formidable 224…
Really quite a total to score.
Thankful for Kymbo in a charitable mood…
For in his opener 32 accrued,
“Take a blow” his captain said…
For fine leg he willfully fled.
Just the 14 fielders to beat…
In an attempt to avoid defeat,
Boin inspired us with his chat…
Past the total did we bat.
Despite Boin the victorious departee…
Cricket won we’d all agree,
Roasted all day in the heat…
We retreated to the changing room suite.
So many men on one knee…
“Please no Jack Daniels” they did plea,
The next concoction down the hose…
Shamefully drenching Darjeeling clothes.
Then Shugie took the plunge…
On one knee did he lunge,
The technique was one to forget…
With OJ was he wet.
The speeches were all going so well…
With fond memories did we dwell,
Reminiscing of past ways…
As some eyes began to glaze.
Step up professional speaker…
Or rather attention seeker,
Tom , Tom, Tom, Tom the speech did go…
If only someone struck him a blow.
The refreshments did not stop there…
As the evening events were laid bare.
To some establishment did we flock…
Might as well have been Bangkok.
We wish Boin and GT goodbye…
For home soil they do fly,
Enjoy England’s finest dross…
Perhaps one day you’ll hit a full toss!
The Dubai Despatch, May 10, 2015
Yesterday’s events provided a quite stunning contrast to the previous Saturday’s dry run (which favoured the Tories), with a recently-cobbled-together Coalition of the Swilling (led, would you believe, by a Plaid Cymru representative!) prevailing in the Election Edition of the Desert Derby, throwing the psephologists into predictable disarray.
Yes, Cameron’s Conservative Cannons lost comprehensively (by 10 seats) to a resurgent alliance led from the front by Jon “Toothy Ed” Houghton and James “Cleggie” Smibert, with tacit support from the Irish (Rob Weir, back in Malahide for the washed-out one-dayer) and even the Scots (Chris Bridle, last seen repairing to the Sturgeon & Roe for a wee dram a few months ago).
Both teams seemed to have made equally concerted efforts to broaden their appeal to the minority, immigrant and Kolpak constituencies in an effort to capture the swing vote, with the Conservatives fielding Khalid, Mirza, Vincent and Coles, while the National Coalition offered up Banerjee, Moses, Blignaut and deBeer.
On to the details, then… the toss went the Tories’ way and they decided to bat first, opening with Cameron (of course!) and Thomas. The Coalition opened with Blignaut and MacFadyen, then Cook and Rees once the field was out, all bowling well enough to keep the flood at bay but never really threatening, and at the 10-over break the Cannons were 74/0, Cam dropped at 8 by Dannie as Cook’s low, full pie was driven firmly but airily to mid-off, mistaken for a bump ball, attempted (with resultant bruising) and parried overhead to the fence.
Meanwhile the long-awaited crate of water had arrived to provide succour at the break, and so had the Conservatives’ support, well-distributed across the key demographics: infants, women and seniors.
102 ensued off the bottom ten but so did 6 wickets, evening things out somewhat. Thomas departed in the 14th after a good opening stand of 111, well caught at long on by a sliding Houghton off Cook for an adventurous 49 off 40 (5×4, 2×6), even as Shep hopped in the heavens above.
Skipper Bradstock came in next, stroked the ball around well (that bat looks quite special) while Cameron continued to hit well-timed shots to all parts, particularly severe on Banerjee (who put the liberal in LibDem) starting with a few pies, then offering up kebabs and finally fish & chips, his trifecta of take-aways put away for 32 off 2 before asking the skipper Rees to take him off, lack of nets having palpably affected length and bowling form.
But there was a twist in the tale yet, Houghton brought on to bowl, taking 4-11 off his two! First the dangerous Coles holing out to Jamie at cow corner off a first-ball full toss for an effervescent 76 off 54 (6×4, 3×6), then the hamstrung Khalid caught by Blikkies in similar fashion, then Bradstock caught by Ash at point off a swirling top edge for 27 off 11, then Taylor went just as Coles did, and in a couple of overs the complexion of the innings had changed (much like London) even as Curtis went lbw to Rees for a first-ball duck (Adair, umpiring, giving the benefit of the doubt to the bowler), and the Conservatives finished on a possibly sub-par 178/6 despite a brief late flurry from Mellor with support from Lazarus.
Blignaut 4-23-0, MacFadyen 4-41-0, Cook 4-23-1, Rees 4-46-1, Banerjee 2-32-0, Houghton 2-11-4, not a single maiden bowled.
At the half-way mark the Conservatives might have felt they had secured enough, based on recent evidence, while the Coalition thought they’d shown good Labour form by fielding well in the Shires and were in with a chance.
And so it came to pass that Cleggie and Toothy Ed were nominated to lead the chase from the front, while bowling duties were entrusted to Taylor and Bain.
Taylor was accurate but predictable from the Academy End, while Bain from Bradenton North was brisk but wayward, profligate with the Dukes and going for 19 off his first and 25 off the second as the openers cashed in with some well-played drives and deflections for boundaries, 61 coming off the first 4, helped along by extras as well for as good a start as the Coalition has ever enjoyed.
This prompted a change in the Conservatives’ strategy, with the spin doctors Mellor and Adair pressed into service for the last two overs of the powerplay, but to no avail as the buffet bowling continued and the batsmen feasted, the Coalition 80/0 off the first 6.
The batsmen looked firmly in control and a sense of comfortable smugness seeped into the hutch, with the immigrants Moses and Banerjee placidly ensconced in the bosomy embrace of the welfare state, suckling contentedly on the twin teats of Healthcare (cigarettes) and Benefits (water) while the Kolpaks ran the scorebox, Nigel foraged fruitlessly in South Thanet and a distant David Dimbleby allegedly exclaimed “for God’s sake” when he thought the cameras were off.
As the field went out the scoring rate normalised somewhat, with the Coalition 109/0 at drinks after 10, still well ahead of the ask and the worm looking quite superior on the iPad. The spinners continued as variously Curtis, Lazarus and Mirza were each given a go, Houghton accelerated as he tired, peppering the Academy with a few sixes, even while Cameron raged against the tide from behind the stumps, attempting to rally the troops in the face of the inevitable. Toothy Ed retorted with “My mum’s French,” putting to rest any doubts about Britain’s future in the EU. The Scots didn’t rate a mention despite Cameron’s former cricketing connections to the land of single malts, kilts, haggis and em, Hogmanay.
It was all over four balls into the 16th, with Smibert (67 off 50, 8×4, 1×6) and Houghton (88 off 48, 10×4, 4×6) having batted really, really well (Cleggie’s Chinese cuts notwithstanding, perhaps an acknowledgement of the Met Ball’s theme this year?) for a fine 10-wicket win, long overdue against the Cannons.
Taylor 2-12, Bain 2-44, Mellor 3-18, Adair 4-24, Curtis 1.4-10, Lazarus 2-12, Mirza 1-3, no maidens or wickets.
A good day out for some, and all repaired to Kickers for a pint or two (“we don’t do champagne these days, you know”) and bit of post-match socialising. After his exertions for a Man of the Match performance, Houghton resorted to caloric compensation via cheesy fries, a hot dog bigger than its bun, and a chicken salad, all of which were pronounced tasteless but useful under the circumstances, much like this match report.