Darjeeling v Abu Dhabi Gents by Matt Peet

2018-01-06 18.22.54
The venue was the illustrious Sheikh Zayed Stadium, ordinarily a batting road for test match players, but the groundsman had seen fit to prepare a green top for the two English teams facing off, and a slightly longer format of 25 overs.
George Hellyeah was skipper and immediately told everyone it was his first match skippering, but after that, picked up his team speech and ended strongly. The general plan was to set an off side field and bowl outside off stump.
The Abu Dhabi openers were quite contrasting  styles. Garth was a trying to nudge it around and the other chap, “Dasher” was swinging from the hip at everything. Matt Jacob was expensive for his first two overs whilst Shehan exerted lots of control. That being said by over 4 we had managed to work out Dashers penchant for the lofted drive, set the long on fielder accordingly,  and he duly delivered it straight to the fielder.
However the skipper considered that to be a lucky wicket and so Matt was taken off and Krishna was brought on. Krishna bowled very well and got a decent amount of swing, finishing with 1 for 17 off his 4 over spell, snaring Gareth through sheer run pressure. Skip only taking them off in order to keep an over of each of them in reserve for the end
At the other end, Mike Phillips was brought on for Shehan. It was quickly apparent he was struggling  for control as he consistently tossed 2-3 down the leg side every over. A quick word about bowling cross-seam fixed it for him, and he found more consistency. Couple of the shorter balls troubled the batsman, but Nav (the batsman) changed tack and played a variety of late cuts, together with the occasional drive. Mike finished with figures of 4 over for 39 but definitely learnt from his spell against a couple of quality middle order batsman.
The halfway drinks were had, and it was definitely even-stevens between the teams.
Badge was brought on, but the batsmen were well set and played him comfortably, with the second over going for 13, Skip swapped him for Matt Peet, who despite being hit for a six 2nd ball, then snared the wicket of Nick Gray, at long on, with a fine catch by Brendan. However Matt’s 2nd over was awful, with Nav taking a distinct liking to the filth and taking him for 16 runs, finishing with the reverse sweep over the top of short-third-man.
At the other end, replacing Mike Phillips, Jerome came on and bowled well, but was unfortunate not to take the wicket of Shiraz with a bad drop by Matt Peet at Cow Corner.
The skipper made a strong call and brought back Matt Jacob back to replace Mat Peet, for  his second spell. MattyJ delivered excellent results, with a wicket each over.
This was aided by the catch of the match, by Brendan at wide long on, running a good 10 metres, round to straight long on and taking the catch on the run, without stepping over the boundary. I think this was the big wicket of Nav, who finished with a well earnt 60 odd.
From here, Darjeeling were able to put the breaks on Abu Dhabi Gents inning.  With Sheehan and Krishna finishing their spells. Shehan recorded fine  figures of 1 for 29 off his 5 overs and Krishna, the pick of the bowlers, at 1 for 23. The Gents finished with 206 and the general Darjeeling impression was positive that we were going to get these runs.
Nav opened the bowling for the Gents and despite Matt Peet warning the team that he was a good bowler, the gallery was not impressed by the pace. However Sam Jackson recognized the control that Nav bowled with, commenting that he bowled the first over of full away swing, followed by the 2nd and 3rd  over, as back of  a length seaming inwards, towards top of leg stump.
George eventually succumbed to a quality yorker by Nav, losing his middle pole. Jerome came in and looked assured, dishing up regular boundaries. Sam then joined him successfully against the 1st change bowlers, but then got carried away after just missing out on 1 four with a lofted on drive, he swung harder at a low full toss and missed it, losing his middle pole as well.
This brought in Shehan to join Jerome. The Sri Lankan pairing looked comfortable, and took us to the halfway mark, just a bit behind the rate at 78 off 13 overs. That being said, the batsman were well set and the gallery was confident, that with  wickets in hand, we could find the next gear.
However the Gents upped their game, with their bowlers delivering a pinch spell from over 13-17 that saw just 25 runs added. Shehan got out trying to find a boundary, bringing in Brendan WJ. He looked very comfortable at the crease, and after setting himself, he set to the task of boundaries required, scoring a fluent 49 off 30 balls.
With a couple of notably strong heaves to cover corner that comfortably cleared the boundary despite a field set for just such a shot. However once Brendan got out the wheels came off the bus. James slapped his wide half volley straight to wide long off. A bit of wind behind it and might have carried over the boundary as it went really high. Matt Jacob was then clean bowled first ball. Krishan survived the hat-trick, but by only 2 balls before he was bowled, with Matt Peet then going back to his first ball and missing it entirely. Jerome then joined the procession, however he had made a very respectable 53 off 49 balls and anchored the innings.
But that meant the stage was now set for just playing for a bit of pride not to get bowled out. Badger duly delivered as 11 man, not just surviving but swatting a boundary for a strike rate of 200 off his 2 balls, to pick up the spirits of the players.
Darjeeling ended on 165 but he match had been an even contest until deep into the 2nd half.  The Gents had bowled well, with just 9 extras in their 25 overs, and their 1 standout player, Nav, pushing the match in their favour.
There was no man of the match declared for Darjeeling, as there had been good performance by several players on the team: Shehan and Krishan bowling exceptionally well, Brendan WJ for some excellent fielding including 2 catches. Matt Jacob for finishing strongly at the death with the ball. Then Jerome and Brendan WJ both making good runs.
Overall we have something to build on for 2018, the match was played in excellent spirit by both teams, the weather was excellent and beers were had after the match. P.S. if you are playing the next match in Abu Dhabi, pack your cooler bag.

DCC in Al Dhaid – words by Dick BJ

The car washes of Dhaid rarely embody the spirit of the exotic, but 7 km to the south east lies a beautifully green, quaintly rustic cricket field among plantations and gravel plains. It was an all-out, rural affair from the start with early, cunning home ground psychology at play.

Dusk enveloped the setting with flood lights being held back to ensure the Darjeeling wagon train realised it was no longer in glitzy El Dorado. Given James’s recent confessional email about a goat in the desert we feared he may never leave the area.

The captains toss, where adult men embrace their tribal responsibility and flick a piece of metal to decide who throws the ball at whom, was conducted in Dhaid’s muggy Autumn darkness by the light of a cellphone. It was our first loss of the night. The second would be Dexy, who after whistling down half an over of net-practice-like deliveries wounded himself and hobbled off the field to lie next to the boundary rope like a forlorn, beached Salmon.

The floodlights fired to life and with the neatly choreographed exit-right by the pre-game entertainment of five startled, foraging hedgehogs, it was game time. The unique opening bowling combination of Man of the Match, Will Gregori Rasputin Watson (a 4-fer on debut) and the shuffling Badger immediately baffled the opposition. George would later compliment Badger on his unexpected agility-to-weight ratio, an athleticism which may have also confused the batsmen.

As the loping left-arm mystic unleashed pacey, unplayable deliveries from within his ample beard, Badger looped in apparently terrifyingly slow turners. The batsmen capitulated to five down before long. The fielding effort was surprisingly suffocating given the Darjeeling reputation of generosity. Both Dorris and Scott held onto rippers, by our standards, and Ieuan proved a wicket keeping wall. However, there were notable efforts at big-hearted sportsmanship from an unnamed former international scrumhalf and then Ash, curiously, both using the white ball to demonstrate how a fat fledgling pigeon spills from a nest. A mixture of wides and ambitiously contrived overthrows were minor glitches supplementing the rare lusty blows that crept the opposition to 107.

Dorris, apparently still marveling at his catch and contemplating more stomach-crunches in response to witnessing the power of his batting partner’s guns, nudged an early, gentle catch back to the bowler. George continued to slap deliveries around the ground and grumbled like a poked bear at the incessant yodeling of appealing fielders.

The chorus reached its ambitious climax with a howl for LBW as a short, leg-side delivery was slapped for a boundary. George, tiring of the zoologists perpetual mistiming of strokes at the other end of the flat-rolled pitch, and pinching of strike, ran him out shortly before the composed, gentle downhill run with Laird to 107 for victory in the 12th over. George, desperately in need of protein-shakes after his flurry of wicket-to-wicket shuttle sprints avoided the post-expedition debrief at the Irish village. It would have been there he’d have heard the revelation by tribal elder and scorer, Nick, of a corrected mathematical glitch and the Hellyer maiden 50 not out.

Virtuzone GCC Sixes

The weekend of the 10th & 11th of November will see the Virtuzone GCC Sixes arrive at the ICC Academy in Dubai Sports City, for 2 days of fast paced 6 a side cricket.

Team entries are already in from the region, with teams travelling from Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait, many teams from the UAE are also confirmed to enter from Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

This is going to be a fun weekend for all the family, fast paced and exciting cricket, food and plentiful beverages and kids activities throughout the 2 days.

Teams who wish to enter can contact Nathan Cartwright

Al Dhaid road trip – penned by J Houghton

In three cars we made our way down to Al Dhaid to play against our newest opposition against Azamari Cricket Club (including six lads and kit in Mrs Harvey’s’ 4X4)

In short, we had no idea what to expect and as many of you know when you drive out to this part of the world/Sharjah, you feel like you go back in time a little……what I hadn’t expected was to go back to an era akin to those early pioneers of Darjeeling Cricket Club!

The ground is at the end of a dirt track, half a mile off the main road – without the four flood lights rising above the ground, you wouldn’t know it’s there.  The infrastructure consists of four lamp posts, a gen-set in the far corner of the pitch, a couple of very basic looking shower/WC’s and an old Barasti type pavilion (complete with a palm-roof)

The pitch is a grass one, though more like you’re basic rolled mud á la Sharjah Cricket Stadium (and from a distance all thought it concrete), the bounce however, was fairly consistent and the outfield grass was well-mowed and flat.  It’s not a huge ground, larger than Emirates Palace, but smaller than Oval 2 from the ICC.

The opposition were a friendly young bunch, there was a smattering of salwar kameez attired spectators and the Umpire made beautiful efforts of formality with his limited English.

Harvey lost the toss and therefore, had to field – the usual grumbles and expletives were muttered under (and above) the breath….In this, instance – some of this was justified as only Darjeelingites turned up for the game and therefore, a perfect excuse to renegotiate the batting was wasted…………..schoolboy, some might say.

Darjeeling opened with Rikesh, who bowled well (including a cracking first ball in-swinging Yorker) as did his opening partner Brent, who enjoyed an early wicket, but a few poor deliveries and wides kept their score ticking along at 9 an over,  as it did for much of the match.  Harvey & Peet were first and second change and despite a couple of loose ones, both bowled OK but at the half way stage Azmari had lost just one wicket for 80 odd runs.  We then changed ends and Guernsey Kimbo was bought on.

Kimbo later blamed the lights, though the rest of us blamed the long hops, full-tosses and wides as his one and only over leaked 22 runs.  Olly VDB came and bowled well, though was punished in his last over and the remaining overs were bowled out by the remaining overs from Harvey, Rikesh and Brent who all kept the scoring down (though this may have been because their opening bat was completely knackered) with the home side finishing on 183 – 3

Rikesh finishing with 4-0-32-0, Brent: 4-0-21-1, Harvey: 4-0-24-1, Matt: 4-0-39-0 and Olly: 3-0-34-1 – Azmari’s opening bat finishing on 88 n.o.

Azmari apparently, means ‘Tigers’ though I’m not sure in which language.  Darjeeling’s response to the hosts total was barely pussycat.  Though in their defence (as the scorecard won’t) many argued that they struggled seeing the ball with the lights, especially from the left-arm over opener.  Both out openers (Kimbo, 1 – Jono, 3) fell cheaply and when Brent, wasting an opportunity to bat 3 was run out for 2, only the extras were keeping the score ticking along. 

Munish offered some hope, after our newest adoption from the Kuwaiti casuals was caught for 3 (though, I’m sure he made more than that) as did Potty, with the visitors best score (including a first ball six over mid-on) but when they fell for 13 and 24 respectively, the fat lady was already on the team bus with the microphone packed away.  Harvey prolonged the agony for a few overs and enjoyed a decent partnership (relatively not nominally) with Rikesh, but was caught behind for 15.  Thankfully, Rikesh & Matt Peet edging our final total over 100.

Result aside, the match was played in good spirit and only one contested stumping in the second over of the hosts innings resulted in a Darjeeling expletive.

Darjeeling Old Crocs v. Dubai Mammoths (Seniors) – penned by Mr. C. Dommett

The prospect of the club’s first over 35s game in ages (plus beer) attracted stars from far and wide. Mr. N. Williams (Tsar of Moscow) flew in from Azkaban, and yours truly from the cultural deserts of Kuwait. Unfortunately, only one of us survived the rigours of a pre-match session in Bidi’s the day before as the Tsar of Moscow pulled a fetlock rushing to the bar and joined the growing list of late withdrawals. Against doctor’s orders, Mr. R. Khanna (Patron of Putney) bravely decided to risk his dodgy hammie, and completed a less than spry looking XI just before kick off.

In true social cricket fashion we met up for a pre-match beer in Kickers to keep Blikkies company, and then repaired to the pitch where Captain Banerjee (Advisor to Businesses) duly won the toss and elected to bat. Greg and Pottie opened up on a slow, low pitch against some elderly dross, and cruised to 17 in the third over. Greg then got bored and chopped onto his own stumps to his absolute disgust and departed for a swashbuckling 2. Jonesy and Pottie moved the score along nicely to 39 before both departed to innocuous deliveries for 22 and 12 respectively, and after a fluent 8 I joined them, spanking a full toss back to the bowler.

At 58-4 Cookie was joined by the non-injured Nathan (Cartwright) and set about repairing the damage. Dealing mainly in ones and twos (much to Nathan’s delight) they moved the score on to a more respectable 121 before Nathan decided he was done for and capitulated, stumped for 31. The arrival of Mr. Harvey at the wicket prompted an acceleration in the run rate, and after a cautious start even Cookie cut loose. The score raced to 191 with a couple of balls left, at which point Nick was bowled for 31, leaving Etienne to face one ball after warming up with his son for the previous 15 overs. Cookie was undefeated on an excellent 53, with 36 extras contributing to a par score of 193 for 6.

Following current IPL fashion we opened up our bowling with a combination of searing pace (Greg), and mystery spin (Badger). Greg bowled well (4 overs 0-23) but struggled to get the ball above shin height on a dead pitch. In an eventful second over which went for 17, Badger tricked one of their openers into trying to knock the pastry off a tempting steak and kidney, and hit him plum in front. 1-25 off 2 overs for Badger, so he was hauled off and replaced by the far more parsimonious Etienne who bowled well for 0-19 off his 4 overs.

MoM Cookie replaced Greg at the ICC end, and bowled tightly, taking 1-20 from his first 4 overs, aided by a great tumbling catch by Greg in the deep. At the drinks break the Mammoths were 82-2, and needing more than 9 an over, with Nick Harvey replacing Etienne at the Bradenton end. His first over was eventful to say the least, with two sitters dropped by Greg and Badger, a farcical missed run out chance, a run out by Nathan thanks to the mis-named Lucky, and finally a wicket for Nick, bowled all ends up. First ball of his second over was a real jaffa, clipping the top of off stump to leave the Mammoths close to extinction.

However, at the other end, Jonesy decided to make a game of it, getting smacked for 40 from his 3 overs as Ranjit and Sadiq kept the Mammoths in touch with the asking rate. Ash replaced Nick (2-18 from 3) and restored the balance in favour of Darjeeling, having Ranjit caught behind for 40, and bowling the new guy first ball. He finished with an excellent 2-17 off 3 overs, and with about 30 needed from the last 3 in a moment of madness/genius he tossed the ball to Badger. A good catch by Nick and 5 runs later, Mammoths needed 25 from 2, and tight overs from Ash and Cookie left them 17 short with 9 wickets down.

A good win, celebrated in customary style in Kickers afterwards, with the players joined by a number of the younger club members who had been staying hydrated while we sweated our bollocks off. I bade a tearful farewell as I headed back to the airport, but a great weekend catching up with some top chaps.

DCC versus University of East London -15/4/2017 penned by H Moseley

A very hot day at the ICC saw Darjeeling host a talented touring side from the University of East London.

DCC were batting first on an uneven wicket that offered movement for both new ball bowlers and spinners later in the game. Sam Jackson got DCC off to a good start with a string of impressive boundaries through the off side and formed a good 2nd wicket partnership with Watto. Watto, in particular, was eyeing up the 6 over extra cover shot with a success rate of 33% however still remained at the crease courtesy of picking their most limited fielder twice in the deep. Good batting & bad fielding had DCC well placed at 120-1 with Watto (47) and Sam (41) looking set for just the loss of Harry (caught behind for 17).

However, a familiar Darjeeling middle order collapse began with a newly single, resident DCC love rat, Dorris trying to hook a half volley & getting cleaned up, Jono exuding the air of man who would rather be in Rockies getting caught & Muni and Kev both succumbing to the tourist’s version of Badger leaving a middle order scorecard of 3,4,5,4 and followed up by Rohan running himself out without facing a ball for a duck (surely a dick of the day moment!?). Big Mikey hit a few boundaries and was not aided much by Matt Peet who seemed to be a specialist in picking the fielders – all in all DCC closed on a sub par 175 off 25 overs.

Being the most senior bowler in the team, Rohan was handed a brand new dukes ball, first over & ran in to bowl some heat from the top end. No wickets unfortunately but mixed his lengths up well and came up against some good stroke play to go for 30 from 3. Keen to avenge his own calamitous running, a smart bit of fielding off his own bowling led to DCC’s first wicket being a run out.

Mikey bowled well from the other end mixing up his stock slower ball with the odd quicker one & snicked off their opening bat for 32 who looked a decent player. Spinners were the order of the day at first change with Matt Peet claiming an LBW with a googly in case anyone was wondering & Jono wheeling away at the other end proving there is more to this man than smashing bullfrogs. Muni did well under a skier from Jono fresh after doing a juggling act with a similar opportunity a few overs previous & when the dreadlocked Rasta Brenty chipped in with a snick off wicket afterwards, UEL were 6 down and the game was well placed to go either way.

However, UEL’s version of Rambo (according to his scorebook name!) was under little scoreboard pressure and took the opposition home for a 3 wicket win in the last over. A relatively comfortable run chase in the end that proved DCC were most likely 20-30 runs light. Pick of the bowlers being Matt Peet with 1-29 off his 5 overs.


Darjeeling CC v Loose Cannons – scribed by K O’Reilly

The day started with a few early arrivals being gripped to Jo’s phone as a cached live coverage of the DSL team’s super over finale was dictated by McCaffery Jnr. The good news saw Nick’s celebratory F bomb count go through the roof pre toss. A new record.

The opposition fronted as a standard middle aged male troop, ranging from  3-4 technically good players, a couple of social blokes who used to a play a bit, and a couple of blokes who could sink 14 pints of an afternoon then take a piss…

After a quick streak and pulling himself together, Nick won the toss and we had a bat. 10 off the first from Aryan was a good return off a good bowler. Aryan, Munish, Digby and Harry all with starts saw us 4/61 at drinks.

Fresh from his celebratory streak, Nick was charging, slapping them to all corners for a well fought 60. He only needed for someone to stick around, the middle order didn’t offer much today but Young Tom came in at 9 for a run a ball 20. A great head on his shoulders for his age.

Still with a few overs to go Ash came in to not only see out the innings but also wrap up the Fashions on the Field title for yet another week with the broadbrim/spectacle/headband/skins combo ensemble. Whilst looking the part he rolled the wrists over a juicy half volley to clear the fence and send the bustling crowd of 22 into raptures.

A decent total of 9/156 on an up/down wicket.

The Cannons came out with malicious intent using 3 of the technically better players i mentioned earlier. A few fielding mishaps and some blatant slogging saw them on the required rate for the first 5-6 and in the 9th they were 2/90. Enter the ’14 pint man’.

14pm threw the kitchen sink and took it to the kids like a catholic priest, clearing the fence with nothing more than a pair of shorts and a bat. Even his box was unwanted ballast and thrown towards his team mates at fine leg to be collected mid innings.

Despite the lack of enthusiasm for its retrieval thoughts turned to if it was indeed uncomfortable or bad news had filtered through about the previous owners gonorrhoea problem. An unfortunate time to receive the news no doubt, however it didn’t deter him and they passed us 2 down with 5 overs to spare. Off to the clinic I guess, or back to the pub…