One night in Bangkok – Julius Mooney

Following Nick Harvey’s passionate call to arms email before our troops headed to battle in both Bahrain and Bangkok – the stage was set for Darjeeling’s debut in Bangkok.

Sugee and Watto, arrived at the airport a good 5 hours before departure to make sure they were boozed up nicely and to talk tactics, I made the plane…just…when I was accepted 60mins before departure. (The joys of staff travel). Ferrari owner and property mogul Nathan Williams decided to save himself 35 dhs so went with Oman Air, Israr was to meet directly at the venue coming over on EY and Pete, Brandon (Nathans brother) and now honorary club member Chris Waddington (all residing in Thailand) were to meet us in the hotel / ground….

After a VERY bumpy flight…I was passed out fast asleep after drinking copious amounts at the bar, Watto,Sugee, and myself arrived into BKK…were we quickly transferred to the hotel in central Bangkok. At the hotel we were met by Nathan and his old colleague Chris – accompanied by his wife – who thankfully turned out to be one of the lads! Priority number 1, was at least 4 pints in the hotel lobby before a quick change (no time for a shower) and a bus back to near the airport to meet up with the others for our first match of the tournament.

We were met at the ground by Israr – who was no joke of a lie wearing a suit – Kezza would be joining us later in the afternoon. Game 1 we were against last year’s winners. Tight bowling by all of the team kept their score to below 60, the runs were easily knocked off by player of the tournament Watto and Israr, smashing the ball to all parts of the ground. Mandatory beers for all were consumed between innings and matches….By game 2, Kezza joined with Nathan voluntarily sitting out to make way. Given the treacherous conditions of the ground (astro nailed into wooden planks and an outfield that resembled an Irish bog) there were some comedy classics – with Watto flying arse over a tit to the great amusement of the crowd – everyone chanting his name. tragedy however struck also, with Chris running back (keeper) to collect a ball, slipping and snapping his arm…like a real man he walked off the field, necked a beer and got in a taxi to the hospital, still in his greens, and for some reason carrying his bat….more of this later….the match continued with Nathan replacing Chris in the field….Israr complained of a “tweak” in his shoulder after 4 wide’s and a no ball – apparently the short run up is not good for his shoulder…heard them all now….

With a score set up below 70 again, Watto, Israr, Kezza (man of the match) and Suggie chased down the runs with ease…..

That was it cricket wise for day one….the next 12 hours, became a real blur….but after the fines convention in Nathan’s room, we all headed out for a team dinner – joined miraculously by Chris – who true to his word was right back on the beers – mixed in with some very strong painkillers….

After dinner and being the kind of cultured gentleman that we are….we went to a couple of “new age” bars, sipped exotic cocktails, watched some dance routines – similar to river dance, but with less clothes, no men, no Irish music and much nicer breasts…actually come to think of it, it was nothing like river dance….After the bars, Nathan and Kezza recommended that we visit a modern art museum….put it this way – I think we are all converted to Thai modern art….

After approx. 4 hours sleep we were back to the ground, which after the evening downpours, was more like a lake with a few small islands…but hey the game must go on…..and the beers must keep flowing….

Playing a team from Singapore in match 3 – we were not at our best, bowling first, the oppo got about 80 odd…with normally dart accurate Sugee taking the brunt of the batsman aggression…losing 5 wickets (with me being cleaned up first ball with the second to last ball of the match with 12 needed) we fell 8 short….still with the rain gods being on our side and our superior strike rate we still had a shot to make it to the semis…

A massive storm hit in the afternoon and with a fine list the length of an elephants trunk pretty much occupied by me, a quick team negotiation was made…If I did a Klinsmann during the thunder storm in my pants – the majority of my fines would be absolved…after much deliberation the team agreed and away I went…sadly the puddle I chose was not a grass puddle but a sand puddle – meaning as a dove..the majority of my chest came off…anyway with the alcohol in me I didn’t really notice – it was only 4 days later back in DXB my wife pointed it out…by this time it looked more like nail marks on my chest – or where they?!?!?!?

After 3 straight hours of rain, the committee called the end of the days play…

After a quick shower, we were back out on the town – Soi Cowboy followed by an educational trip to PatPong….Watto was delighted with the piece of art that was presented to him by one of the girls….she had a remarkably unique way of drawing….Brandan and Kezza competed with each other to who was the better ping pong player…given his years of experience in Thailand…Pete certainly won….Sugee was more into the musical instruments….looking on astonished as they played the Sir Lankan national anthem….Israr dressed up in his best suit was more interested in his tinder (or was in grinder) frantically swiping right….it obviously paid off as when Brandon and I returned to the hotel at 3:00am – there he was in reception with 3 “legit” ladies….good lad!

Up at 8:00am the next day, we were checked out and on the way to the ground by 9. We had made the semi’s – and were on second, following one of the slowest matches ever in history played between the organisers and the geriatrics. Knowing that we had to leave latest by 2:00pm to make our 4:00pm flight back, the organiser’s kindly brought forward the cup matches…but time was most certainly not on our side…especially after match one took over 2hours.

Our semi-final went without a hitch with Kezza being the pick of the bowlers taking 3 or 4 wickets, bamboozling the oppo with his flight and spin…tight bowling for the remainder of the team, gave our inform batsman Kezza, Watto, Sugee and Israr little worries in chasing the runs down….

There was no need to worry about time as the other semi-final was over within 25minutes – the Sri-Lankan team (who we would eventually meet in the final) bowling out the oppo within 4 overs for a grand total of 8.

Having made an impact with the other teams, everyone around the side-lines were cheering for Darjeeling in the final. Unfortunately we lost the toss and were put into bat and after some solid hitting from Watto we finished slightly below bar – setting the opp 66 to win. The oppo started well, hitting both Sugee and myself for a fair few, a great middle over from Nath brought things back to par, before Kezza bowled another fantastic tight over, conceding only a couple off it. Watto bowled the last over, with the oppo needing just 15. The first ball got pumped for 6, before a “tactical” long hop sat up nicely for the oppo batsman to hit in the air for Sugee to take a great catch on the fence…Noting that the long hop worked well Watto bowled another on the penultimate ball – again the batsman aiming his shot to Sugee….With 5 needed off the last ball……..it was just too much for the Sri Lankans…..DARJEELING HAD WON…..cheers echoed around the ground – and Watto not to let down his adoring fans decided to do a fully clothed Klinsmann…unfortunately choosing the same puddle as mine – again not sliding particularly far…

At 1:45 we were presented with our trophy and the winners bucket of beers…..at 1:59 we were changed (un-showered) and on the way to the airport. Arriving to the airport still caked in mud – we were checked in at 2:59 – 2 minutes before we would have been told to bugger off…..

bkk-6s

On an empty flight back to Dubai – Watto, myself and Sugee tried (but in vain) to have a drink – the weekend escapades had finally caught up with us.

A wonderful few days, with a great bunch of lads…..Definitely a tour that Darjeeling should play in again!

Special thanks to Watto for organising and Kezza and Nathan for taking us to the best modern art museums!!

 

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DCC v ADCC 30.1.16 – Mike Peacock

See if you can spot the Beatles songs – a beer to the person who gets all 45!

The day before yesterday saw an experienced DCC side taking on a strong Abu Dhabi team who had booked in a wisely-timed fixture after a hard day’s night at the Annual Awards Night. The day trippers had made it to the ICC well before the bad boys from the night before had arrived at the ground, a worrying sign of things to come.

On a “bordering blustery day” there were even signs of rain before a shout of here comes the sun reverberated around the outfield as play commenced. Don’t ask me why but the dark glasses-wearing Dexy, looking a little weary, volunteered his services to open the batting with Harry, even though Ash had already told the story of how Dexy had been banned from further drinking after a red wine altercation the previous evening. After a rousing speech by skipper Brown, ‘don’t let me down’ being the take home message, the pair strode out to the middle with the players back in the cheap seats shouting ‘you know what to do.’ After a glorious shot from Harry in the early overs, upper-cutting their quickie for four, the scoring rate started to slow down to a snail’s pace, due to some incredibly accurate bowling from the ADCC openers.

Dexy was eventually the first man out, adjudged caught behind from a lifting delivery that was athletically snaffled by the chirpy wicket keeper. Had the DRS been accepted by both captains the decision would have been overturned as it appeared to nick off a nipple rather than the inside edge, leaving the not guilty Dexy to berate the umpiring of Racchitt and offering to show him the bruise later! In went, Callum, some new DCC young blood on debut, whose first ball was a sharp bouncer that the Aussie decided to rebuff with his shoulder in true Steve Waugh style. However, this show of manliness was his only act of defiance as he was soon out LBW to the accurate inswingers of the ADCC captain. Harvey was in next as the score slowly trickled along, Harry nudging and nurdling it around to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

The ADCC opening pair had bowled themselves out, and although the score was in the region of 40-2 the Darjeeling side, and especially the beautiful dreamer and birthday boy Cookie, thought that we can work it out and start flying towards a respectable total. This optimism, however, was short-lived as Harvey quickly departed, bringing captain Brown to the crease just as the Abu Dhabi bowlers were getting better and better, their 1st change pair not afraid to dig it in, leaving Harry searchin’ and with no reply. He seemed sure to fall, but now and then was able to rotate the strike and gradually push the score up towards 70 for 3. He was later heard in the bar saying that ‘all things must pass and that all I’ve got to do is see off the openers and then I’ll be on my way.’ In hindsight this may have been wishful thinking. Brown eventually broke up the minor partnership, after playing a few lusty strokes. He was caught out by a slower ball from the ever impressive Wilkinson, with every little thing going right for the fast bowler.

This brought Etienne to the crease, and in spite of all the danger, he and Harry were able to push the score towards the illusive hundred mark. After smashing a couple of meaty sixes that went long, long, long, the impressive South African departed bringing Racchitt to the wicket. He who said to himself that these bowlers ‘don’t bother me’ as he milked runs all around the ground. However, this was to be the end of the counter attack as he fell, followed quickly by Cook, hooking his second ball straight to deep square leg, as he trudged off thinking ‘I should have known better.’ Some final over scampering between the wickets, with shouts of ‘run for your life,’ ‘get back’ and ‘wait’ being heard all around the ground, left the innings at a below par 127 for 9 from 25 overs. After a Lombardi-esque speech from Brown at the halfway stage, ‘all together now’ being the take home message, the Darjeeling outfit knew that only an imperious bowling performance would leave them with anything to show from this match.

The ball was thrown straight to all-rounder and ADCC old boy, Etienne, for the opening over. The South African started with a tight first couple of overs, followed by a slightly looser set of twelve from new boy, Peacock, before the experienced Harvey was brought into the attack. However, although there were ferocious deliveries that kept the ADCC batsmen on their toes, they were able to accumulate runs at a canter and had quickly amassed 65 for the loss of only one wicket, massively helped by some shoddy fielding and some ‘come and get it’ bowling. Krish, Cookie and Racchitt all came into the attack, bowling some expert deliveries, Cookie especially landing a few balls on a matchbox, but the off-colour DCC side had very little to offer a far superior ADCC team.

Ash charged in to chance his arm and at least grab a couple of consolation wickets but not even his right arm mediums could help in this cause. The boundaries were coming here, there and everywhere and it wasn’t long before we were finally put out of our misery, the Darjeeling side glad all over.

Onwards to the next fixtures, a much improved all round performance needed to get back to winning ways. I’m sure it won’t be long!