Sat Feb 22nd afternoon, Greenfield School, DIP, 25 overs
Clearing skies with a hint of cloud, temperature increasing to an unseasonable 27°C
Social cricket is most fun when there’s a reasonably competitive game, everyone gets to contribute, and the match is played in good spirit. And so it turned out to be against one of India’s oldest cricket clubs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsi_Gymkhana,_Marine_Drive
A day that will be etched into everyone’s memories for years to come as the mighty Darjeeling take on the ever-gracious Wombats Yellows. The day began with a 12.45pm meet….for half the team anyway, the remaining players arriving late and would be contributing to the fines session post-match. Darjeeling started with their now customary warm up of fielding drills and catching practice for 9 of the 11 players. Mark Stannard aka Stanni and Shehan thought they’d rather test and debate the taste difference between a 50-50 serving of vodka & coke and a 70-30 serving of vodka. As we shall see later on the 70-30 portion worked well for one of them.
The inaugural meeting of a new decade between these two titans of Dubai cricket dawned foggy, so much so that at the toss there was some discussion as to whether this was a six a side game in preparation for the upcoming six a side tournaments or a full 11 a side game.
Any cricketer in the UAE should jump at the chance of a game here. Three years after first admiring it from a floor high up in a neighbouring skyscraper, this writer was lucky enough to get the chance to play on it shortly before sadly leaving the country for good. Nestled amongst far-ranging and undulating green gardens, and with the ocean lapping up against white sand metres from the boundary fence, you’d be forgiven for imagining yourself in the West Indies were it not for the imposing Fairmont and Jumeirah hotels squarely framing the sight screens. Yes, we were in Abu Dhabi to play the Gents at their enviable Emirates Palace home ground.
On a particularly early Saturday morning in Dubai, Darjeeling CC members arrived in dribs and drabs to the Ocean Fair Ground in DIP. Of particular note, Julius Mooney, Baron Mooney of Springs (VC, MBE, KStJ, DL, FRSA), strolled into the ground akin to a panda bear whilst regaling the troupe with his exploits from the night before, inevitably ending up being ‘kennelled’ by his wife for the rest of the weekend…hats off, sir!
Almost May and we still have perfect weather to don the whites……only it wasn’t Whites on Saturday (some didn’t get the memo.) Luckily, there were spares at hand and Darjeeling got their first opportunity to show off their new Green-coloured kit
Darjeeling opened their 32nd campaign of the Chiang Mai Sixes title. Captain Umer had the squad net the previous day & had the team assembled to offer an inspirational speech & take up the challenge of playing reigning Champions, NCL Dynamites.
Eight overs in, Ben Jones had just taken the 3rd wicket. Hasnain and Kev have both bagged a wicket with their opening spells. DCC goes a bit defensive though, protecting the leeward side of the field, because there is a strong wind blowing across the cricket field .
Skipper Gramilla kept to his tried and tested method of losing the toss and being asked to bat under a blue, sunny sky, on what transpired to be a slow-ish track, which although yellowish and hard in hue, it was thought would require batsmen to work hard for their runs
After much hype and anticipation and many a pre-game beverage beforehand at Kickers, The DCC gathered to play their interclub game at the ICC on yet another perfect day in the UAE.
No idea who won the toss however the Northern hemisphere went into bat.
Start time: 10:30 if my memory hasn’t already started getting worse
Darjeeling CC started off in the field, fresh out of a meeting discussing what was going to happen in the 2019 season and it being our 50th Anniversary.
The first game of the 2019 friendly XI calendar commenced with the Darjeeling skipper losing the toss as usual. The men of Darjeeling slapped on the sun cream entered the field of battle. The Mammoths openers started off strong, with an opening stand of about 100 before one of their openers retired.
On 21st September Darjeeling welcomed the intrepid Loose Cannons for some early evening (and just starting to cool) battles on the larger of the two ovals.
Pre-match meeting adjourned in Kickers at 5:30pm, players were eager to ensure that the bodies were warm and ready to fire in the upcoming match.
To set the scene for the days play, our studious scorer and club captain Nick described the conditions as ‘murky, muggy, grey, close, calm, but permeated by the gentle hum of construction work and Badger’s moaning…’ and so it was for the start of the days play.
On 20th February, Darjeeling Friendly XI welcomed the Abu Dhabi Gentlemen at the ICC Cricket Academy.
The last few encounters between the two sides have seen the Abu Dhabi Gentlemen victorious & Darjeeling team wanted to make sure this was put to an end.