Amid feverish anticipation and much mystery surrounding the identity of two “Guest” players for Darjeeling, Friday 7th June dawned hot and humid with no sign of rain. Dry Docks World (DDW) have regularly beaten us over the last couple of years, and hopes were high that Nick had unearthed a couple of talented ringers (a la Dougie G) to again give us a better chance of revenge. Breath was baited as we waited to see who turned up.
First mystery Guest turned out to be prolific run accumulator and some time stumper, Brad Wissink, back in Dubai to complete a market moving property deal, thus finally ridding himself of the mortgage I did for him 5 years ago. We waited for the second guest, and waited, and waited. Nick finally admitted it was Grisdale J, back with special approval from the Chairman, but as he failed to appear his place was taken by David’s young son Rahan.
Nick finally lost the toss and we took the field with Greg Moses opening up from the water tank end. After his first ball castling of the chirpy but slow moving keeper last week, hopes were high for a repeat, but Greg’s loosener this time was smeared back past him for 4. 8 off the first over, but a pulled intercostal muscle meant Greg had to retire to slip, and proceeded to distract the keeper with a discussion on the rupturing of various internal organs.
Julius started off from the road end with a plumb LBW appeal turned down amid gasps of disbelief and howls of “I say old chap, that can’t be right”, or words to that effect. Julius calmly accepted the decision and got his revenge a couple of overs later by clean bowling the guy. Overall, an excellent spell of 3 overs 1 for 26, which might have been 1 for 20 if the batsman hadn’t taken Greg up on his challenge to prove he was strong enough to hit a straight 6.
Brian replaced Greg, and bowled a hostile and effective spell for figures of 4 overs, 1 for 29.
The turning point of the match came when Nick pulled the masterstroke of introducing the spin of Steve Brown, Ash B and Neil Colbeck. From a position of 79 for 1 after 10, and 100 after 12, Darjeeling managed to restrict DDW to a sub-par score of 144 for 7 after their 20 overs. Stevie finished with figures of 4 overs, 2 for 25, Ash 4 overs, 2 for 23, and Neil 3 overs, 2 for 20.
However, the real star for Darjeeling was the catching and fielding which was undoubtedly the best for many a year. Stevie took 3 catches, Brian 2, including a spectacular effort on the boundary, and even Julius swooped like a gazelle to take a fine running catch at deep mid-wicket. The other wicket was a stumping by yours truly.
Set 145 to win, Darjeeling opened with the returning Brad and Brian, and they weathered some fast and hostile bowling from the DDW openers. Brad smashed his way to a belligerent 7 off 18 balls before being well caught down the leg side, but Brian was in fine and fluent form and kept the run rate well under control.
Nick came and went for 4, bringing Stevie B to the crease. He kept Brian company until they paused for drinks mysteriously after only 8 overs. Returning refreshed, the pair milked and slashed the bowling to all parts until Brian was stumped by a couple of yards for an excellent 62 (42 balls). At that point only about 25 were needed from 4 overs, but the wheels started to come off. First I was bowled for 2, then Neil departed for a duck.
That placed to burden of winning the match squarely on Stevie’s shoulders, and he responded by hitting 18 off the 18th over. So, 3 needed for victory with two overs left, Julius facing. A couple of dots and then the clatter of stumps as he was cleaned up off an inside edge. David strolled to the crease and swung and missed the next 3 deliveries. A very rare wicket maiden, and still 3 to win.
Two balls later the match was ours with Stevie ending up on a fine 45 not out from just 30 balls.
All in all, a great performance from Darjeeling, and special thanks to David’s two lads for filling in so well.
The after match pleasantries were completed, and so to bed. Or in my case an evening of White Collar Boxing. Bizarre concept!