Almost May and we still have perfect weather to don the whites……only it wasn’t Whites on Saturday (some of us didn’t read the memo.) Fortunately, there were spares at hand and Darjeeling got their first opportunity to show off their new Green-coloured kit in the daytime. With the Dubai Super League done and dusted for another season, the side was a good mix of both friendly and DSL players. Chat centred on Thursday & Friday evening’s activities with many talking of the Michael McIntyre show they’d attended and making a complete hash of his jokes.
Blighty Ducks, keen to play in their new Duck Yellow kit, were the opposition and preferred to forego the changing rooms and remain outside in their favoured Gulf Sixes position on the grassy knoll. (With much banter and merriment to be heard I might add). Captain Watto led the toss, promptly loss and received the mandatory abuse as Darjeeling were asked to field.
A rare (though harmless) sight was presented to the Ducks’ openers with the veteran Nick Harvey given the new cherry. It was a long opening over with four wides giving Watto some early diving practice behind the stumps. Brendan opening at the schoolyard end wasn’t quite able to match Harvey’s extra rate (only 3 wides) as the Ducks got off to a straightforward start. And that’s pretty much how it continued. With runs coming easily off the bat aided by frequent extras and some spilled chances in the outfield (including DSL Leader, J.Houghton) keeping the Ducks upper order at the crease.
Both Nick & Brendan did take a wicket a piece in their opening spells but then the Ducks enjoyed a massive partnership of 157 between Cameron 93 & Chris 82. Racchit and Umer doing their best to stem the tide…………..as did Olly with a generous offering of 26 runs in his opening (and only) over. Both Stanni and Jono chipped in at the end with some better bowling but it wasn’t until Brendan took the old ball back in his hand that the deadlock was broken. By then the Ducks had amassed north of 200.
There was something to cheer about with Brendan taking a further two wickets and having an opportunity to claim a Michelle with his final delivery. However, he finished with the very respectable figures 5-0-40-4.
Nick 4-0-34-1, Racchitt 4-0-48-0, Umer, a respectable 5-0-33-0, Olly we’ll skip, Jono 4-0-32-0 and Stanni 2-0-24-0). Darjeeling set 230 to win.
2nd half of the Match
A tall order, but with all of those DSL lads in the squad achievable, no?
Fast-forward 3 overs and any optimism was given a hard low-blow with Chris Marques, Arsalan & Shehan all back in the hutch and Darjeeling 4 for 3.
Stanni and Jono steadied the ship rebuilding to 50 for 3. (Mark in particular executing some beautifully struck boundaries.) But after they both fell around the halfway mark for 25 & 19 DCC were 5 down on a slowing pitch and were facing an over rate of plus 12. Duck Soup it was not.
Hope however, was not lost as Watto and Racchitt took the attack to the bowlers and bought us within 90 of the target with 7 overs remaining. After Jamie fell for 38 (2 6s and 2 4s) and Racchitt top-scoring with 51 (2 6s & 4 4s) the tail failed to wag and Darjeeling was cleaned out for 174 in the 23rd over. Not the close game we like, but played in Great Spirit without a ruffle of the feathers between the sides.
Sadly, a couple of us left with merely an adieu (Gentlemen, that’s not the Darjeeling way.) – But most ventured up to Kickers for some consolatory beverages as did the Blighty Ducks. (Confirming that they most definitely would be in attendance to the Gulf Sixes and quite probably, the Gala Dinner.) Chat turned from the usual sport into back injuries (with some quite surreal and bizzare details shared.) As the amber flowed and inhibitions fell, the conversation ebbed to the more ‘sizeable’ conquests we’d each enjoyed in the past. The observant amongst us would have perceived a range of memories in the window of our expressions from laughter and guffaws, to winces and painful headshakes. Darjeeling, being the philosophical bunch we are, learned that if you are going to go large it’s always best to mix it with an exotic flavour, like Swedish or Brazilian…………….never Scottish.