My life fades.

The vision dims.

All that remains are memories.

I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land.

But most of all, I remember The Cricket Warrior. The man we called “Nick Harvey”.

To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time. When the world was powered by the black fuel. And the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war…

And so it came to pass that Darjeeling XI played a 25 over game against Victory Chalis XI at SES on Friday 18 November 2013. Unbeknownst to our very own Cricket Warrior Nick Harvey, his family & friends had sneakily cooked up a cricket match to celebrate his 40th birthday. Well to be more correct (despite numerous hints and clues along the way), he didn’t work it out it until he happened to pull into the same service station on the way to the game as all his friends and family (suspiciously all of them happened to be dressed in assorted white clothing lugging large coolers full of snacks, ales etc).

After recovering from the shock, Nick as Captain of Victory Chalis XI proceeded to win the toss and elect to bat. Girish Monie and Andrew Laing opened the batting on a sunny afternoon. To spice things up, Girish also had an accomplished runner (Trupti Harvey) doing duty, so the running between wickets was the subject of more negotiations than the latest US Congressional Budget Deadlock Crisis. No matter, the Victory XI sneakily worked the ball around until Girish was out bowled by Hasan Saeed in the 5th over with the score on 28 (Girish making a stylish 3).

In came Noel Raymond who along with Andrew added a quick fire partnership of 38 in 4 overs before Andrew was out for 22 (one 4 and one 6) to a good catch down the legside by keeper Ian Potgieter standing up to the mystery spinner, Russell Goulbourn (Score 66 for 2 after 9 overs). Next man in was Elliot Spencer who made a guarded 9 before being caught by young Jacob Raymond off the bowling of Mohit Manwani. In walked Nick Harvey, the birthday boy himself, who together with Noel took the fight to the bowlers.

Nick hit three 4’s in a quick fire assault and ended his inning with a well thumped 6 – Retired on 35. Noel hit one 4 in his stay at the crease and also ended his innings on a well hit 6 – Retired on 31. After this there was some interesting styles of batting on display with big shots being attempted with variable levels of success. Steve Finnigan made a absolutely dashing first ball duck, being stumped by Ian off the bowling of Barry Cummings. Steve Cook then made a cautious 7 (all in singles) before also being stumped by Ian off the bowling of Mohit. This was followed by quick fire innings of 1 from Bridget Irvine (caught by young Jacob Raymond off the bowling of Jason Brown) and another well played innings of 1 from Robyn Harvey who was caught and bowled by David Mariadson. Ben Raymond and Ash Banerjee (one 4) provided some stability as the wickets tumbled and both were not out at the end with 7 runs each. As per a long-established tradition, Extras at 40 was the highest score and the innings closed after 25 overs at 161 for 7. Darjeeling used a total of 9 bowlers, five of whom took at least one wicket. Destroyer-in-Chief was Mohit with 2 wickets for 14 runs off 3 overs. The award for “Most Airmiles Earned” of the innings goes to Barry Cummings for his 1 wicket for 39 runs off 3 overs. And the mystery spinner (even he didn’t know where it was going to bounce!) Russell Goulbourn was economical with 1 wicket for just 9 runs off his 2 overs.

After snacks, sandwiches and a few (or possibly more than a few) well-deserved beverages, Darjeeling XI went out to bat with Jason Brown and Russell Goulbourn doing their duty as openers. Steve Finnigan and Ben Raymond opened the bowling for Victory Chalis and it was young Ben who made the breakthrough by having Russell stumped by Noel Raymond for 4 runs. In came Hasan who made a good partnership with Jason before being bowled by Nick Harvey for 14 (with one 4). This bought Warren Spencer to the wicket which did not last long as he was stumped by Noel off the bowling of Ash Banerjee for a very entertaining duck.

CD Kotze came in to stop the rot and despite surviving a rightly vociferous appeal for a first ball stumping (the umpire at square leg clearly needed new glasses and dark comments were passed on his abilities and parentage) went on to score 12 runs (hitting one 6) before being caught off the bowling of Ash. Meanwhile Jason had been steadily accumulating runs and retired for 30 (with one 6 and two 4’s).

At this crucial stage Barry Cummings and Mohit Manwani came to the wicket and proceeded to put the nail in the coffin of Victory Chalis’s hopes. Barry bashed a thumping 30 Retired (one 6 and three 4’s) and Mohit provided good support with 22 Not Out (all run with no boundaries so he must be quite fit by now!). Paul Shrigley added the last few runs and was 3 Not Out at the end.

Darjeeling made the required target with two overs to spare and kept to tradition by making sure Extras at 41 was again the highest score of the innings. Best bowler for Victory Chalis was Ash Banerjee with 2 wickets for 18 runs off his 3 overs. The award for “Most Airmiles Earned” of the innings goes to Elliot Spencer for his wicketless 3 overs that went for 24 runs. Robyn Harvey also turned her arm for 1 over of 11 runs – her figures were not helped by some seemingly harsh interpretations of the laws of wide balls.

Man of the Match went to Nick Harvey who was presented with a fully engraved trophy to mark the occasion for his 35 runs and a tight bowling spell of 1 wicket for 19 runs off 3 overs.

A video of the event was provided by professional film maker extraordinaire, Lou Shrigley and can be watched at:

All agreed that it was a great day and many thanks to all of Nick’s friends and family (especially Robyn and Tripti Harvey) for the arrangements, snacks and drinks.