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!
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….oh what a mockery both sides made of that!! Ollie “Page Boy” Page, arriving fresh to Dubai from the frosty, northern climes of England, and “Derriere” Arsalan opened the Darjeeling inning with watchful intent and looked solid from the start, safely negotiating Cool Boys’ opening salvos by the oddly effective pairing of their left and right medium paced bowlers, mixing it with full tosses and half-trackers. Derriere warmed up with the innings with a beautifully timed wristy slog sweep for six but, in general, scoring was relatively slow going. Page Boy, after nurdling a couple of singles, decided it was “Delivery Time” and went for a huge swipe to cow corner but unfortunately missed, being bowled middle stump. Andy “Captain” Kirk strolled in at 3 with his usual Aussie no-nonsense attitude, generally impressing on the opposition how sub-standard they all were. Captain, unfortunately, couldn’t quite live up to his own billing and was back in the hutch LBW with a solid 1 to his name. Derriere, on the other hand, became increasingly confident and began to pick off Cool Boys’ bowling with numerous 1s and 2s, keeping the run rate at a steady 3-4 an over.
A particular highlight during the Darjeeling’s batting innings was actually of a non-cricketing nature with the odd courtship between the heavyweight pairing of His Lordship and Captain and the Pakistani Bugsy Malone look-a-like on the sidelines. Bugsy, clearly being a veteran Pick-Up Artist in DIP, began his mating ritual by lying right next to the pair whilst utilising the tried-and-tested combination of toe twiddling, nail clipping and ball juggling. Unfortunately for Bugsy, he could not quite impress the lads enough, with him leaving the ground in a sulk having not wooed any plus-sized cricketers that weekend. (NB: fortunately for Bugsy, Captain slipped Jono’s number into Bugsy’s pocket so his luck will undoubtedly change in the very near future…)
Whilst this action was on-going, Grant “Gramilla” Miller joined Derriere in the middle and together, they rotated the strike beautifully, mixing 1s and 2s with the odd boundary. Derriere eventually being rear-ended with an extremely well made 76 and Gramilla run-out on an equally fine 60. “Ginger Ninja” then entered the fray and achieved what must be termed as the ultimate “Sod’s Law”. Ninja had earlier in the day argued that the use of helmets in friendly cricket was only meant for ‘cricket girly men’…he then, of course, promptly top edged the second ball of Cool Boys’ wily spinner and sliced open his chin. After being patched up with a couple of spare plasters found in his bag, Ninja struck some handy boundaries ending with 26 not out and increasing the scoring rate to end the Darjeeling innings on a very competitive 210 off 25 overs. More than enough…one would think!!!
His Lordship opened the bowling for Darjeeling and, it must be said, bowled with great aristocracy to which the opening batsmen had no answer, taking 2 wickets in his second and third overs. Unfortunately for Darjeeling, no other bowler could match the lofty standards of His Lordship with everyone else going for plenty. Derriere did take a fantastic catch at square leg to give the Darjeeling boys hope but the band of buffet bowling brothers, including “Sideshow” Roscoe; Chris “Telly Tebby”; Gramilla; Page Boy and Ninja all got plenty of tap…Van Den upgraded the buffet into a full “Entertainer Brunch” by trying his best to reincarnate his fellow countryman, Daan van Bunge’s, efforts against Herschelle Gibbs in the 2007 World Cup (https://youtu.be/Hsv99LxwrYw). Indeed, Rizwan took a special liking to his bowling in the penultimate over to finish the game off a little quicker than hoped for by the Darjeeling team (sorry boys…mea culpa!). A shout out must, however, go to Captain Kirk’s manful efforts of marshaling his 10 men around the field, giving everyone a good game, but unfortunately, the lack of bowling control, allied with the hard-hitting style of Cool Boys, not to mention one less fielder, hurt the Darjeeling team in the end. Indeed His Lordship, in his usual inimitable way, summarised the Darjeeling bowling efforts succinctly with the words ‘utter shite’…I think no man would dare challenge those noble words!
So, despite the loss, a thoroughly enjoyable game was had by all, with high scores on both sides, skillful batting, and everyone getting a good go. On to next week!
Van Den’s MoM: Derriere…for his excellent 76 and feline like catch at square leg. Bravo monsieur!