Abu Dhabi Gents vs Darjeeling CC, Emirates Palace, Saturday 12th October

Emirates Palace Cricket Ground

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.

With Darjeeling having come up against the Gents in a DSL fixture only a few days previously, this was a more social affair. The two teams set up at the boundary in the shade of palm trees and uncertainty around our hosts’ policy on studs saw them unscrewed, replaced and unscrewed again while the pitch was inspected, and the coin tossed.

Darjeeling were put out to field first in sweltering heat and yours truly thrown the ball by captain Watto to start the demolition. Three wides (right, left and right) later and the long-awaited legal delivery, graciously served half way up the wicket, was duly dispatched for six runs. The theme of my own afternoon was at least decided.

With the boundary short and the bowl-shaped outfield slow, the temptation to angle up was irresistible for most batsmen but, apart from Nick whose ruthless bowling sent stumps flying, Darjeeling’s attack suffered initially from a few slippery hands. The bowlers eventually found their mark, with Matt (2-40), Umar (2-24) and Krish (2-25) finishing with two wickets apiece, Ash 1-21 but on the wrong end of some drops and Nick the pick of the group with final figures of 2-14 off 4.3 overs.

This writer has just googled “worst ever sports performances” to attempt to provide you with a useful gauge of his own toils. A run-up shortened from a Mitchell Johnson 2013 Ashes-esque space shuttle runway to the last resort step-and-lob shame largely failed to stem the wides. Wicketkeeper Charles got a 360-degree workout and the ICC-accredited umpire even copped a bowling action into his thigh in the struggle to keep the ball down the middle. Watto and Darjeeling CC showed its team spirit throughout with endless but futile faith. I am reliably informed that only Boris Johnson’s son may have bowled more wides in an on over for Darjeeling than the ~12 calculated for my final over. A catch resulting from a miscued smash to the boundary is gratefully received in final figures of 1-67 from 6 overs.

A rare 30-over match saw the hosts out within 25 overs and setting a target for Darjeeling of 144 runs to win.

 Sunny, opening the batting for Darjeeling against his old side, made a confident 22 including some characteristically elegant drives you could take home to meet your parents, while partner George saw six balls before holing out for three. Brendan came in at three and battered the Gents with raucous but never-uncertain 74 runs, of which 30 came from sixes. Watto himself contributed a rapid 26. DCC were clearly brimming with confidence – with all wickets falling to catches.

Emirates Palace Cricket action
Emirates Palace Cricket fielding

From a generous foundation, and with the noise on the boundary getting louder, Charles, Matt P and Ash were able to dictate the pace and literally walk it home. Charles, presumably taking a breather after his acrobatics behind the wicket stroked a gentle sixteen. Matt’s desperate shouts of “Two there!” were greeted with leisurely strolls between the wickets from final partner Ash, who dragged out the suspense and condemned Matt to a total of ten singles amongst his 14 runs. Darjeeling were turning the screw, and the slow-play tactics clearly worked, with a Gents bowler removed from the attack for bowling two dangerous deliveries. With the team roaring support from the boundary Ash himself squared up for the Gents’ final delivery, answering it in style with a dismissive six over the Palace-end sight screen to win Darjeeling the game.

Post Match Swim

Darjeeling v Abu Dhabi Gents by Matt Peet

2018-01-06 18.22.54
The venue was the illustrious Sheikh Zayed Stadium, ordinarily a batting road for test match players, but the groundsman had seen fit to prepare a green top for the two English teams facing off, and a slightly longer format of 25 overs.
George Hellyeah was skipper and immediately told everyone it was his first match skippering, but after that, picked up his team speech and ended strongly. The general plan was to set an off side field and bowl outside off stump.
The Abu Dhabi openers were quite contrasting  styles. Garth was a trying to nudge it around and the other chap, “Dasher” was swinging from the hip at everything. Matt Jacob was expensive for his first two overs whilst Shehan exerted lots of control. That being said by over 4 we had managed to work out Dashers penchant for the lofted drive, set the long on fielder accordingly,  and he duly delivered it straight to the fielder.
However the skipper considered that to be a lucky wicket and so Matt was taken off and Krishna was brought on. Krishna bowled very well and got a decent amount of swing, finishing with 1 for 17 off his 4 over spell, snaring Gareth through sheer run pressure. Skip only taking them off in order to keep an over of each of them in reserve for the end
At the other end, Mike Phillips was brought on for Shehan. It was quickly apparent he was struggling  for control as he consistently tossed 2-3 down the leg side every over. A quick word about bowling cross-seam fixed it for him, and he found more consistency. Couple of the shorter balls troubled the batsman, but Nav (the batsman) changed tack and played a variety of late cuts, together with the occasional drive. Mike finished with figures of 4 over for 39 but definitely learnt from his spell against a couple of quality middle order batsman.
The halfway drinks were had, and it was definitely even-stevens between the teams.
Badge was brought on, but the batsmen were well set and played him comfortably, with the second over going for 13, Skip swapped him for Matt Peet, who despite being hit for a six 2nd ball, then snared the wicket of Nick Gray, at long on, with a fine catch by Brendan. However Matt’s 2nd over was awful, with Nav taking a distinct liking to the filth and taking him for 16 runs, finishing with the reverse sweep over the top of short-third-man.
At the other end, replacing Mike Phillips, Jerome came on and bowled well, but was unfortunate not to take the wicket of Shiraz with a bad drop by Matt Peet at Cow Corner.
The skipper made a strong call and brought back Matt Jacob back to replace Mat Peet, for  his second spell. MattyJ delivered excellent results, with a wicket each over.
This was aided by the catch of the match, by Brendan at wide long on, running a good 10 metres, round to straight long on and taking the catch on the run, without stepping over the boundary. I think this was the big wicket of Nav, who finished with a well earnt 60 odd.
From here, Darjeeling were able to put the breaks on Abu Dhabi Gents inning.  With Sheehan and Krishna finishing their spells. Shehan recorded fine  figures of 1 for 29 off his 5 overs and Krishna, the pick of the bowlers, at 1 for 23. The Gents finished with 206 and the general Darjeeling impression was positive that we were going to get these runs.
Nav opened the bowling for the Gents and despite Matt Peet warning the team that he was a good bowler, the gallery was not impressed by the pace. However Sam Jackson recognized the control that Nav bowled with, commenting that he bowled the first over of full away swing, followed by the 2nd and 3rd  over, as back of  a length seaming inwards, towards top of leg stump.
George eventually succumbed to a quality yorker by Nav, losing his middle pole. Jerome came in and looked assured, dishing up regular boundaries. Sam then joined him successfully against the 1st change bowlers, but then got carried away after just missing out on 1 four with a lofted on drive, he swung harder at a low full toss and missed it, losing his middle pole as well.
This brought in Shehan to join Jerome. The Sri Lankan pairing looked comfortable, and took us to the halfway mark, just a bit behind the rate at 78 off 13 overs. That being said, the batsman were well set and the gallery was confident, that with  wickets in hand, we could find the next gear.
However the Gents upped their game, with their bowlers delivering a pinch spell from over 13-17 that saw just 25 runs added. Shehan got out trying to find a boundary, bringing in Brendan WJ. He looked very comfortable at the crease, and after setting himself, he set to the task of boundaries required, scoring a fluent 49 off 30 balls.
With a couple of notably strong heaves to cover corner that comfortably cleared the boundary despite a field set for just such a shot. However once Brendan got out the wheels came off the bus. James slapped his wide half volley straight to wide long off. A bit of wind behind it and might have carried over the boundary as it went really high. Matt Jacob was then clean bowled first ball. Krishan survived the hat-trick, but by only 2 balls before he was bowled, with Matt Peet then going back to his first ball and missing it entirely. Jerome then joined the procession, however he had made a very respectable 53 off 49 balls and anchored the innings.
But that meant the stage was now set for just playing for a bit of pride not to get bowled out. Badger duly delivered as 11 man, not just surviving but swatting a boundary for a strike rate of 200 off his 2 balls, to pick up the spirits of the players.
Darjeeling ended on 165 but he match had been an even contest until deep into the 2nd half.  The Gents had bowled well, with just 9 extras in their 25 overs, and their 1 standout player, Nav, pushing the match in their favour.
There was no man of the match declared for Darjeeling, as there had been good performance by several players on the team: Shehan and Krishan bowling exceptionally well, Brendan WJ for some excellent fielding including 2 catches. Matt Jacob for finishing strongly at the death with the ball. Then Jerome and Brendan WJ both making good runs.
Overall we have something to build on for 2018, the match was played in excellent spirit by both teams, the weather was excellent and refreshing beverages were had after the match. P.S. if you are playing the next match in Abu Dhabi, pack your cooler bag.

Darjeeling v Abu Dhabi Gentlemen – words by Thomas Mariadason

Darjeeling traveled to Emirates Palace to meet the Abu Dhabi Gents. The scenery was jaw dropping to the vast majority of players and it took a little time to let it sink in that we were playing a game of cricket in a palace next to the beach.

David was appointed captain and had a tough job on his hands having 3 leg spinners and 3 off spinners in the team. The leggies included Joe, George and Thomas and the off spinners included Umer, Aryan and Ollie.


Toss time came around ,after relaxing under the trees, and David lost it. Darjeeling were bowling first! David gave himself the first over and kept it tidy, only giving 3 runs away. Munish was given the second over and went for 11. David bowled 3 overs with figures of 0-11 and Munish was taken off after his second over went for 29. George came on and gave a left handed batsman nightmares after bowling consistent googlies in his overs and finished on figures of 1-38 after 5.

Shehan came on and was getting some surprising bounce and pace off the wicket after telling David that he bowled medium pace. Shehan rattled the batsmen with the shorter delivery and Kai took some very good catches going low to his right. Shehan ended up with figures of 2-23 off 5. Meanwhile in the field Jaco Smith ,who was due for surgery in a couple of weeks, was throwing himself around the ground and stopping every run he could, deserving the name Jonty. Joe then came on and bowled a good spell, picking up the wicket of Sheraz who was looking dangerous on 43. Joe finished his spell of 4 overs for 2-25. Thomas then came on and bowled a tidy spell of 2-16 off 3 and had Sheraz swinging his bat so hard that David was worried that the bat would go further than the ball. Aryan was given the ball and went the distance, ending up on figures of 0-38 off 2. Umer came on for the last over and was given some punishment,going for 14. The Abu Dhabi Gents ended up on a total of 202, setting Darjeeling 203 to win.

Umer and Jaco opened up for Darjeeling. Umer looked like he was ready to rumble having hit his first ball for 4, unfortunately Umer was only able to get 20 after being bowled. Jaco didn’t trouble the scorers after playing on a delivery.

Ollie came in at 3 and never really got going and only managing 9 before being bowled. Shehan was in at 4 and looked good, hitting three 4’s and a 6, however he could only manage 25. George was next in and played a very solid front foot defence first up but he held out playing a reverse sweep and being caught. for 2. Munish was next in and managed 10, hitting a lot of singles from miss-hits before being bowled. David came in and managed 4 not out. Thomas then came in and watchfully played his first ball for a dot, then he flicked a ball of his hip down to fine leg and it was quoted ‘the shot of the day’ from the keeper, however Thomas was stumped off the bowling of Etienne, expecting it to come a lot faster than it did. Aryan came in for the last 3 balls of the match and played a nice cut shot for 2. Darjeeling finished their innings off with 80. 

 The Abu Dhabi Gentlemen were definitely the better team on the day.


Darjeeling CC vs NYUAD, Emirates Palace, 18 April 2014 – words by G Moses

Friday saw DCC take on Abu Dhabi’s New York University cricket team at the picturesque Emirates Palace ground in the nation’s capital. A seven O’ Clock bus was arranged for Tom De Boinville, with everyone else making their own way there. One can only imagine that as he arrived at the palatial grounds first and alone, his thoughts must have flitted over an impromptu fox hunt. 

The rest of the fellows arrived and the match began with DCC batting first, with Gazz Turner skippering. 

Due to situations beyond my control, I was running late and approaching Abu Dhabi at 139km/h, changing into my whites on the way. My phone rang with car veering towards the hard shoulder and left shoelaces almost tied, and it was Gary, saying, ‘Don’t worry, all is well, 40 for none after 6’. Ah well, happy days then.

There was no golf cart on standby so I legged it over from the car park to the ground to find that things had changed. 

’40 for none after 6’ had become ‘Oh fuck, here we go’.  

Dannie was out (27), Tom was out (11). 

Within minutes of me arriving, Andy Bowers was out and Bruno Bruney was in, much to the excitement of Gary’s boner. I’ve never seen a man so overjoyed for one of his mates to get a bat. I shudder at the thought of the cuckolding shenanigans that go on chez Turner while the Bruneys are visiting…. 

To cut a medium-length story short, we ended on a sub-par 140-odd after 20, with Rory ending on an unbeaten 13. The lowlight of the innings a suicidal second run by .Brown after he’d been looking pretty handy. Probably cost us the game, Jason. 


 Our bowling effort began poorly with me being despatched to all parts. Thankfully .Brown bowled tightly, realising he had to make amends for his poor running, returning figures of 4-1-21-2, including a maiden wicket in his first. 

The scorecards in my possession suggest only one other wicket, a run out (by none other than .Brown), but I’m sure there was a caught behind by Danny (I forget the bowler, sorry. Gary?). 

Amidst his advisor-to-the-umpire responsibilities, Saeed batted well and took the game away with an unbeaten 60-odd. If we had snaffled either of the two chances he gave us in the field, both off Ross’ bowling, the outcome could have been different, but it was not to be. It was one of those days, summed up for me by my bowling the last ball of my last over to the bunny – slow ball to give him the single and keep him on strike creamed over cow for 6. 

Apart from Jason, all other bowlers’ returns were pretty average. Our score was reached with relative ease in about the 17th over. 

Thanks to Etienne for bringing beverages, and the drive home felt like a 7-hour journey for me. 

I believe the question still burning in everyone’s mind is, what the f&ck happened to Milo? 

DCC v The Abu Dhabi Bedouins – words by J.Mooney

Saturday 16th became not only a famous day in cricketing history to celebrate Sachin Tendulkars final game for India in all formats, but also for what we hope is the start of a regular fixture for us at the Emirates Palace Ground in Abu Dhab
Despite Andrew Laing sending out encouraging emails at 7:49 for a 9:15 push back from the EPPCO petrol station in Media City we set off a little later than expected thanks to the ever reliable Gully. Dannie “Dave Twit” Rees quickly grabbed the front seat as the precious little flower gets car sick, much to the delight of Sackers Mum Molly who called him a wimp and told him to man up. Unbelievably Mr. Brown (jnr) and Mr Houghton (also jnr) were there ahead of time but not looking a picture health after an all nighter at Sandance (Steve I know you mum reads this so I won’t mention what the girl from the night before knows her way around…). Jono physically couldn’t remove his sunnies until about 2 in the afternoon and Steve was….well Steve….his usual uncontrolled dribble coming out in full force – I am Sparta…etc etc.
After a stop off at the Ibn Gate hotel to pick up our VVP member Jason Brown, why he couldn’t meet us at EPPCO is beyond all of us, we were heading down SZR at not a particularly fast pace. Beverages and breakfast were consumed and the usual tweedle dum and tweedle dee banter from the back was had (Due to Ash Banerjee request this banter is X rated and cannot go into here so as not to upset the DU IT team). (Dum = Jono, Dee – Steve – please see picture below – taken on the bus). After a very quick stop off to collect Captain Harvey from his hotel on Yas and very near miss of Mooney wetting his pants (bladder of a 4 year old) we had made it to the spectacular venue – only 45 minutes late.
Harvey won the toss and elected to bat, a decision that was made only because he was worried we would all continue to drink and be unable to physically field later in the day….(Laing did a superb job ensuring there were two cooler boxes with over 80beverages). Actually the choice to bat probably would have been a better one, as I am sure we would not have messed up the numbers….Being the bright boys we are we started the first over with 12 men on the field….Gully quickly volunteered to sit down and nurse his hangover with a Malboro light and a cold beverage
Chris “Fire-man Sam – with an 80’s porn star movember effort” Ward had the honors of opening up the bowling and started very well, he was unlucky not to finish up with any wickets but kept the runs to a minimum with a very tight line and length….Chris finished 3-1-14. At the other end Mooney, freshly back from his paternity duties and a 5 weeks absence from the club bowled a fairly tight line, after his first ball got smashed for 4, he managed to get one on a length and saw an absolute screamer of a catch (+some juggling) taken by Tweedle Dum in the slips (glasses still on). Mooney finished with final figures of 5-0-35-1 including a 2 over tight spell at the death.
With Mooney subbed off for Gully, Gully feeling slightly more refreshed came on as first change. It was soon apparent after his 2 overs that he would have preferred stay off the field. Despite some good “chat” to the batsman who responded by smashing him for another 4, Gullys day apart from a drop catch (which he didn’t even see and was knocked back 6ft) was over – Final figures 2-0-29-0. Ettience bowled better from the other end and after a return spell later in the match finished with 4-0-27-0.
Pick of the bowlers Nick Harvey was great from ball one, bamboozling the opposition batsman and getting his reward with a good LBW against the Bedouins second top scorer.  Selfishly Nick took himself off after 3 overs in the anticipation that he might get a bat – Nick finishing with 3-1-6-1
Dannie “Dave the Twit” Rees was somewhat lucky to take 2 wickets in his spell, but did bowl a fairly good line until his final over went for 14. His first wicket a solid LBW followed by an absolute pile of dog poo full toss which was taken very smartly by Chris Neal in the deep.  4-0-23-2.
Tweedle Dee (Steve Brown) finalized proceedings when the batsman were going for the kill, deservedly snaring the wicket of the Bedouins top scorer in the final over when he was really smashing it – Chris Ward took a great catch over his shoulder… 4-0-26-1
Other Notes from the field:
Chris ward – told to move away from the boundry by Dave Rees as his was too close to his wife (Dave got a bit jealous, and knows his wife has a thing for fireman with Nasty Mo’s)
Gully – mnnnnn apart from the drop catch….nothing
Jason Brown – advising Dave Reece that he does know how to play cricket, when Dave suggested he moves a bit wider
Johno – great catch – was on the field for a total of 6 overs
Sackers – great efforts in the field (thought about claiming a bumped catch…)
Given the great efforts in the field Darjeeling were set a fairly modest target given the quality of our batsman and the size of the pitch of 163.
Paul Sackley and Chris Neal opened up for DCC…Sackers wasted no time by crisply driving his second delivery for a lovely 6 over mid off….Not to be out done the very next over Chris hooked the other opener for a big six. Some divine shots from the men in the middle took DCC to 50 without loss until Mr Sackers edged one to the keeper…a fine 25. Chris Neal followed soon after cleaned bowled trying to late cut the spinner for 24.
When the opposition saw Jason Brown come into the middle they took they’re foot off the pace and immediately brought on their D list bowlers…However looks certainly can be deceiving – Jason had immense fun smashing these bowlers all over the ground… by the time they brought on their top bowlers Jasons eye was well in and even these lads got carted around…At the other end Dave Rees was also causing carnage including hitting 25 off one over…..Dave secured victory in the 17th over with a huge six over the covers…
Top knocks from both Jason and Dave. Jason hats off…was a cracking innings….Dave you were average….
Jason finished 54 not out off 33 and Dave a quick fire 49 not out  off 26 balls.
After a few beverages with the opposition it was time to say goodbye to Abu Dhabi and head back to Dubai…Thankfully the return journey was a little more civilized Tweedle Dee slept for most of it and Tweedle Dum just looked glum. Special thanks to Mr. Andre Laing for organizing the refreshments and the bus!! All in all a cracking day out!