DSL match 3: Darjeeling v Titans @ Dubai 7s – words by Mr. T. Kimber

I will start by saying, what a game of cricket this was!!

 Jono again lost the toss and Titans decided they would have a bat.  We didn’t start as we would have hoped with the ball and Titans built and impressive opening partnership of 127 off just 12.5 overs, latching onto anything short or wide off the seamers Viv (3-0-31-0) and Blikkies (3-022-0).  Shuggie (5-0-57-0) was brought on to try and stem the flow of runs, but was met with some brutal striking, both openers managing to clear the ropes regularly and by some distance.

Viv was switched ends to try and break the partnership and duly nicked off Titans chunky opener, however the umpire somehow didn’t see or hear the nick and KFC’s favourite customer for the past 10 years, decided he was going nowhere and refused to walk. Poor form indeed.  The onslaught of clean hitting continued and Titans found the boundary on a worryingly regular occasion.  The more flighted bowling of Jono (5-0-44-0) and Rhys (4-0-38-1) seemed to slow the scoring rate slightly and eventually Rhys broke the opening partnership in the 13th over, having the tiring KFC enthusiast caught nonchalantly one handed in the deep by Israr for 73 off just 40 balls.  He wasn’t a fan of running but he certainly struck the ball cleanly. 

Titans had set themselves a very good platform and with what looked like their best batsman coming out at 3, were in for an imposing total.  Again they built another good partnership of 80+ rotating the strike well between left and right handers and seeming to find the boundary at will.  The hitting was relentless and Mike (3-0-27-0) and Israr (2-0-28-0) did a decent job at the death when the batsman were looking to hit every ball for 6.  Darjeeling stuck at it and managed to effect a couple of run outs to keep the scoring to as few as was possible.  Titans eventually finishing on 248 for 4.  The pitch was flat and the outfield was quick, but it would take a serious effort to chase down ten an over from ball one.

 The Darjeeling innings began with openers Rhys and Blikkies, the Titans opening bowlers began with tight lines and both openers possibly looked to over hit the ball and struggled for timing, understandable given the imposing total they faced. Blikkies was out for 5 in the third over, which brought Tom to the crease with a licence to get on with it and utilise the power play.  After some tight early bowling Tom was greeted with wide long hop first ball, which was duly dispatched to the extra cover boundary.  That seemed to ignite the innings, with Tom and Rhys looking to make the most of the fielding restrictions in the first 8 overs, they punished pretty much everything, ending the power-play on 78. 

Game on. 

Still needing to score at 10 an over the partnership continued to grow, running well between the wicket and punishing anything loose. It was quickly realised that Titans had one real threat with the ball, the left arm spinner, it was important to milk him whilst trying to score heavily off what ever was dished up at the other end, which we did nicely.  Rhys was eventually out for 40 off 32 in the 12th over with the score on 107.  Ben strode out at 4 and continued where Rhys left off, putting pressure on the fielders in the deep and turning ones into two regularly.  When Tom  finally departed, stumped for 65 off 37 with the score on 137 in the 16th over there was still plenty to do. 

Darjeeling continued to score at a decent rate with everyone coming in doing their job.  Watto (5 off 5) and Ben (33 off 23) fell in quick succession in the search of quick runs.  That lead to the arrival of Israr (37 off 17) and Shuggie (21 off 10) they built a brilliant partnership of over fifty in quick time, finding the boundary on a regular occasion.  Israr taking the 20th over for 21 was the turning point, suddenly we 48 off the last 5 overs.  Darjeeling continued to plunder the bowling, even the loss of regular wickets could not slow the run rate, as every man who came in contributed.  Following the run out of Olli Jennings it was left to the Viv and the skipper to see us home, needing just 3 off the final over.  Jono flicked the 3rd ball of the over to the boundary and that was that.  Darjeeling had chased down 249 to win. 

What a ridiculous game of cricket, spare a thought for the Titans opener who carried his bat for 105 not out, never nice to score a hundred and your team lose.  Not that we care too much, we won. 

Link to the scorecard: https://www.crichq.com/#matches/439675/1st_innings


As a lowly hack, I was once informed that brevity is everything. I therefore offer the tome below.

[vc_row type=”container” padding_top=”” padding_bottom=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]DCC vs Dubai Stallions
By 8.15am on Saturday morning, Darjeeling CC had already achieved its first victory of the day. The welcome sight of Gully, who had wisely decided to settle down for an early night almost five hours earlier, striding languidly across the car park of the Sevens ground meant that DCC had mustered a playing 11 (albeit in the second over of the match). The opposition for this decisive tournament fixture was the Dubai Stallions, a prospect which simultaneously bewildered and intimidated young Brian – was selection based on girth or length? He made a mental note to investigate further….

It was the morning after the night before and while Dubai’s privileged classes slept soundly, DCC’s most committed cricketers roused themselves from their slumbers at an ungodly hour; all were bleary-eyed, many with pounding headaches and a few still drunk.
With adroitness that would have had Kofi Annan nodding in silent approval, Jules expertly negotiated the toss (“You bat, we bowl? OK?) to ensure DCC would be back under the shade of the pavilion’s veranda before the sun had risen high in the cornflower blue sky.
As Jules paced out his run-up, Jonno proudly presented a cobalt blue tongue to the slip cordon as proof of his earlier antics in Rock Bottom. However, this only raised speculation that his preparation for the match had involved going down on an aging Smurfette – shenanigans he has neither confirmed nor denied…

While minds wandered, Julius bounded in for the first over with the vivacity of a young bullock and a determination to fell the Stallions opening batsmen at the first hurdle. Israr, with clear eyes and a full heart, opened from the other end and, with his first ball, induced a snick which Jonno lapped up (Granny Smurfette was still etched into the forefront of the mind at this point). There followed one of the tightest opening partnership spells in DCC’s recent history with just 34 being conceded from the first seven overs.

The cherry was then given to Gully to tighten the stranglehold and dispatch the Stallions onward to the glue factory. 10 balls later, and having fed the pony (a manoeuvre honed at the Sea View Hotel), he was thanked for his labours and sent back to sweep on the boundary. Down, but not out.

The change bowlers were effective and economical. As ever, Big Ben displayed his benevolence to the opposing batsman in generously providing ball-by-ball instruction on how best to play his deliveries. Not so much a horse whisperer as a steed shouter. Although the sentiment was compassionate, the result was ineffective as evidenced by his tidy spell of 1-19 off four – a tricky catch snaffled by Israr with consummate ease.

Tim Davy, now struggling for work as a Peter Crouch look-a-like as the long-legged footballer’s career wanes, took a sharp caught-and-bowled and proved near impossible to be get away – a six off his last ball blighting more-than-respectable figures of 1-23 off four.
Who is the most aggressive man in the club? Well, if you were to ask the Stallions, the Croydon terrier with the look and temperament of Ari Gold would be the collective response. Perhaps confusing cricket for baseball following a recent spell in the US, Brian literally went for the knock-out blow delivering two beamers in quick succession. Two strikes and you’re out here unfortunately. The intimidation tactics backfired and an apoplectic Brian was sent back to the serenity of deep extra-cover having only supplied the cowering batsman with five legitimate deliveries.

With one delivery still required to complete the over, De Boinville eagerly grabbed the ball like a fat kid grabbing a ball. He then demonstrated great sportsmanship to the clearly traumatized batter, bowling the gentlest off-break every seen on a cricket pitch. The reprieve was welcome and the ball deservedly carted over cow corner for a maximum.

It was time to circle the wagons and the Rhinestone Cowboy, Gully, having now sobered up, roared in with true Aussie grit bowling an inspired spell which included two wickets in two balls. He finished for a superb 3-26 off four. By this point in the proceedings, the Stallions resembled little more than shire horses and DCC took pity, slackening the reins and dropping two dollys (form is temporary, class in permanent). There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’ so it would not be fair to single out such individuals and the team should take responsibility. (Butter-fingers) Lee Dawson bowled tightly at the death and a sub-par total of 159 had been set by the Stallions off the allotted 25 overs for the loss of eight wickets.

The damp outfield (allegedly as moist as a young married French woman who had been cornered and chatted up by a few DCC charmers in Bidi Bondi) was beginning to dry and speed-up as the temperature hit 30C and confidence amongst DCC’s top order was high.
Openers Chris Neal and De Boinville saddled up and went out to the middle with the intention of battering the Stallions until they were flogging a dead horse (crow-barred in). The first few overs went to plan, with De Boinville seizing on every delivery and crashing the ball all over the park with such brutality against the equine-dubbed opposition that alerts were sounded at both PETA and the RSPCA. Each whip-like crack sent the ball in a perfect parabola toward the boundary until the human-mortar was prematurely silenced; caught at mid-on for 17 off 9.

Stylish left-hander Chris Neal provided good support with some elegant shots off both front and back foot. He was ably encouraged by the vulpine Israr from the non-strikers end; regrettably, when it came time for the number three all-rounder to face the bowling himself, he was unable to provide any further assistance and was out for a duck. Wickets continued to tumble like riders at Becher’s Brook and at 4-48, the match was hanging in the balance.
As the volume of the Stallions’ whinnying increased, and the vociferous appeal which followed every ball grew ever more tedious, it was up to Brian and Jonno to play the role of farrier, de-shoeing the petulant Stallions for good. With ever-increasing confidence and ability, this is exactly what they accomplished in constructing a partnership of 92. It was at this point that Jonno, having hit consecutive fours, declared that he was truly ‘in the zone’ before planting the following delivery into point’s hands for a valuable 37 . For the Stallions it was too late and DCC had slammed the stable door shut on the metaphorical bolting horse breaking several of its vertebrae in the process. It only remained for Big Ben to emerge with his shotgun and put the beast out of its misery.

Out the broad-shouldered Kiwi strode with a look in his eye that declared he was not only there to see DCC home, but that there would be no mercy in his actions. The bowler ran in. Thud. A few reverent nods and a smile from the umpire. Seconds ticked away. Like Tom Drummond on a dance floor, the umpire’s finger was raised skywards in the most contentious of decisions. Ben, utterly perplexed, took a deep breath, nodded acknowledgement to the umpire and tucked his bat under his arm before making the long walk back to the hutch. He knew a bad decision had been pronounced on this morning, but ‘the umpire’s judgement is final and must always be respected’ he informed his stunned teammates.

In any case, Brian (who in no way resembles a jockey) was riding these Stallions like AP McCoy at Cheltenham and the finish line was within reach. The final furlong consisted of Jules and the beamer-loving, man-of-the-match viciously thrashing the bowling over an ever-constricting field – the only valid theory for such poor decision-making by the Stallions captain was that he had Ketamined-up during the drinks break, having considered the floccinaucinihilipilification of his predicament, and was dozing in the paddock.

Ultimately, DCC won at a canter with six overs and four wickets to spare and knew that if they took down one of the planet’s most docile mammals, the Wombats, they would be in the final. The Stallions departed for the stables with their tails (despite having spend 40+ ball in the middle, Brian was none-the-wiser…) between their legs. A happy DCC team departed for home with the promise of more horse play and the rasping tones of Tina Turner’s early-90’s classic ‘(Simply) The Best’ ringing in their ears.

Given the eventual ease with which DCC took down the Stallions, it would be disappointing if the culling of a lowly Australian marsupial were not realised next week.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Cookout Kings – words by Jon Houghton

10am – I woke up with a sense of anticipation. Was it because it was Valentine’s Day? Or perhaps I thought England might surprise everyone by beating the Aussies at the MCG? Nope, it was the world renowned Master Chef cook off taking place in the afternoon at the Dubai International Marine Club. I rolled out of bed with a rather strange looking women next me, could it be that on V Day I had finally found the love of my life? I dragged myself downstairs to see the Aussies absolutely smashing England in the cricket much to Kym’s amusement. It was while I watched yet another embarrassing English performance in Australia that I pondered asking the all-important question to my date. ‘Did we meet in Societe or Rock Bottom?’ Alas love can wait another day. Now onto the cooking competition…
12pm – Darjeeling were skippered by Nick Harvey with a supporting cast of Kym Harris, Andrew ‘Chef’ Mathews and Jon Houghton. We decided to meet early in Barasti in order to discuss cooking tactics. How could Kym, Nick and I look busy while our very own Chef prepared the meal? The first order of the day was the make sure we didn’t call Andrew by his nickname, especially in front of our nemesis – The Loose Cannons. If he were to be asked what his profession is he would simply reply with ‘I’m a car salesman and left arm pie chucker’.
2pm – We arrived at the scene of Darjeeling’s biggest challenge yet and after seeing what foods we would have to use Chef quietly tapped Nick on the shoulder…’We’ll win this.’  It was on. Having agreed upon the batting order, our role was simply to give as much of the strike to Chef.
2.40pm – Chef took the lead cutting and marinating the steak with Nick ferociously chopping away while Kym and I stood by the BBQ discussing how to grill the perfect pepper (And asking Chef every two minutes if they were ready). To liven things up a bit I walked over to the Cannons’ cooking station and began recounting THAT infamous Sting night in Abu Dhabi, this obviously had an impact on Moxey’s concentration as he overcooked his steak. Darjeeling 1 Cannons 0. At this point my team mates called me back as I was tasked with the very important job of adding pepper onto our peppers, an easy task some might think but this was the make or break point of the competition so the pressure was on…As I tried applying the pepper disaster struck and I broke the shaker and covered our peppers with an entire bottle of corn pepper. Never has the caption of ‘You had one job’ applied more appropriately.
3.20pm – The meals were cooked and ready to be judged. As we eagerly awaited the results, the Judge came back out and announced that our very own Darjeeling Cricket Club had won and qualified for the Final! (Winning a brand new Weber BBQ in the process).  We had finally extracted revenge on the Cannons for all those one sided games we have recently had against them. After taking a couple more parting shots at them we retired to the bar waiting for our 5.30pm final. Round 1 Man of the Match was Chef for a well-paced ton with invaluable contributions from Kym, Nick and I.
5.30pm – Pissed. The final began with some of Darjeeling’s team members looking a little worse for wear. The ‘secret’ ingredients for the final were a Lamb shank, sweet potato and various fruits. After a five minute board meeting where Nick made numerous suggestions to Chef about what we should make, we unanimously agreed we would listen to what Chef said and follow his orders. As I don’t remember much of the next 40 minutes I’ll cut to the result. We lost to a team of Emirati men & women as we had apparently added too much salt and garlic…If only I was tasked with adding pepper again…Net result – Chef got a first baller and the game was as good as done after that. His hotel will be getting a letter from me complaining about his excessive use of garlic!
6.15pm – A very enjoyable day with excellent support from Kym’s mum, Chef’s missus and non-other than Olly Higgens (When the F@%k are you back playing cricket?!). A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon with beverages, friends, laughs and pepper. As always thanks to Nick for organising it and Chef for winning us a free BBQ!