Awali from Bahrain were busy practising in the nets, in their banana yellow pyjamas, as the Darjeeling boys arrived at the ICC Global Cricket Academy Oval 1, obviously looking for revenge from their last visit to Dubai.
Nick Harvey the Darjeeling skipper for the night got off on the right foot, winning the toss and electing to put the Bahraini’s into the field. Opening with the pairing of Foley and Dommett who were keeping the scoreboard ticking along at 7 an over until Foley spooned one back to Chris Bloodworth (4 – 26 – 1) for a caught and bowled for 13. Chris Neal joined Chris Dommett in the middle with the pairing upping the tempo to 8 an over, with Dommett reaching his half century in 50 balls, with Chris Neal on 48, deciding to try and get one round the corner, stepping too far across his stumps to get skittled by Guy Parker (4 – 29 – 1) with Darjeeling on 117-2 Captain Harvey striding into the middle to make a brief cameo appearance for a quickfire 10 off 6 balls before the slightest of touches down the leg side for Paddy Bateson to pouch to the delight of Nick Bishop (4 – 44 -1). After a lengthy absence from cricket, Andy Tideswell joined Dommett and both kept the run rate around the 8 an over pace, after the allotted 22 overs Chris Dommett (74 not out) and AT (25 not out) Darjeeling had amassed 182 – 3.
A brief rest period and Darjeeling were out in the field chomping at the bit to put Awali to the sword. Julius Mooney steaming in from the Kindergarten End took only six balls to see Paul Baker (1) back to the Pavilion after shattering the stumps. David Mariadson bowling meanly only giving 3 in his first over. Then controversy as an adjudged LBW for Mooney against Doug Perrins, the Awali skipper, who was walking, was called back by the Darjeeling skipper, Julius was definitely not a happy Teddy!!
Justice was served in the 6th over as Mariadson (4 – 24 – 1) had Perrins trapped LBW, this time these was no reprise and Awali on 46 – 2. Charles Forward was starting to amass the runs with Graham Hoar ably assisting until Nick Harvey (4 – 17 – 1) struck in the 11th over with a thin inside edge to Chris Dommett, with no hesitation or signal from the umpire Forward marched back to the dressing room. Nick Bishop joined Hoar for a 16 run partnership before succumbing to an easy catch for Mooney off Matthewson (4 – 24 – 1) CD Kotze (3 – 23 – 0) Mohit Manwani (2 – 11 – 0) and Chris Neal (1 – 13 – 0) yielded no more wickets but the bowlers keeping it tight enough to restrict Awali to 149 – 4 of their 22 overs.
An early start was in store for Darjeeling, but incredibly managed to get all 11 men there before the opposition. The usual stench of stale alcohol and cigarettes filled the changing room, with Julius being the only exception as he now only drinks water and smokes an electronic liquid tube! Nick Harvey then tried to cure hangovers by opening a boiling hot bottle of Jäegermeister, and Gary Turner was put in charge of dishing it round the lads and demanding you take a “man’s swig” of the devils juice.
Noel, who looked like some kind of cartoon puppet when he walked in with his youngest son’s white shirt on, was again given the honour of leading the troops. He won the toss, elected to bat and made his first masterstroke of the day by announcing Badger would accompany Brown at the top of the order and stride out at number 1!
After months of anticipation, Badger took the first ball of the day and got an almighty roar from the crowd as he nicked one through the gully for a welcomed boundary. Darjeeling got off to a flyer with a breezy 20 by Brown, and a short cameo from Chris N, before been cleaned up by a full toss. There was confusion on whether or not it was a no-ball, but it is very difficult to argue when you lose your off stump, and have to walk past it on your way to the changing rooms.
Darjeeling then consolidated with Anthony working the ball around and Badger “the anchor” still playing and missing every other ball. When Anthony departed the last ball before drinks, Badger was to walk off to a standing ovation for his 45 ball 29*. However, everyone’s hopes turned to despair when he decided he’d had enough and wanted to retire. Rumours were spreading that fitness may have had a part to play, but it was later confirmed that he was getting the shakes as he’d not had a Benson & Hedges for at least an hour! A new record that will take some beating.
Julius and Gary were to take the crease after drinks and their innings couldn’t have been more different. Gary played a fluid run a ball 27, with a little help from the keeper, who dropped the worst catch I think weI will ever see. Julius or Julia as he was known on the electronic scoreboard was under pressure from ball 1. Myself and Jonno (who had dragged himself out of bed to watch) had told him to stop being so selfish and to “crowd please” for once in his life. With this seed now planted, he scratched and prodded his way around for what seemed like 3 days! Messages were being sent via walkie talkie for him to kick his stumps over, and although he tried as hard as he could to get out, the fielders just couldn’t help us out. His mammoth stay was eventually ended by a sharp grab at slip and Teddy departed for a prolonged 11. This turned out to be a blessing for Darjeeling as this brought MOM Nick Harvey to the crease and he blazed his way to a 25 ball 50. A real impetus that was needed, and he and Noel upped the run rate in the latter stages to set the visitors a tricky 217.
The visitors got off to a flyer with Julius and Josh bowling a real mixed bag. Both got unlucky, beating the edge on numerous occasions, but boundaries were leaked and the visitors were above the rate in the first 5/6 overs. Julius then struck twice in two balls (the 2nd being a debatable LBW decision by stand in umpire Jonno) which turned the game back in our favour.
Noel was rotating the bowlers well and Chris N and Chris “the scorer” Tebb put a squeeze on, going at under 6 an over. For those wondering why Chris T is nicknamed the scorer, you won’t believe it until you’ve seen the book. He was either a very lonely young man, not quite good enough to make the senior side, or enjoyed picking up 20 quid every Saturday. No matter the reason, his multi-coloured scorebook and his performance on the electronic scoreboard was a very close runner up to Nick Harvey for MOM! Not many enjoy the luxury of scoring, and his efforts were well appreciated by all and in particular Badger who was attached to an oxygen machine in the dressing room and unable to score after his 13 over stay at the crease.
With the run rate now climbing, who better to take advantage of the conditions than Gary and Badger. Their opener Charles was the only player who could still take the game away from us and when Gary had him caught at short extra cover by Anthony who was fantastic in the field, Badgers eyes lightened up on the arrival of “the rabbits”. I can’t finish talking about Gary without mentioning his maiden over! Only the 2nd of the day, but his was the only one that counted as he was bowling at someone who could hold a bat. The other maiden being bowled at Badger earlier in the day with 6 plays and misses infuriating the opposition skipper.
Badger gladly helped himself to a couple of wickets, and MOM Nick Harvey bowled a tight spell to back his batting up and also chipped in with a wicket. Josh at this point was in the captains ear ensuring Noel he was warmed up and ready for another chuck. Noel contemplated this, but with the run rate now at 28 runs an over, he just couldn’t be risked! Instead, the skipper went for experience and threw the ball to Simon Fowler who’s trusty dobbers earned himself a wicket and made a win now impossible for the visitors.
There was still some action to be played as Julius was on a hat trick from earlier. He charged down the hill and bowled his quickest delivery of the day (clocked at 48mph) but the shuffly Guy Parker safely dealt with it. Julius was to grab another wicket with the penultimate delivery of the game and was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-0-25-3. The opposition finishing 47 runs short, and a convincing win for Darjeeling.
A game played in superb spirits, and the Bahraini lads were extremely accommodating after the game allowing us to drink all their beverages. Shirt presentations were carried out by Nick Harvey and by the time the 5th bottle had gone down, it was nailed on that we will be visiting Bahrain in the near future for a rematch.
Yet again another warm afternoon in prospect at the ICC Global Cricket Academy, Brian Scholtz as Skipper lost the toss as usual, and Darjeeling were doomed to the first 20 overs in the field.
With two of the Darjeeling boys still having failed to appear on time, Loose Cannons Skipper Richard Bradstock kindly lent the fielding side 2 able bodied men.
Brian took the new ball himself, hoping to bowl the ball a tad straighter than his previous wayward spell only getting shipped for 8 in the opening over, relying on youth and exuberance from the Academy End our junior player Jacob Raymond kept the ball straight, with the opening batsmen, Clint Birkenshaw and James Elliott-Square rotating the strike for the Cannons. CD Kotze came into the attack in the 5th over hoping to stem the flow of runs, currently over 10 an over, and proceeded to gift the visitors a 22 run over. The Cannons were in full flow and all the bowling options that Darjeeling offered resulted in runs, Ben Jacob, Ash Banerjee, Stuart Matthewson and Gibbon Human all getting carted around the ground.
James Elliott-Square finally departed cleaned out by James Grisdale on the last ball of the 16th over for a fluent 81, the partnership of 188 having done the damage, Ash Taylor joined Clint in the middle for a four over onslaught on the Darjeeling bowling, with the Loose Cannons blasting 94 to finish on 282 – 1 in their 20 overs, with Clint Birkenshaw 142 off 65 balls and Ash Taylor 31 off 12 balls.
Looking at the unenviable task of setting off chasing over 14 an over, Brian Scholtz went for a Jonathan Houghton – James Grisdale partnership hoping that these two could get Darjeeling on track in the run chase, the reality kicking in on the 4th ball as Jonno was cleaned out by Nick Anderson. Chris Dommett strode determinedly to the crease and with his first scoring shot drilled a boundary; his fourth ball saw him waving his bat at a loose delivery from Tauseef Qadri to get caught behind. This brought together the high octane partnership of Brian Scholtz and James Grisdale. With a 21 partnership in full flow Brian found himself trapped LBW by Nick Anderson, bringing the left handed Noel Raymond to the crease for an 11 run partnership, before Big Gris going for a quick single found himself narrowly coming up short with Darjeeling finding themselves in all sorts of trouble at 39 – 4. With Jacob Raymond joining his dad at the crease the biggest of the afternoon’s partnerships was formed with 37 before Noel finally departed for 23, Ben Jacob joined his brother before being ruthlessly bowled by Bradstock. With the over’s diminishing and the tail looking very fragile wickets fell regularly with Jacob going for (9), Ash Banerjee(6) and CD Kotze (1) bought the unlikely paitring of Gibbon Human and Stuart Matthewson to the middle to try and avert a total humiliation with three and a half overs still to be bowled and with Darjeeling sitting on 90 – 9!! This pairing bought the third highest partnership of the day of 20, mainly gifted by wides with scoring shots consisting of two fours and a double. Darjeeling finishing well short of the target on 110 – 9 losing by 172 runs!!
Farooq CC (supported by du) squared off against Darjeeling Cricket Club (supported by du) in a friendly 40 over game @ the Fairgrounds Oval yesterday (8th March 2013).
Winning the toss and electing to bat first, Farooq CC were rocked back in the second over of the innings when Rashid Khan was cleaned up by Adel Farooq for a duck. From then on, it was all Farooq CC with two big partnerships, the first (143 Runs) between Ahmed Shaukat and Qais Farooq and the second (74 runs) between Qais Farooq and Waqas Khan with Farooq CC getting a competitive 269/4 at the end of the innings.
Qais Farooq played a stellar knock (although he was assisted by a couple of dropped chances) to score a superb 102 not out in 116 balls (9 x 4s) with Ahmed Shaukat (86 off 88 balls, 9 x 4s) and Waqas Khan (41 off 24 balls, 5 x 4s, 1 x 6s) being the other main contributors. For Darjeeling CC, Gris (7/0/37/0), Adel Farooq (7/0/53/1) and Ben (3/0/22/1) were the main bowlers.
Chasing a competitive target, Darjeeling got off to a sedate but stable start as J Houghton (24 off 34 balls, 3x4s) and N Raymond (67 off 115 balls, 9x4s) put on a decent 41 run partnership before Adel Reyal (5/0/34/3) picked up a couple of quick wickets to peg Darjeeling CC back to 76/4. The fall of the 4th wicket brought Adel Farooq to the crease and he, along with N Raymond, put together a brisk 100 run partnership in an attempt to bring Darjeeling CC back into the game. Adel scored a superb 44 off 48 deliveries (3x4s,3x6s) before being dismissed. Qais Farooq followed up his batting performance with a wonderful bowling performance (8/2/41/3), the match ending with Farooq CC (supported by du) winning the match by 84 runs.
Friday saw Darjeeling take on a slightly weakened Loose Canons team. After the last performance against them this was much needed.
The day began with several of the players typically showing up hungover. Thankfully Chris won the toss and elected to bat. Unfortunately though he decided to open up with the two most hungover players with yours truly and Steve Brown (with Grisdale still missing).
The brave decision by the captain was quickly vindicated as Darjeeling got off to a flyer with a scoring rate comfortably over 10 an over. The two openers made light work of some average bowling posting an opening partnership of 136 in the 12th over with yours truly out LBW (Questionably?) for a fine 68 off 37 balls with 52 runs coming through the leg side. Stevie followed soon after for a very well made 57 from 36 balls caught at point – Darjeeling being 145-2 in 12.3 overs at this stage. In came Olly and Nathan to slow down Darjeeling’s scoring rate with a partnership off 87 in just under 10 overs ending with Nathan being caught for 36. In came Pete and back out he went. First ball. A determined Grisdale stumbled towards the wicket hitting two huge sixes of his first two balls before being caught by the traitor hitting towards the longest boundary against the wind – falling one yard short from a third consecutive six. Captain Magnificent (Yes I want to open again) came in for the last 10 balls scoring a quick 15 from 8 balls with Olly anchoring the innings for an excellent 42 ball 52*.
Darjeeling finishing on 274-5 in our 25 overs no thanks to the opposition bowling 25 wides and 7 no balls. The traitor comfortably had their best bowling figures going for 25 in his three overs with no wickets while Bradders finished one short of his 50 in his three overs.
Darjeeling feeling confident of a win strode out to the middle knowing that Bradders was the key man to get out early. Grisdale and Gary Turner opened up with Gary getting a wicket in his first over bowling a full toss which the batsmen hit to short extra with yours truly taking a stunning one handed catch. Bradders soon got hold of Gary though hitting him for 21 of his third over and looking good. Ash could and should have made a better effort to catch a top edged pull from Gris’ bowling however instead decided to take a couple of steps backwards before watching the ball land behind him. Fortunately for Darjeeling Gris soon got his man caught at point – an excellent diving catch by Olly – to remove Bradders for an aggressive 56 off just 26 balls. Luckily Captain AT was not playing and fielding in his usual point position as surely that would have gone for four. This left the Loose Canons on 73-2 in 6.4 overs with the traitor coming in. Grisdale finishing on four overs 1 for 35 and Gary T four overs 1 for 43.
Darjeeling then began to take wickets regularly with Olly taking a wicket in his second over – a superb catch by yours truly running towards third man and taking a skier over his shoulder. Not all of Darjeeling’s members were quite on the ball as yours truly was and some very average fielding followed culminating with Captain Magnificent labeling some of the fielding as ‘toilet’ before dropping a sitter himself which Stevie was quick to point out.
On came the spinners Moxey, Badger and Ash keeping things tight and picking up wickets at regular intervals. Ash with the pick of the figures finishing on 3-44 in his five overs while Badger bowled five tight overs only conceding 34-1 while Moxey went for 38-1 from four overs. Loose Canons finishing on 221-8 from their 25 overs with the traitor ending up on a fine 63* from 59 balls. A convincing 53 run win for the mighty Darjeeling who put on a great show for their fans (AT, Sackers and Brian)
A great days cricket had by all with special mention to Pete Foley who played his first game in a long time and got out first ball however some exceptional looking dives in the field (even though nowhere near the ball) will keep him in contention for selection next week. A few cheap beverages at Girders followed before those left standing went to Barasti.
On what can only be described as a perfect day for cricket the Darjeeling Cricket Club took on an unknown rival (later to be identified as a team we thrashed before at SES) on the smaller pitch at the ICC and previous venue of a fine Grisdale batting display.
While indulging in in a fast-growing pre-match ritual of devouring a choice of Burger King or Hardy’s pre-match chatter was mostly centered around certain members’ conquests of the the previous, Jono AKA The Darjeeling Bicycle sharing what he described as a stereotypical Dubai hookup with a teacher and Greg adding that he for the first time saw a certain member of the DCC known for his anger management issues showing a softer side, the table was set for a standard random day at the home of DCC.
With members arriving from 12:30 to 1:15 for a 12:45 team get together and some confusion caused by the term “bring a few scoops” amongst the internationals of DCC, the source of the confusion and the second-last player to arrive, Gary Turner AKA the Guv’nor was selected to Captain the side, due to club captain Chris Dommett’s reluctance to captain the team from keeper, against the Wombats/Nomads/ Without a Name, which at this stage had 3 players at the ground consisting of two slightly portly cricketers and a gentleman resembling a Bollywood actor playing the role of the Rambo of the cricket field.
With the classic line of “my team is still coming from Friday prayers” uttered by the opposition captain, the Guv’nor proceeded to win the toss and in true DCC form, elected to bat, a decision not driven by tactical prowess but by a culture of Friday hangovers and a memory of desert weather conditions. So the day of normal randomness continued as DCC Umpire Shiju and Umpire Banerjee took to the field to call ‘Play’ on a 25-over match.
Out strode Sackers and the Bicycle to open the batting against the Wombats who were at this stage recognized as a team we played before when an aforementioned DCC member with anger management issues scored 90 against Sharjah and were outplayed by DCC. The opposition by this time had grown to 9 players with two of their team still praying hard.
Sackers started scoring from some Jonathan Trott-like shots but not in true Sackers style gave away his wicket softly with a practice catch to the opposition off the bowling of Hamad, before the opposition had reached the full complement of 11 fielders.
Out strode Greg Moses to the pitch with his signature fisherman’s hat and a bat won for player of the tournament in Chiang Mai. His feng shui just seemed right after having witnessed the first time emotional display and armed with a new pre batting ritual involving two fingers and a foul smell (details of which are being withheld due to the open nature of Facebook and fear of having to enter into a witness protection program for revealing them) Mr. Share the Love himself went on to build a Rahul Dravid rock of an innings.
In the meantime, more and more scoops (beverages, biere, brews, lagers, XXXX’s etc, for the rest of us non Oldham Athletic supporters) were being enjoyed next to the pitch, which bode well for the banter but perhaps not the batting performance needed by the middle order.
Bicycle, during all this, started his innings nervously, very unlike a man with his Casanova-like exploits but started to find his stride not too long after Mr. Moses walked in, and proceeded to bash a few fours for a very good 40 and an innings-defining partnership of 73 with Greg before being bowled by “one that kept straight” otherwise known as a “beauty” from the bowling of Moiz, who was proving to be a be a bit of a thorn in the side of the Darjeeling run rate along with Taz “Sharapova” who had a Shoaib Ahktar like run up and a Maria Sharapova like grunt upon delivery.
Unfortunately, a batting collapse reminiscent of the England cricket team of the nineties, South Africa in a Cricket World Cup or the more recent collapse of the Pakistan middle order in their previous test in South Africa, commenced with depressing ease.
First came and went the reluctant captain, usually dominant, out for 1, bowled by Haroon, followed by the self-proclaimed agricultural cricketer, Nathan Cartwright, out for 6, bowled by Abid.
Which led to an attempt at an innings-stabilizing 7 of 9 balls innings (Strike rate significantly helped by 4 overthrows) from Jules “Tats” Mooney, caught off Moiz with teddy bears, rattles and puzzles lining the way back to the changing room along with some choice words. Which brought in Mr. Comeback, Nick Harvey, who was soon after caught off the bowling of Hamad for 4.
All this action happening while Greg was building a beautiful game-saving attempt of an innings on the other side of the scooped-up middle order, while bravely trying to hide the pain of his pulled hammie and fighting the burning sensation in his nostrils. The question being raised at this point, will Mr. Share the Love be able to bowl with a pulled hammie, since we were looking a little bit short of a few wicket takers, which as we all know, is crucial for winning a game of cricket.
Finally, after a serious batting wobble, in strode Gully, red-eyed from a week-long visit from his wife’s cousin and looking brittle, therefore setting the opposition bowlers at ease, to bring some form of support for the superb innings being played by Greg.
After feeding the strike to Greg with three well-taken singles, the gentleman out in the middle realized that Greg running with a pulled hamstring was not in the spirit of Darjeeling Cricket, so Gully decided to let loose and hit two classy fours before trying one shot too far and was caught off the bowling of Taz (of the Sharapova kind, not to be mistaken with the Tasmanian kind) for a crucial 11.
In strode the “taking one for the team” player of the day, your’s truly, to witness some brutal hitting by Greg, a short run of a very well-taken two runs (disputed with the umpire, the first of two dubious umpiring calls for the day) and a brave sacrifice run-out to protect the Batsman of the Day’s wicket for a well-run duck without facing a ball.
This left only one ball of the innings which Greg proceeded to hit through the air, only to be dropped and ending the innings, carrying his bat, for a long overdue 108, his first 100 after the sad demise of the Darjeeling Cricket Club grounds in 2008, may she rest in peace.
With a softish target of 207 set for the opposition, Darjeeling took to the field and after a brief stint of enthusiastic fielding practice, set about defending their total, opening the bowling with the deceptive Gully from the Academy End and Jules from the School End as a well-fuelled Gris replaced Ash to umpire for the first 10 overs, while the latter tucked into a Stella or two.
The opening bowlers proceeded to keep it about as tight as a loosely-tied westminster tie, with some quality dot balls mixed in with some good balls dispatched to the boundary, but there was hope in Darjeeling’s slightly scooped-up blurry eyes when Jules took the wicket of Mannu sharply caught by the candidate of comeback player of the year, Nick Harvey for 5, which brought to the crease a blue padded, Inzamam ul-Haq like communicator between the wickets, Omar.
Gully proceeded to bowl his five overs on the trot, which is no mean fitness feat for any DCC bowler, unlucky to end his spell wicketless, conceding 44 runs and with Jules finishing 4 of his overs on at the other end with figures of 1 for 38, Darjeeling were still battling hard to stay in the game.
During Jules’ spell, the second dubious call of the day was made when Gris called a (low) slow ball full toss a no ball, which brought about a pleasant exchange of shits and giggles between the Guv’nor and Jules and said umpire, with the other umpire proclaiming his support for his fellow umpire with a well timed: “What to do?”. The call was also later falsely blamed on the innocent square leg fielder.
Jules was replaced by Nick at the school end and he came in to bowl like a man who did not spend any time away from the game with an injury. Nick was the only other wicket taker in the innings bowling Karan “Bollywood Rambo” with a pearler for a well played and showy 62. Nick ending the day the pick of the Darjeeling bowlers with 1 for 38 of his 4 overs.
The Bicycle then replaced Gully at the academy end and clearly thought that a slow full toss would be his stock ball of the day, with ‘Taz’ Tauseef, who replaced the Bollywood Rambo and the blue-padded Omar proceeding to take advantage of the fine weather and friendly pitch, though rarely used by the Bicycle. Not even a change of ends stopped the full toss frenzy and Jono ended the day with an uncharacteristic 52 runs of his 5 overs with no wickets.
Mohit was brought on to replace the Bicycle and stem the flow of runs and did a great job in his first over, but unfortunately, consistency let him down in the second and Mo was knocked around a bit in his second for figures of 0 for 21.
it was now clear that Greg’s hammie was costing us on the bowling front with the aforementioned lack of wicket-takers taking effect, facing a team spurred on by the wild celebrations and Asian drums from the other pitch, where a corporate cricket day was in full swing with spectators lining up for food boxes, etc.
With Darjeeling’s fielding being good to pretty good despite a few misfields, a dropped catch and a half-chance, we could not take any benefit from some poor running from Omar and Tauseef as they merrily continued chipping away at the target, getting the Wombats into a very comfortable position.
The Guv’nor brought himself on to replace Mohit for one over and went for 12 runs in the 19th over of the game, leaving the Wombats 2 runs to get with 5 overs remaining.
On came CD, some say a little too late, and after 3 balls and a hamstring-inspired misfield, the game was all over, the Wombats beating Darjeeling by 8 wickets with several overs to spare.
Despite the loss, it was a thoroughly enjoyable game made better by great banter, scandalous dressing room stories and good opposition who understand the spirit of cricket.
The Wombats were worthy opponents and with a bit more depth on the bowling front, they are very beatable.
Unfortunately, I cannot do a Girders report, but judging by the pace of scoops being consumed until the time we were asked to leave the dressing room, some quality shenanigans were had.