The afternoon started off with a strange sensation, with me reaching Sharjah, on time, and on my own accord and without the scenic tour of the local attractions. The opposition were on time and wearing whites another strange sensation from the last couple of weeks. Soon after this normality was resumed as Ash sweet talked their captain out of a toss, invoking the Darjeeling “we bat first rule”. I make it sound easy but at one point a coin even came out, driving Ash into the sympathetic “we always bat first, and don’t worry we are just here to enjoy ourselves and if we hit it we will walk”. And it wasn’t too soon till our first batsman walked/hobbled/fancied a savannah. It was a dubious pre game “hamstring injury” but I suppose without jDOTbrown any where to be seen we needed someone’s injury to talk about. So Andrew walked for 7. Israr was next to come in, and within minutes had ummed and arred a little too long over an “easy three” and ran himself out for 3. The last time he was in a similar situation he was “umming and arring” over a solid 6 and Badgers housemate jumped in and stole the glory at the annual dinner – Malcolm Gladwells Blink is on order Israr.
In the mean time Chris D was making some strong strides at the crease and partnered well with first Brad and then Greg before getting out for 47 of 42 with Brad getting 12. Greg steadied the ship with a couple of 6’s and some warm words with anyone smaller than him, so the full 11 which could explain the slight over celebration by the oppo of his wicket as his self proclaimed “most frustrating innings of his life” came to an end for 34. Nathan “crease hogger” saw the innings out making both Etiene and then Ash keep their pulses up with 22 yard intervals., normally in multiples unless it was the end of the over. A good finish with NCH on 33 off 22 and Ash 2 both not out. Darjeeling were 174 for 5 after 25.
I had heard rumours we had a sub, and after a quick search around the grounds snoring was heard coming from one of the school buildings. Soon after Mohit was dug out from his first sleep in 30 hours and thrown into the field leaving the injured Andrew to umpire.
It was a surreal and dream start for Darjeeling with Israr pitching the first ball up and getting a thick edge straight up in the air which they decided to run, leaving Chris D an easy run out. Where the next couple overs from both Greg and Israr were slow in runs and wickets , manly due to a dropped catch from Liam, they made up for it in line length and pace. Greg had their one batsman looking like he was playing on a Wii as he tried to chase the ball around the crease. Greg finally got a plum LBW and finished up with 5 overs 4 runs 1 wicket with Isr no wickets for 23 off 5.
Etienne and the HASS were on next and needled into their batting attack with them both giving the Sri Lankans the opportunity to get back into the game by getting hit around the park before Etienne took two quick caught behind wickets. Although their left hander was handed a number of chances which can only be “put down” to some woeful catching, with the worst probably coming from Liam again, it was have been easier to swallow the ball than drop it. With them needing a run rate of over 10 an over it was time to bring on our spinners for a bit of temptation, a brave choice with our dropping performance but Ash delivered some corking top spin bouncers to get 4 wickets, including a stumping, from 2.3 over for very little runs with Neil getting 2 wickets off 3 overs for 22.
It was easy to tell that they had given up as the score book became rather lack lustre towards the end.
Tough one for MoM, some great bowling from both Greg and Ash, and cracking batting from Greg and Nathan, but Chris D’s 47 and great work behind the stumps edges it for me.
There was much anticipation in the lead up of this game against The Lions at SES. Our Skipper for the day was Boom Boom Jason. The start of the match wasn’t encouraging with only eight DCC guys showed up on time ( I suspect the rest were still recovering from their hangover after over indulgence of some sort the night before). At the toss we had no option but to bat first which seemed a sensible decision as our opening pair of Israr and A Lang put on 42 runs for the opening wicket after 7 overs.
Israr departed after making 24 runs and looked in good nick before being caught on the boundary. A Lang was caught and bowled for 13 the next over with the score on 47. It was up to Johno and Jason to build on the innings. Jason was out for 3 runs, bowled by one of their chucker’s with a suspect action. With the score on 52 or 3 there was some panic in the dressing room, then Kym strode to the crease and made 8 runs before being caught, the score was 70 for 4. Gully was out for a duck and the score became 70 for 5. Johno in the meantime was batting well, and when Ash came out to Bat they both steadied the sinking DCC Ship to post 122 after 20 overs. Johno made an unbeaten 50 with 2 4s and 1 6. Ash played well for an unbeaten 11 runs of 8 balls. However the DCC total of 122 was never going to be enough and we were at least 30 runs short. The extras column was the third highest score at 14.
Now it was up to our bowlers to perform some of their magic if we were to defend a a below par 122. Israr opened the bowling along with Gully and Israr was bowling with pace and bounce and had some of the Lions batsmen in trouble. He finally got a wicket in his second spell clean bowling on of the Lions Batsmen for a duck. By then the match was pretty much over though. The Lions opening batsmen made a solid start with the openers making 15 and 38 respectively. We were never in the game as we needed to take wickets regularly and hold on to our catches, (we dropped a couple of absolute sitters). Dave got the first wicket after their opener was caught for 15 with their score on 70 odd. After Dave and CD had finished their spell, the spin doctors Ash and Kym were called into the attack and both bowled tight spells. The next wicket to go was their other opening batsmen who scored 38 after being stumped by Johno of the bowling of Ash ( Score was 90 odd for 2). Mohit also bowled an over. The Has was called into the attack and bowled his usual fiery spell and picked up a wicket towards the end with the score on around 115.Here are the DCC bowling figures.
Israr – 3 overs 1 for 16
Gully – 3 overs 0 – 25
Dave – 3 overs 1 – 28 Ash – 3 overs 1 – 16
CD – 2 overs 0 – 20
Kym – 2 overs 0 – 15
Mohit – 1 over 0- 10
Hasan – 2.3 overs 1- 8
The match lasted until the 19th over with the Lions chasing 122 with 6 wickets in hand. All in all a disappointing result, but am sure we should bounce back strongly.
Venue: Sharjah English School
Teams: Darjeeling CC v Something Champs (No name on the score sheet!)
Conditions: 25-30 degrees. Clear blue skies.
Hangover: Worst for wear after a long night out with Brownie and Gully and two hours sleep.
The day began with Darjeeling 23-0 after three overs. This is mainly due to the fact the game began with two members failing to show up on time with Houghton being in Albania the night before and waiting for an ‘airport pick up’ from Gully who as always was running late. Eventually both members arrived and were informed that Captain for the day Gary Turner negotiated the toss by explaining to the opposition captain ‘We are Darjeeling, if you want to play us we bat first’ if only all Darjeeling captains followed Captain Turners lead. Brownie and Dommett opened up and put on a solid partnership before The Domminator was bowled for 13 with a couple of expertly guided edges for 4. Darjeeling starting well on 46-1 after 5 overs.
Houghton batting at 7 needed to make some quick inroads and advised Dannie ‘the lol’ Rees to get out as soon as possible with Dannie quickly obliging being caught for what can only be described as an adventurous 7. Meanwhile Brownie was knocking it around confidently and looking good. In came Jason Brown who was quickly targeted by the square leg fielder who observantly pointed out that J.Brown could well be a run out candidate – J.Brown chirping back by saying ‘I’m faster than I look’. That theory would quickly be tested. In other news Brownie was clearly upset that his mates Jonno and Gully hadn’t come in to bat with him, he therefore took it upon himself to make sure this happened as soon as possible and duly ran J. Brown out without him facing a ball – direct hit by said square leg fielder. Darjeeling now struggling on 56-3 after 8 overs.
In came Brandon and he immediately took a liking to the bowling knocking them around before Brownie was caught top edging one for a well-made 37. Israr was next and put on a good partnership with Brandon worth 45 before being cleaned up for 14 trying to up the scoring rate. Darjeeling now 128-5 after 17 overs needed a strong finish to the innings to post a competitive score. In came Houghton scoring a quick 12 caught at long off, Andrew Laing bowled for 4, Brandon sacrificing his wicket trying to steal a quick single run out for a very well made 44 with 5×4’s. Captain Turner coming in for the last ball scoring 1*. Darjeeling finishing up on a respectable 158-8 in 20 overs on a slow outfield.
Attention now turned to what bowling options Captain Turner had available and there certainly was not much to choose from with only Israr and Gully (debatably) classified as our quicks. Nevertheless Darjeeling strode out confidently with Israr taking the first over. Israr and Gully began well keeping things tight with Israr having an absolutely stone wall LBW turned down by – in the words of Captain Turner himself – ‘cheating fuc$%@£&king C%^un$ts’ or words to that effect and Israr chipping in by telling the umpire ‘It’s because of people like you that Pakistanis have such a bad reputation’ NB: It could well have been slightly more X-rated than that. Soon after, Gully made the first breakthrough with an equally outrageous LBW decision – bowling around the wicket to a right hander, hitting his thigh pad and the umpire raising his finger. Gully finishing up 3-0-23-1 and Israr a very economical 4-0-16-0 unfortunate not to take a wicket. Opposition now behind the required rate at 39-1 after 7 overs.
Captain Turner strategically or perhaps through no other choice took the pace off the ball by introducing Brownie and the LOL who kept things tight before Brownie and Dannie both got hit for 13 and 18 in their last overs bringing the opposition back into the game approx. 100-1 in 14 overs. Perhaps unsurprisingly the Darjeeling fielders did not help matters with catches being shelled by Andrew Laing and twice by Houghton, sshh sshhh sshhh. Houghton however received good support from his team mates Brownie and Dannie who abused him for the next few overs with Captain Turner removing Houghton from the boundary and bringing him in the circle. The abuse obviously got to Houghton as when the ball was hit to long off he turned to throw back some abuse of his own to his ‘team mates’ at long on and deep midwicket which meant he was not following the game and failed to back up the throw from the boundary…The opposition stealing an extra single.
Brownie 4-0-23-0 and Dannie 2-0-22-0.
With the game now finely balanced and the opposition requiring 59 from the last 6 overs with 9 wickets in hand on came the star of the show Captain Turner who blew away the opposition batsmen with flight, pace, drift and guile (allegedly) taking wickets regularly including a hat trick maiden over. Captain Turner 4-1-22-5 was supported by Houghton from the other end conceding just 9 from his 3 overs at the death quieting his critics and backing up his captains decision to introduce him into the attack. Darjeeling winning comfortably by 20ish runs.
Good contributions by Brownie and Brandon with the bat with good catches by Brandon and Brownie however the Man of the Match undoubtedly belonging to Captain Turner for his 5 wicket haul. Beverages were had, banter exchanged and another enjoyable weekend of debauchery and cricket.
Captain’s Log, Stardate 29.11.2013 (Gregorian)
These are the voyages of the cricketship Darjeeling, with its mission to boldly go where no cricket club has gone before…
It was one of those rare days when the crew assembled early. By 1 pm, 9 of 11 were present, with Mo having recused himself due to a family emergency but Julius’ mate Liam co-opted as a replacement and waiting for a runabout to SES to dock with the club’s enterprise.
Liam had sent the most endearing introductory email to the club: “Julius, if you’re looking for a low-scoring pie-chucker who can’t catch, then I’m your man,” so he was in like Flynn.
All ready for battle we were, except our opponents flydubai, an avian species, were missing from the designated zone of battle. Over banter it was agreed that tardiness was unacceptable given the time of genuflection had moved up to 12:15, and the toss would need to be negotiated favourably.
By 13:30 the opponents were still scarce and it was agreed that Darjeeling would definitely have the opening salvo; Officers Laing and Ward were instructed to suit up for battle so we could engage soon after the oppo eventually arrived.
Around 13:40 the opponents began straggling in, and the skipper negotiated and agreed first dibs for the ship, while urging the opponents to hail the rest of their crew on all available frequencies and summon them to the Neutral Zone in order for the skirmish to conclude before the early sunset.
Meanwhile Liam’s runabout had still not materialised, the despatchers of Dubai Taxis off-form as usual, while flydubai were true to form, arriving late as their aircraft usually do.
Finally at 14:00 both sides maneuvered themselves onto the battle zone, the avians opening with the phazers of Asim and Praveen while Officers Laing and Ward defended with shields at 100%.
Defend they did, and how! The plan was for Andy to turn the strike over while Wardy, in his first proper batting outing for the club, used his youth, muscle and the benefit of coming in off the night shift to give the bowling a tap. But the best-laid plans of mice and men… Wardy, proficient in the art and science of fighting fires, refused to set the SES alight and decided to bat himself gently into form over an extended live net. Andy, trying to compensate under instructions from Julius (umpiring) and get the ball off the square, was drawn into unnaturally expansive but generally unfruitful shot-play. Both missed more than hit, the oppo kept dropping dollies, and after 10 overs, half-way into the battle, the good ship found itself at a sedate 45/0 with just a solitary 4 off an overthrow, while the storm-troopers Pretorius, Brown (J) and Ul Haq were champing at the bit in the grandstand.
Meanwhile, Liam’s runabout had yet to arrive at its point of departure.
Finally the first wicket fell to cynical cheers in the 11th over, Andy lbw to Ilyas for 18, and in walked Brandon and promptly moved the score along rapidly with a triplet of 2s, then a 3 and a 4, bringing the game to life and the grandstand out of its beveragey torpor.
Meanwhile, Liam’s runabout was finally en route, with its occupant (newly arrived in Dubai) clueless about where his destination lay.
After 14 overs the skipper exercised prerogative and beamed Wardy back from the holodeck, retired for 28 in the larger interests of the team’s endeavour. The virtual teddies departed the virtual pram briskly, and it needed a Yoda-esque “Sublimate your individual needs you must, to the team’s overall interests” chat to get Wardy on-side again.
Jason replaced Wardy and carted it around briefly before falling for 7 to an outrageously unlikely catch, much like Brandon for a well-made 27 in the previous over. Then Izzy walked in and set upon the bowling, cracking a quick 30 not out with four 6s, while Julius was quickly in and out for 1, and Etienne smote a quick 14 (including a pulled 6 over square-leg) before being run out, the Abu Dhabi lads doing the business.
Meanwhile, Liam’s runabout, despite the pilot being instructed precisely (Exit 64, etc.) in Urdu by Ground Control, had still not managed to deliver Major Tom.
Neil, borrowed jock-strap and all, with a quick 3-ball 6 (1×4) in the last over saw the club to a sub-par 144/5 after 20, the consensus being we were about 25 short.
(This is the first and last time I’ll plug a commercial message from the club’s current main shirt sponsor, before they are replaced by the TV-wallahs whom Badger and I have locked in for next year.)
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Given the sub-par total, the skipper fished out a Dukes newie, proclaimed “I’ve defended a paltry 90 at The Sevens so we could pull this off if we bowl and field well and keep our heads” and rallied the ship’s complement for a concerted defence.
Meanwhile, Liam’s runabout was still en route but the avians were kind enough to offer up 13-year-old Anas to field for us, and he was promptly hidden at fine leg.
The avians opened with Adnan and the redoubtable Azeem, with the former skying one to safe-as-houses Gibby at mid-on in Izzy’s first over as we celebrated the early breakthrough.
But #3 Rashid proved resolute and Azeem opportunistic against Izzy and Wardy, both swinging the Dukes ball well at pace, then against Jules and Etienne, and at the 10-over drinks break it was 67/1 with the game still in the balance, Darjeeling having bowled and fielded really well (Jason outstanding in the covers), the field in good voice in support of the bowlers.
Meanwhile, Liam’s runabout had somehow managed to find an unknown wormhole and ended up in Romulan space on the wrong side of E-311 somewhere remote in the Sharjah constellation, so he was instructed by Julius to head back, money down the drain, unfortunately.
The skipper then brought himself on to bowl the 11th from the Uni End with Neil bowling the 12th from the Tank End and removing Rashid for 29. Not too many ensued, then Azeem was well caught at long on against the setting sun by Izzy off Ash in the 13th and it was game on.
Neil got rid of #4 Aslam in the 14th but unfortunately Tanmay at #5 took 3 consecutive 6s off the rest of his over to swing the balance and it was going to be uphill from there on.
With the game still in the balance in the 16th, Izzy ran out Tanmay at the bowler’s end, but the non-striker Rizwan had made his ground at the wicky’s end, the umpires didn’t know the rules (effing numpty-fied Daleks they were!), our concerted appeal and subsequent polite discussion with the umpires and batsmen ending up fruitless and Tanmay refusing to go, proving conclusively that he wasn’t avian at all, but a Kling-on.
With Ash finishing his spell after the 17th, the fast men Izzy and Wardy bowled well briskly in the fading light as retribution for the wrong decision on the run-out, but the avians got away in the penultimate over, winning by 5 wickets with the Kling-on Tanmay 42*.
The bowling figures: Izzy 4-1-21-1, Wardy 3-0-29-0, Etienne 3-0-24-0, Julius 3-0-25-0, Ash 4-0-11-1, Neil 2-0-29-2.
So a pyrrhic victory for the old enemy, but we will fight and win another day. The reading of the book followed, over a few cold ones on the turf, the usual piss-taking and banter, then eventual departures.
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: https://vimeo.com/77318686
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.
Friday 4th October
With the summer heat still lingering the Tea Leaves took on the Desert Eagles at Sharjah. Winning the toss skipper Nick Harvey had no hesitation in forcing the Eagles into the afternoon heat. However the same decisiveness was lacking in the batting order, Noel went through 3 or 4 partners before striding to the wicket with Kym Harris. Noel looking resplendent in all white, Kym looking like he had just walked off a beach, set about watching the Eagles bowl to lines that would have been closer to the stumps on the next wicket. The first wicket was broken with Kym tamely chipping to midwicket with the score on 17 (10 wides), Greg strode to the wicket with purpose, allowing Little and Large to try and raise the total with the willow. After a breezy 18 off 9 balls, including 2 sixes, Greg edged to slip, score 47-2 (16 wides).
Next in was Dannie Rees who carried on where Greg left off but with Noel also finding 3rd gear and the ball disappearing to all parts. A wonderful partnership of 101 off 53 balls was only ended when closing in on 50 Dannie was stumped for 42 off 26. Noel then upped his scoring rate again and after a quick innings of 1 from Nick Lloyd, Noel with another ton in sight perished for 85 off 56 (11x4s & 1×6). Nick C (6), Nick H (4), Chris Ward (10*), Hasan (3) and Jacob R (1*) took the score from 20 overs to 206 for 8. The crowd was also entertained throughout by on-going fielding competitions between Nick H, Wardy and the Raymond boys with Wardy being beaten every time, until he realised that the winners were always at the other end.
After a quick-ish turn around Darjeeling took to the field confident of defending 206; Wardy opened up from the Water Tank end. What followed was a display of aggressive and tight fast bowling and after a dropped catch in the maiden first over, Chris struck with his first ball of the third over bowling the opening batsman. The other opener quickly followed in the same over after a suicidal single to Nick Lloyd resulted in a run-out. In his next over, Chris picked up two more wickets with another clean bowled and a Greg Moses catch. Final figures of 4-1-10-3 sum up the great spell of bowling that it was.
After a slightly less effective 0-14 off 2 Nick replaced himself with Jacob Raymond who, despite beating the bat with regularity, did not pick up the wicket he deserved (0-15 off 3). Hasan picked up a wicket caught behind by Dannie Rees to leave the opposition 36-5 off 8.2. Before a mini revival despite the best efforts of the spin demon Kym; Kym and Nick L picked up a wicket a piece before the economic Ben Raymond bowled a decent 2-over spell for 9 runs. Kym picked up a second wicket and finished with 2-25 as the opposition closed on 103 for 8. Tea Leaves winning by 103 runs!
Greg – 4 overs 0 -21
Ash – 4 overs 0 – 47
The match lasted until the 18th over, however had we held on to those crucial catches we could have won as it was always difficult for a new batsmen to settle in and score runs.
DCC hosted BCA Eagles first game of the season at Sharjah this Friday.
Our punctuality was uncommonly good – with all Eleven players in attendance prior to the 2:00pm scheduled start – and not a hangover in sight (apart from Mo of course, but that’s par for the course) – as Chris Dommett recently remarked – I don’t think we’re drinking enough.
BCA Eagles started drifting in soon after 2:00pm. I tossed with Shameem and after a re-throw was negotiated we managed to win/conjure the toss and inevitably put the Eagles into field.
In an effort to out-fox and unsettle the opposition’s line and length we opened with Simon Fowler and the left-handed Noel Raymond (indeed, I actually put myself as skipper just so I could get Noel up the batting order!)
Wides kept the score ticking along at seven an over, though the runs off the bat were less fluid. By the seventh over, the padded up batsmen (Sackers & Jason) were starting to get fidgety and all were trying to will the score on…. Noel started to respond and in the 7th & 8th over hit three consecutive boundaries..
Talk in the stands centred on (as it usually does) sports and romance. With Sackers revealing his destined meeting with a girl at the Durham Test Match (what better place to meet a girl?)
At drinks Darjeeling were 72 without loss and with Simon’s flowing run-scoring absent (as well as him being knackered) he retired hurt bringing Sackers to the crease. Love it seems conquers all – but doesn’t help find the middle of the bat – and after a couple of overs, Paul miscued one to mid-wicket, bringing Jason Brown on with one of his seven bats (an additional two currently being tirelessly handcrafted). Noel at ‘tother end started to spray the ball around with more abandon and began to pile on the runs including one over that went for 26 runs. BCA Eagles offered a reasonable bowling attack (and highly enthusiastic appeals), with Shehab’s spinners topping the fair but slightly mediocre efforts.
With two overs to spare and Noel in the nineties, all prepared themselves for the standing ovation. Noel’s umpteenth four brought him on to 99 and even Ben and Jacob started to take some notice of the cricket. With a single needed, Noel decided that a top-edged square cut was the way forward and we all groaned as the catch was pouched at point. Chris then joined Jason at the crease and added four runs (Jason finishing on 19*) to the total bring Darjeeling on to 171 for 3 off their 20 overs (a total which George – who umpired – believed to be a highly competitive one considering the speed of the outfield). Noel collapsed on the turf and remained there until the start of the next innings.
Darjeeling opened their bowling attack with Josh (Water Tank) and Jacob (University). Mr Smith making his intentions clear (and strengthening his hostile-fast-bowler reputation) by greeting the opening bat with a bouncer that ricocheted off his lid. It was however, Jacob that was the more consistent of the two and was duly rewarded with his efforts in the second over with the batsmen forced to play on the up and yours truly was gifted a straight forward catch in the covers. Jacob was to enjoy another wicket in his following over and Josh joined the party in his third over as a mistimed drive was caught at mid-on.
DCC looked to be cruising at this point but a resolved BCA partnership and an expensive over off the bowling of Ben took the BCA Eagles total just five short of ours (was) at the half way stage.
The skipper believing we needed to tighten the scoring up brought himself on and proceeded to bowl two wides whilst Jason was keeping things tidy (relatively) at the water tank end and surprised all with a couple of jaffers and was unfortunate to finish wicketless. With no notice whatsoever, the skipper elected to get Crayton on to bowl after his DNB showing in our innings. In retrospect, a few minutes to warm-up may have paid dividends as on his second (legitimate) ball – he pulled up with a strain in his chest/right tit (he’s since been diagnosed with a torn under arm muscle and we all wish you a speedy recovery Crayton, Sharjah wont be the same without your electric-orange sportsgear!) . Jason completed the over, revealing on his penultimate delivery that he (also) wouldn’t be able to continue (or words to that effect)
With last week’s bowling star Mohit on at the University end it was (overall) hard work in the field. BCA Eagles were enjoying a lengthy partnership with a Left-Right hand combo, frequent fielding changes and the humidity were taking their toll. Replacing the wounded Crayton and exhausted Jason I completed the bowling from the WT end – eventually, breaking the partnership with a full straight one. By this stage the scoring had been restricted BCA Eagles had run out of steam and effective batters. Ben came on to finish up and was unlucky not to get a wicket on his first ball – being dropped (by a tough chance) at slip – but was credited with a wicket on the last ball of the day.
We left the field jubilant, though not unexhausted. Hands were shaken, backs per patted, Fowler mumbled something about the number of wides bowled and Sackers headed straight for the ice box and liquid refreshment. Noel finishing the clear MOTM with his 99 off just 61 deliveries.
Bevvies were consumed on the pitch and only Sackers, George, Chris & I reunited at Fibbers……..a slightly poor post-match gathering.
To overcome this bizarre non-drinking affliction Chris has suggested we have a pre-winter Brunch at the end of September to kick start the return to the ICC and set our priorities straight……….we have the Bahrainis coming on Friday and a reputation to uphold!
But opposition claim pyrrhic victory in unfolding match fee non-payment scandal
Boomeranging Darjeeling alumnus Brad Wissink shone with a fine all-round performance, helping his erstwhile club defeat ‘needle’ rivals Dubai Superkings in a tense last-over finish.
Wissink’s 50, 5-fer and two catches were instrumental in the win, which looked unlikely the night before when CD pulled out with a late-night email, leaving the already-depleted side a man short despite young Jake and Ben already having been conscripted to the cause.
The Chairman may have to send out an email to rouse long-absent members to show up and play in Brian’s farewell match next weekend, but I digress, so on to the events of the day.
By 1:45 pm, 9 men and the 2 boys were all present (your correspondent replacing the absent Restauranteur-Publican), trading the usual pre-match banter while Pete K. shook off the hassle of moving house and the rust of being away from the cricket for countless weeks with a good hit-in courtesy the enthusiastic nippers, who were looking forward to their outfield sprints.
Match Manager Nick Harvey had appointed Noel the Skipper of the Day by then and was frantically calling the oppo to inquire if they were likely to show up anytime soon. The Superkings dribbled in over time from their previous match in Al Quoz and a spot of lunch thereafter, meanwhile the toss was negotiated over the phone and won, and the 2 pm match finally got off to an unusually tardy start at 2:38 with the Club batting first (of course!).
Not without incident though – despite having been informed via email, the Superkings’ Nasir claimed no knowledge of the match fees they owed us, and for a while the game was in jeopardy as negotiations played out. Finally a verbal IOU was tendered and accepted and the Club’s men heaved a sigh of relief as they repaired to the grandstand with cool beverages in hand to help alleviate the heat and humidity.
The oppo took to the field in richly diverse multi-coloured kit, all set to bowl with one of our Dukes generously supplied by Nick, and we opened with The Domminator and the by-now in-form Pete Kes-bashky as the Raymond Family settled in with the scorebook to further the boys’ cricketing education while Nick and Pete ‘The Pilot’ Foley headed in to umpire in shorts.
Shoaib Akhtar-like, Tipu steamed in from the Water Tank End, chucked it in and moved it out, snaring Chris nicking behind in the first over, the Club’s innings off to a less-than-ideal start. But in strode the Man of the Day, and Brad and Pete K. then set about smearing the bowling to all parts, hitting 4s and the odd 6 and running good 3s, putting on a major partnership (okay, I forgot to pick up the scorebook!) and coming in at drinks early after 8 overs with the scoreboard reading 70-odd/1 (I think), with steam emanating visibly from their faces in the 43-degree weather with near-50% humidity.
So good were our Aussies that an Ashes call-up might be imminent as the worst Oz side in living memory is about to take up arms against the old enemy.
Brad was out shortly after the drinks break, bowled off the bat for a fine 52 with two 6s and a few 4s, whereupon Mohit, promoted up the order, proceeded to the wicket. Several expansive but fruitless shots and a couple of nurdles later, Mo was back for 2, with fears of a Darjeeling slide beginning to take root in the grandstand where the usual lubricated banter was somewhat sub-par because the batting on display had been stellar and appreciated vocally.
Nick ‘The Harvester’ Harvey was in at 5, and continued the carnage with a fine 43 off 15 balls, while Pete K. got to his 50 as well before being caught behind off the back of the bat looking to paddle-sweep. By then the score was looking quite good, the Club going at 8 an over through the post-drinks sub-session as Andy at 6, then Pete F. at 7 contributed rapid single-digit cameos while Nick blazed away.
Meanwhile the Superkings looked like Superchuckers with 3 being called for bent elbows, including a bloke who seemed to bowl out of a virtual handbag in the crook of his right arm and another who managed to chuck down leggies!
Noel and yours truly were in for the last two overs, the Club ending up with a respectable, par-ish 174/7 off 20, the nippers still scoring only with pen and paper back in the hutch.
Armed with the DSK-supplied Pakistani 5-1/2 oz. ‘Bouncer’ in hand, we opened with Nick from the Water Tank End and Jake from the University End, and the SKs got off to a decent start with Shehzad looking dangerous, carting well-timed straight hits for 6s off Nick and pulling some short stuff from Jake for 4s through square leg while the other bloke struggled against Nick’s off-stump-and-away line and against Jake after he sorted his line and length.
But the SKs hadn’t accounted for the keen-ness of our Aviator Petes (both playing after a while, but you couldn’t tell) – first Purser Pete dashing in lightning-quick to effect a fine run-out with a direct hit from short mid-wicket, then Pilot Pete snaffling a good catch at slip off Nick (albeit on the second attempt after some turbulence), the SKs 30-odd for 2 after 5 overs, palpably off the pace of the chase and looking distinctly not-so-Super.
Noel was in his usual ‘inventive skipper’ mode, shuffling the bowling around, placing good fields and rallying the troops vocally in the field, consequently the opposition batsmen never quite settled despite their odd hits for 4 and 6 off length balls. At drinks after 10 we were well in control having kept the oppo to 70-odd for 4, and with around 100 needed off the back 10 and the spinners beginning to weave their webs of deceit and chicanery, Mo the standout spinner. Meanwhile the sprinklers came on during the break, the outfield was watered well, and the lads contemplated a turn at Swanny’s Sprinkler Dance before wiser counsel prevailed.
After the break it all went a bit farcical when one of the umpires looked to replace the ball without consultation, claiming “the batsmen think it’s too heavy.” We weren’t having any of that and the game continued with the aforementioned ‘Bouncer.’
Before and after the break wickets fell regularly with Brad getting a couple, your scribe, Pete K. and Mo getting one apiece, then The Sinkanator getting a few more for a well-deserved 5-fer as Darjeeling caught well in the ring and in the deep with two catches apiece for Chris (’keeping), Noel, Brad, AT and one for Nick. A few did go down though, as they normally do, so if anyone’s beginning to get excited about our catching standards, don’t. Special mentions for Ben and Jake who fielded as well as they always do, chasing hard with their young legs and quicksilver feet, getting down to the ball rapidly, and keeping likely 2s to just singles as they threw in hard as well.
All this while, batsmen of motley attire kept coming in and going out as we found ourselves in a somewhat surreal Friday afternoon Sharjah production of Yousuf and the Amazing Technicolour Team Code. In this red-ball game meant to be played in whites, we saw shirts that were green, lime green, dark green, orange-and-blue and navy blue, lime-green and dark green helmets, and even a set of orange pads which appeared twice!
With 14 needed and the last man in, it was only fitting that the Man o’ the Day, He Who Could Do No Wrong While Selling His Flat in The Marina For a Tidy Profit, Brad bowled the last over. Two off the first ball, an arrow-straight 4 down the ground bisecting the boundary-riders off the second, then a wicket off the 3rd, well caught by a tumbling Noely at short extra cover and we were home by 8 runs with 3 balls to spare!
Flush with chilled-to-within-an-inch-of-their-lives tinnies (’twas a bumper crop this afternoon, please bring plenty next week for Brian’s farewell match), the Club’s men and boys settled down for the customary Reading of the Scorebook.
Brad’s 50 and 5/23 off 4
were the highlight, well supported by Pete K’s 50, Nick’s 43, and contributions all around. The Club’s faithful carried on sipping whilst those with evening commitments left relatively early. Net, a fine close-run last-over win against needle opponents who still owe us match fees.
Next up, Brian’s farewell intra-club game next weekend (please be available, we’ll play 12-a-side if necessary) – plenty of amber fluids and Tea with seasonal, suitably appropriate grub on offer, then on to the IV for further carnage to help ease the lad back into the milder climes of Sussex. Then, the Midsummer Madness fixture against the Loose Cannons as the temperature and humidity escalate further for the Mad Dogs and Englishmen to keep continuing their pursuit of a fine game on a green field.
Last Friday the honed, bronzed gladiators of the Darjeeling cricket club took to the verdant, green field at Sharjah English School to take on the hastily put-together team of Fly Dubai. Amidst the traditional pre-match warm-up of chain smoking and beverage guzzling; skipper Andrew Tideswell Esquire duly tossed the coin, with a skill refined only by repeated practice, the call of the opposing skip was sadly, for them, incorrect and the frequent flyers were banished to 20 overs of torture by direct sunlight and a level of humidity approaching stifling levels.
Opening the batting for the Tea-Leaves were those paragons of batting skill and technique, Messers Dommett and Scholtz. These fine gentleman proceeded to treat the expectant crowd to 10 overs of batting that would be politely called traditional, amassing the total of 72 runs prior to the drinks break; of these 72 runs the soon to be departing Brian Scholtz in his noble quest to obtain a DCC ton prior to leaving for less sunnier climes contributed 44 off a mere 36 balls having woken up after 22 deliveries. Our resident wicketkeeper, sporting the new look of glistening in the humid conditions – Robert Pattinson will be jealous – contributed a more stately 17 from 25 deliveries. Alas, the old adage of drinks breaks bringing wickets proved true, firstly on the delivery after the resumption Brian (44/37) departed sending a ball stratospherically high, only to see the fielder underneath cling on; thus “The Scorer” sauntered to the crease, having handed the iPad into the (in)capable hands of the Badger. Until the first wicket, The Scorer had compiled a full wagon wheel of the innings but upon returning to the pavilion found that the apparently devious scoring app had been too much for the stand-in; however now we return to the action.
Having seen his opening partner dismissed Chris D then decided that obviously two new batsman were needed at the crease and departed four balls later for 18(29 balls). Joining Chris T at the crease was the indomitable Julius Mooney, the pair tried to hasten the scoring rate but a combination of picking out fielders with regular monotony and that after every run Chris T proved that his fitness levels were not up to even DCC standards, scoring was still difficult to come by. 72-0 quickly became 82-3 with Julius departing for 7(12 balls) and 87-4 with Josh Smith adding 3 off 6 deliveries. Struggling with both heat and timing Chris T having been joined at the crease by the skipper tried to use up as few balls of possible by going on the attack, mainly to get out of the heat and also to hit boundaries so he wouldn’t have to run. Despite only facing 2 dot balls the elusive boundaries would not come and The Scorer returned to his hutch stumped for 10 off 13 balls (100-5) in the 17th over.
If ever the tail needed to wag for DCC it was now, however when Andy perished looping a catch back to the bowler (5/10) even 120 looked a long way off. Fortunately the dynamic duo of Ash Banerjee and David were equally to the task, David becoming only the 3rd DCC batsman to hit a boundary in the innings and Ash sacrificing his average off the last ball for an possibly vital second run (6/9). Dave was left last man standing with a commendable 10 off 7 deliveries; however despite reassurance at the innings break that the psychological barrier of 6 an over required the final total of 120/7 was well below par.
The Fly Dubai innings began with Julius steaming in at the Water Tank End wearing his flamboyant, blue deck shoes and promptly disappearing twice to the boundary. The first a silky leg glance from the opening bat, the second a violent but perfectly executed cover drive, thereafter line and length were reacquainted and the subsequent 10 deliveries of his spell produced a miserly 2 runs and a bye (2-0-11-0). From the Road End, left arm quick Josh bounded in like a gazelle for his first delivery only to be let down by his new, very white boots producing a Bambi on Ice moment that Robin Cousins would be proud of; understandably cautious the rhythm deserted Josh and his first (and only) over went for 16. To try and shore things up David was introduced and met with the respect that he deserves with a single boundary the only blot on the copy book in his first over; however the scoreboard pressure of 6 an over was blown out of the water as the first four overs went for 34. For some reason, and not a tactical masterstroke by any measure, Andy had relinquished on field captain’s duties to Brian, who duly replaced Julius with himself. What followed was a master class in pace bowling only blighted by a fine uppercut for four through third-man to produce figures of 2-0-7-0. Having been watchful to David’s first over; the more powerful opening bat decided to free his arms and plunder two sixes and a four from the 6th over to leave David nursing figures of 2-0-25-0.
Thus the end of the pace attack, leaving the spinners with 13 overs to take 10 wickets and defend 63 runs; leading wicket taker Stuart M was introduced to the attack and feasted upon by the opening batsman as if they were at a Friday Brunch having not eaten all week, the first of his two overs going for 13 including a four and a six. From the Water Tank end Ash was introduced and demonstrated a rare example of control having been chastised first ball for 6 and picked up the powerful opener for 43 caught and then stumped in a wonderful demonstration of fielding by wicket keeper Chris D. The departure of one opening released the shackles of the other, until now he had been more Jonathan Trott than Chris Gayle but now facing the Badger he found his mojo with 2 straight 6’s in an over costing 16 (2-0-29-0). Ash continued looking to add to the first wicket in his previous over, but instead committed the cardinal sin of a front foot no ball by a spinner not once but twice! Another 6 for the opening off the last, left Ash with figures of 2-0-19-1. Then the captaincy masterstroke, resuming after the drinks break Gibbon Human showed the wile and the guile to oust the number 3 caught in the deep by Josh, a wicket maiden denied by the opening with a sneaky double off the final ball of the over. Taking on the mantle from the Water Tank end was the irrepressible Mo, who open arriving on time was asked if he had a new driver, unfortunately Mo was in a hurry to get the game over and done with and went for 11 including giving the opener his well-earned and chanceless 50. Thus the demon deliveries of the Ape Man returned to snaffle more wickets and try and force Mo to have another bowl. After trapping the number 4 LBW with his 2nd delivery he produced a wide first up to the opposing skipper, decked in half a tube of sunblock, before forcing a scoop into orbit by the batsman that eventually found its way to the safe hands of the scorer. Was the batting collapse on?
Emphatically, no. As the scoreboard said the scores were level, the quiet one of the opposition came in and duly played a tentative forward defense first up, before playing a majestic straight drive well over the boundary rope for a match winning 6. Fly Dubai winning by 6 wickets in the 14th over. The final boundary count was 9 fours and 7 sixes compared to DCC’s 7 and 1. Gibbon finishing with respectable figures of 2-0-9-3. So vanquished by a superior foe on the day, the team retired to drown their sorrows and be entertained of tales of a less reputable nature by the “injured” Greg Moses. Well there is always next week………………
Amid feverish anticipation and much mystery surrounding the identity of two “Guest” players for Darjeeling, Friday 7th June dawned hot and humid with no sign of rain. Dry Docks World (DDW) have regularly beaten us over the last couple of years, and hopes were high that Nick had unearthed a couple of talented ringers (a la Dougie G) to again give us a better chance of revenge. Breath was baited as we waited to see who turned up.
First mystery Guest turned out to be prolific run accumulator and some time stumper, Brad Wissink, back in Dubai to complete a market moving property deal, thus finally ridding himself of the mortgage I did for him 5 years ago. We waited for the second guest, and waited, and waited. Nick finally admitted it was Grisdale J, back with special approval from the Chairman, but as he failed to appear his place was taken by David’s young son Rahan.
Nick finally lost the toss and we took the field with Greg Moses opening up from the water tank end. After his first ball castling of the chirpy but slow moving keeper last week, hopes were high for a repeat, but Greg’s loosener this time was smeared back past him for 4. 8 off the first over, but a pulled intercostal muscle meant Greg had to retire to slip, and proceeded to distract the keeper with a discussion on the rupturing of various internal organs.
Julius started off from the road end with a plumb LBW appeal turned down amid gasps of disbelief and howls of “I say old chap, that can’t be right”, or words to that effect. Julius calmly accepted the decision and got his revenge a couple of overs later by clean bowling the guy. Overall, an excellent spell of 3 overs 1 for 26, which might have been 1 for 20 if the batsman hadn’t taken Greg up on his challenge to prove he was strong enough to hit a straight 6.
Brian replaced Greg, and bowled a hostile and effective spell for figures of 4 overs, 1 for 29.
The turning point of the match came when Nick pulled the masterstroke of introducing the spin of Steve Brown, Ash B and Neil Colbeck. From a position of 79 for 1 after 10, and 100 after 12, Darjeeling managed to restrict DDW to a sub-par score of 144 for 7 after their 20 overs. Stevie finished with figures of 4 overs, 2 for 25, Ash 4 overs, 2 for 23, and Neil 3 overs, 2 for 20.
However, the real star for Darjeeling was the catching and fielding which was undoubtedly the best for many a year. Stevie took 3 catches, Brian 2, including a spectacular effort on the boundary, and even Julius swooped like a gazelle to take a fine running catch at deep mid-wicket. The other wicket was a stumping by yours truly.
Set 145 to win, Darjeeling opened with the returning Brad and Brian, and they weathered some fast and hostile bowling from the DDW openers. Brad smashed his way to a belligerent 7 off 18 balls before being well caught down the leg side, but Brian was in fine and fluent form and kept the run rate well under control.
Nick came and went for 4, bringing Stevie B to the crease. He kept Brian company until they paused for drinks mysteriously after only 8 overs. Returning refreshed, the pair milked and slashed the bowling to all parts until Brian was stumped by a couple of yards for an excellent 62 (42 balls). At that point only about 25 were needed from 4 overs, but the wheels started to come off. First I was bowled for 2, then Neil departed for a duck.
That placed to burden of winning the match squarely on Stevie’s shoulders, and he responded by hitting 18 off the 18th over. So, 3 needed for victory with two overs left, Julius facing. A couple of dots and then the clatter of stumps as he was cleaned up off an inside edge. David strolled to the crease and swung and missed the next 3 deliveries. A very rare wicket maiden, and still 3 to win.
Two balls later the match was ours with Stevie ending up on a fine 45 not out from just 30 balls.
All in all, a great performance from Darjeeling, and special thanks to David’s two lads for filling in so well.
The after match pleasantries were completed, and so to bed. Or in my case an evening of White Collar Boxing. Bizarre concept!