The Cannons is always an eagerly anticipated fixture and Nick Harvey decided to schedule the game after the awards dinner to give our boys a challenge. Thanks Nick!

Darjeeling had their ‘best’ side out since the beginning of time according to Ash Banerjee, but with 9 lads who had attended the dinner in the squad (Nick Lloyd & Dannie Rees hang your heads in shame), surely it couldn’t be all smooth sailing.

The annual dinner was an eventful night out and after many ales were sunk, I think we definitely have all found it in our hearts to forgive Gris for his wrong-doings…… haven’t we Nick?!                 

Many of the boys were in fine form with Chris Tebb only drinking pints of bitter as anything to the contrary ‘isn’t a real beverage as it’s not dark and has bubbles in it!’ Hassan gave a vivid description to the type of classy attractive women he goes for, and how quality is more important than quantity. Another kick in the teeth comment as I was under the impression to truly encapsulate the Darjeeling spirit, you had to constantly go to Rock Bottom and panic pull average women when the pizza starts getting handed out. That’s mine and Jon’s excuse anyway lads.    

Israr seemed to be in a sticky situation with his date, as Badger’s lodger resembled a rucksack with him clinging on to her at every opportunity. He was pulling out some really sleazy chat up lines and dance moves that seemed to leave the lads puzzled. It is also still up for debate on to whether he actually knows Badger, or actually just lied his way in to the dinner to try and cock-block paying members.

Browny was forced up to do another rendition of Wonderwall, but his below average Liam Gallagher rendition was all forgotten when people actually realised what Julius’ was wearing. His ‘big guy’ upper body had looked borrowed from the set of Scarface, red chinos looking like they belonged to Alan Carr and trainers that would have been better suited to a One Direction music video.

A hugely anticipated question was finally answered by Steve Finnigan on what actually makes him ‘tick’. It was sad to see Greg Moses not there to truly pick his brains on his vague answers and to get into the ‘nitty gritty’ details on some pretty seedy responses.                                                                         Other highlights included seeing Gully pick up a bar bill at the end of the night.  He has to be the only person in the world who never carries cash on him, has no money on his card, but always seems to be blind drunk with a glass of mothers milk in his hand. He also lives on the palm and drives a Mercedes… that one out! He stooped to a new low when trying to get sloppy 2nds on a terrible looking girl that Jon had already dealt with. The thought of him dancing round in his tighty whities for an hour is still haunting me now.

Anyway…… on to the game:

The game looked certain for disaster when Julius was caught out being sick in the ICC car park in front of his very unimpressed wife and son. He was almost sick again when he caught Jason Brown eating what can only be described as the world’s largest portion of Burger King. Jason came to watch and immediately snuck in 2 lamb burgers, before polishing off his chips and diet coke. He then very sheepishly glanced around to make sure no-one was watching before pulling out what is rumoured to be a Double Whopper burger, and destroying it within seconds before anyone could notice…… Yes Jason, we saw you eat the third!

Darjeeling won the toss (about the only good thing they did all day) and surprisingly elected to bat! A drunken agreement the night before had meant that the 3 stooges (Browny, Jon & Olly) would all go in first as they are MATES with the skipper. As always Gully went back on his drunken words and demoted Olly to 5. Brown and Houghton, who were more bothered about telling everyone at the ground about the latest chapter in a book of average conquests, were to go out and open. What happened next could not have been predicted. Brown playing on for a second ball duck and Houghton nicking off for a golden duck. Top start!                                                                                             

Even funnier than the scorecard, was the fact that Jon had absolutely murdered it to the keeper but because Gully was umpiring, stood his ground and looked as innocent as Stuart Broad. Gully awkwardly raised his finger with the keeper bellowing ‘How dare you stand there for that!’ Tweedle Dum and Dee were out without troubling Chris Tebb’s mouse and to rub insult to injury Julius’ better half even got involved yelling ‘Guess which team was out on the piss last night’.

Nick Lloyd then came and went for 6 before stooge number 3; Higgens strolled in to get some pride back for his mates. He had recently lit a cigarette so snuck in a couple of pulls before passing it on and strolling out. He lasted 2 balls for 4, with his cigarette still not finished by the time he trudged off.  After all last night’s air blowing, the 3 stooges managed to muster up 5 balls between them for 4 runs. Solid contributions!

Dannie and Israr started a mini revival, but when Dannie got cleaned up by one of his new best mates, the score was 44-5. If ever you needed a captain’s innings, now was the time. Enter captain clueless – Mark Gullickson…… The last member of the group who met earlier before the dinner to get lashed and was desperate to help his 3 idiot mates out. Gully did them proud by helping himself to a 4 ball duck….. Cherry on the cake!

Newly crowned all-rounder of the year Nick Harvey joined Israr and finally there was something to cheer about. A 50+ partnership that at least gave us something to bowl at and not get even more embarrassed than we already had. Israr departing for a well-made 34 and Nick making 41.

Tebb and Banerjee were next and with Bradders making sure Moxey had one over left, the mini battle could commence. The battle was delayed slightly as Dannie Rees’ & Julius’ wives caught Moxey’s eye and he was half way off the field to try and help himself before being warned about his gentlemanly conduct! They didn’t hang around and left Julius stranded at the other end (not that he was going to make a difference) with Darjeeling finishing 146ao.

Cameron ‘the Judas’ Coles was to open the batting for The Cannons and went on to his highest ever career score. Every time he represented Darjeeling, he was more bothered about clocking up miles on his fitness watch and doing laps round the field after departing for single figures. Could be worse I suppose; at least he didn’t proposition any of our dates or girlfriends.

Gully’s masterstroke bowling changes were not working to say the least and with Darjeeling lacklustre in the field, it was looking like a slow painful death. None of Darjeeling’s bowlers hit their straps and only a solitary run out (which wasn’t even out) was the only success to be had. Credit has to go to Dannie Rees for conning the umpire with a very enthusiastic and convincing appeal. His enthusiasm wasn’t rubbing off on the rest of the hungover bunch and he kept muttering little digs under his breath such as ‘I can’t wait to play for the cannons more often’ and ‘if there were 11 of me playing, we would win every week’. Maybe he’s been listening to Jason Brown too much!

The Cannons eased their way to a 9 wicket victory and the only highlight after that was Dannie Rees trying to pull Steve Finnigan’s ex bird in the polo club. I guess he’s trying to follow in the steps of Tim Moxey so The Cannons will finally welcome him in.