Category: Featured

Ricky’s Fifer! ICCB vs RBCC – Match Report

RBCC’s first XI travelled to Wemmel in a confident mood following their win against AICC. With Muneeb on national team duty (congratulations to the Cricket Belgium team by the way, for their excellent performance against Guernsey) Ricky stepped forward to take over as captain.

Ricky duly won the toss and we batted first. Mustafa and Abdulwahed gave us the solid start that we needed. Jawad came in at first wicket down and was dropped off his second ball playing an uncharacteristic lofted shot; ICCB would rue this miss as he proceeded to top score with a serene 48. Abdulwahed continued his fine form from the Paris trip, making 43, while Afzal added 33 before being bowled with our score on 200. A flurry of late wickets saw RBCC all out for 224 from 47 overs; not the biggest total but we thought this was a good score on a tricky pitch with some variable bounce.

Royal Brussels Cricket Club 1st XI

We came out all guns blazing in the field, with Salim taking the first wicket and Ricky joining in the next over thanks to a brilliant catch by Abdulwahed. Our fielding was good all day, we didn’t drop a single chance given to us. Ali joined the wicket-taking fun from the other end, bowling an absolute peach to clean up one of their batsman. As usual, Channi applied the finishing touches (fast becoming his trademark!) but the last wicket was a piece of art by Salim, a direct throw from midwicket to run the batsman out. The star performer though was undoubtedly Ricky, leading from the front and finishing with figures of 10-3-31-5. 

ICCB were all out for 118 in 28 overs, RBCC winning by 106 runs.

Well played lads, let’s keep this run going!

Match Scorecard

Back to France 🇫🇷 – Tour Report

Royal Brussels Cricket Club v Aulnay CC 7/8 June 2024

A select RBCC team was delighted to re-establish links with our friends at Aulnay via a short trip over the border; it’s been 10 long years since we last visited France but we intend to strengthen these bonds and make a longer French tour a regular addition to our calendar.

In keeping with the ongoing World Cup, our squad was drawn from many proud cricketing nations with Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, England and Australia all represented.

Royal Brussels Cricket Club Touring Team

With his usual attention to detail, Arun had organised the trip to perfection; the correct number of cars with the correct number of players arrived at the correct hotel and were allocated the correct number of rooms. After that things did get a little messy; perhaps the Burger King we visited didn’t represent French cuisine at its finest but fortunately Tipu had brought some refreshments with him and it ended up being a rather late night for some of our group. 

While the young lads watched Afghanistan’s glorious victory via some dodgy stream the older boys were introduced to Arun’s friend Paul John from Goa…while it is true that the hotel management had to break up the party in the early hours they were friendly enough and there’s no doubt that we will be welcomed back with open arms next time. It has to be said that there were some complaints about the excessive snoring of one of our players; in true touring tradition, we will not name the guilty party here but merely congratulate Sameel on his wisdom in locking the culprit out of his room…

Saturday morning dawned clear and bright as we gathered for breakfast with Fakrul providing the good stuff to help the jaded recover.  A short drive brought us to the Aulnay ground, based in a sports park and looking a fine sight under a cloudless sky. Being on the CDG flightpath meant that any longueurs in the cricket were compensated for by the constant procession of brightly-coloured planes. We were warmly welcomed by our hosts and we agreed to play a test match T20: two innings each of 20 overs.

A warm welcome from Aulnay

RBCC were invited to bat first on a lively pitch that offered plenty of lateral movement; Asama got a tricky one that he edged through to slip and the bounce continued to cause us some problems. Abdulwahed steadied the ship and went on to score an excellent 65 from only 60 deliveries in what was to prove to be the highest score of the day. Obaid also demonstrated some powerful hitting as we posted 129/6.

Aulnay’s innings started at a ferocious pace as their two young openers put together a stand of 87; our bowlers were getting a bit of a pasting until Sameel brought on Jalal and Arun in a bid to regain control. Not only did they slow down the run rate but Jalal went on to take 4 wickets with some excellent bowling. 

Jalal, the wizard

Having established a first innings lead of 50, Aulnay exercised their right to bat again.  On a hot day with a difficult outfield our lads put up a good fight with Max opening the bowling and William getting two classic wickets bowling down the hill and finding plenty of swing. With Asama struggling with injury Noor volunteered to keep and did a sterling job as we restricted them to 114 in 20 overs.

We needed a big score but a steady trickle of wickets meant that despite some impressive hitting from Fida, Sameel and Arun we couldn’t put big partnerships together. Tipu hit the last boundary of the match as we finished on 135/7.

The game was played in an excellent spirit. To mark our respect and our thanks for an excellent biryani, Arun presented our hosts with an RBCC pennant, a replica shirt and some fine Belgian beers. 

Arun, thanking the hosts on behalf of Royal Brussels Cricket Club

We had a great day and everyone returned home safe and sound. We will host the return match later this summer, hopefully with the same sense of camaraderie and victory for the Royal Brussels Cricket Club!

Match Scorecard

Royal Brussels CC host Belgium vs Guernsey T20 International

Last weekend Cricket Belgium enjoyed high-class international cricket from across the board hosted at Royal Brussels Cricket Club in Lasne.

Cricket Belgium hosted Guernsey at Royal Brussels Cricket Club on Saturday-Sunday (8-9th) June in an ICC Bi-lateral T20 International. The Guernsey side is ranked several places higher than Belgium in World Rankings and arrived with a professional set-up including 2 coaches. 

Cricket Belgium & Guernsey Squad

At the request of FWBC (Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles de Cricket), they agreed to come to RBCC on Friday evening before the tournament to conduct a cricket training for Belgian juniors. The event was open to juniors across the region and a lot of new faces turned up to try out the sport. FWBC has recently received its first funding from ADEPS and chose this occasion to sponsor the evening which ended in a BBQ with Guernsey mixing with the parents and kids, while the RBCC volunteers worked tirelessly to get the ground ready for the tournament.

On Saturday the cricket tournament commenced in sunshine and Belgium were put into bat. RBCCs own Muneeb opened the batting to face the new ball for Cricket Belgium, but both openers did not stay long. The middle order put up a fight and we got to a reasonably respectable 154 after 20 overs – or so we thought. The young, fit Guernsey lads made light work of our bowlers and reached the total in just 18 overs. The Guernsey CEO was now looking for a clean sweep.

Either one-all at the turn.

Cricket Belgium won the toss and elected to bowl. The afternoon did not start well for Cricket Belgium who were taking wickets but the runs kept coming for Guernsey who ended on a mighty 197 for 9 after 20 overs. Too much for some, but not enough to daunt the Belgian team. Out came RBCC’s own Muneeb and, together with Hakim, had put on 52 after just 4 overs when they fell. After 8 we were 93, well ahead of the run rate. In came Burhan and Sherry Butt and both put on 40 each. In the end, there was controversy, when Belgium needed only 3 from the last over. The batsman hit the ball clear of the ropes at Cow Corner, and one of the Guernsey fans caught the ball over the boundary as the player collided into him. The Guernsey players surrounded the umpires claiming it should be pronounced a dead ball, but the umpires held firm, a 6 was awarded and Cricket Belgium won the game.

RBCC skipper in Belgian Colours

On Sunday morning we returned in high spirits when Guernsey came out to bat buoyed by the morning’s success and proceeded to dispatch the ball to all areas of the ground, this time ending on 192 for 6 with one lad making an impressive 73. Knees were trembling amongst some supporters but not with the Belgian team as they came out confidently to chase it down. And so they did – in the 19th over for only 5 wickets, led principally by Shery Butt who made 75 including a six over the trees on the far side of the ground.

FWBC Chairman & RBCC Member presenting club flag to Guernsey Cricket Chairman

Cricket Belgium were leading 2-1 into the final game, much to many’s surprise. In the final game, we ran out of steam and posted a meagre 125 which Guernsey chased down quite easily to halve the series. How great to have the pleasure of exciting cricket in Belgium on a sunny weekend. Thanks to all the parents, kids, volunteers and officials who together made it a great weekend.

Match Scorecard 1st T20i
Match Scorecard 2nd T20i
Match Scorecard 3rd T20i
Match Scorecard 4th T20i 

Cricket Season ’24 Starts Here!

Cricket Season ’24 Starts Here!

A flurry of activity has seen the first steps in preparing our ground for the new season. Under the control of Chairman Chris Hutchins, Ground Manager Jalal and first-team Captain Muneeb, the pitch was uncovered, the nets were prepared, the outfield was mown, and the clubhouse fumigated. We even found time for our annual run-in with the forces of law and order over whether we had the right sort of bonfire permit…

cricket belgium

On Thursday, we had the first outdoor nets to kick off the 2024 cricket season in Belgium, with some hostile bowling and big hitting. Matt and Chris ran some fielding drills, an area of our game that the Cricket Committee are keen to improve. The brains trust is already planning our campaign with our first game, a T20 at Hasselt, taking place on Sunday, 14 April.

cricket belgium

This weekend, Royal Brussels Cricket Club will also host the Cricket Belgium national trials and workshops for Women’s cricket and Junior cricket. Cricket Belgium has been steadily growing in prominence, fostering a vibrant cricketing community nationwide. Focusing on inclusivity and development, they’ve been actively promoting the sport among women and juniors, recognizing the importance of nurturing talent at every level. These national trials and workshops signify Cricket Belgium’s commitment to identifying and honing the skills of aspiring players, ensuring a bright future for the sport in the country. Through such initiatives, Cricket Belgium aims to enhance the competitiveness of its national teams and foster a deeper love for cricket among enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds. The details are in the poster 👉🏼

Good luck to all RBCC members!

Finally, the club would like to send its best wishes to Sudhanshu and Sibylle on the birth of their daughter Lila. Congratulations from all at RBCC! We trust that she will turn out to be a better cricketer than her father!

Colts News: Indoor Winter Nets 2024

RBCC Colts have been training hard at the De Steenburg sports centre in Moorsel under the watchful eyes of Ollie Herrington and Mike Ball. Training occurs on Sundays between 09:00 and 11:00. Training is now suspended for the Christmas and New Year holidays; we will start again on 7 January 2024 until the end of March. Any colts wanting to join the training should contact our Colts Officer, David Herrington, at [email protected] or on 0473 634349.

In Loving Memory: Tribute to Christopher Charles Stone (24/02/59 – 24/11/23)

On 24th November 2023, Royal Brussels Cricket Club lost a great friend and stalwart club member in Chris Stone and we pay tribute to a life much lived.

Chris was born on 24th February 1959, in Hobart, the capital city of the southern Australian island state of Tasmania. He was weighing in at 4.5kg.

He went to Sandy Bay Infant School and then to Waimea Heights Secondary School. One of his early traits became evident here. At playtime, the girls would be separated from the boys and after school, the teachers would tell them that if Chris ever heard his sister cry, he would race over to care for her.

Life for Chris was, as the fullness of time would reveal, typically about limited sleep, a love of outdoor activities and getting up to mischief. As a child with his brother Jeremy, he often broke the rules irrespective of the consequences.

One time, while playing human hurdles inside the house, against their parent’s strict instructions, he tripped and crashed straight through a glass door, sustaining a significant arm gash and requiring his first trip to the hospital, followed quickly by another, when he pushed a handful of rice bubbles into his nose.

In 1969, his father was promoted and the family moved from Hobart to Melbourne. He attended secondary school at Caulfield Grammar, where he was a good student, but his focus was and he excelled in sports. He was Captain of Cricket & played First 18 Aussie Rules Football. Outside of school, he played Premier cricket for St Kilda, South Melbourne and Victoria Boys. He was a fast bowler and also a good batsman. His love of cricket was strengthened by the family’s close friendship with the great Sir Don Bradman’s family, a friendship that started when his mother found herself stuck in a hotel elevator in Melbourne with the great man, who was just 15 years old.

Faced with the choice of a chance at professional sport, he chose Australian Rules Football, believing he did not have the stature to be a top-flight fast bowler. At the junior level, he played for a local team called St Kilda City and then, at the age of 18, was selected to play in the premier competition for St Kilda – a team he had supported since moving to Melbourne. It was a dream come true. He was among the few to have kicked a goal with his first kick in the professional game against Collingwood. In a later game, he came off with a dislocated retina after being hit by a ball, an injury that kept him out for the next 9 months. Ironically, he did it again a few seasons later, this time fielding at point in a cricket match. Despite the initial hiccups, he was soon back in the side at St Kilda, now playing with squash goggles, and enjoyed a professional career for 7 years. His success was due to his skill, long hours of training, commitment and desire to succeed.

After secondary school (while continuing to play Aussie rules), he studied agricultural science at Latrobe University. This was also the disco period, and Chris, a part-time model, would hit the nightclubs with his mates dressed in white pants and matching white jackets, looking like John Travolta (Saturday Night Fever, not Pulp Fiction).

After graduation, he secured a job in sales at Pearl & Dean – a cinema advertising company. He had found his calling and was promoted with a move to Sydney in 1986, at the age of 27. He quickly integrated into local life, sport, work and entertainment. His circle of business interests and friends widened and when the opportunity of an assignment in London arose, he jumped. There, he made some lasting friendships playing premier league cricket for Esher Cricket Club. He also played a couple of matches for the MCC but, not planning to stay in London, did not complete the prerequisite for playing membership – a decision he later regretted. However, by now, his sights were set on Belgium, which would become his home for the rest of his life.

In 1994, he arrived at the Royal Brussels Cricket Club and was invited to play under the then 1st team captain & wicketkeeper, Colin Wolfe. Colin later recalled asking him if he had played much cricket. He said he’d played a bit. When he came on to bowl his first over, Colin asked whether he should stand up or back – “Maybe stand back for the first couple and see how it goes,” came the reply – he soon gained fame as one of the fastest bowlers in Belgium.

Chris brought all his great talent and colour to his cricket here in Belgium. He was competitive, but he could laugh at himself, as well as at his teammates. Bedecked in his wide-rim hat, full of Aussie wit and banter, he soon made deep friendships and became a big figure in the club and the last to leave the bar after a game. He reserved most of his sledging for his teammates but could be combative on the field. Once, when denied a clear LBW decision in a game against Antwerp Indians, he confronted the batsman, “Why don’t you walk?” and narrowly avoided sanction from the umpire. Later, he conceded that he would never walk since you get enough good decisions in life to offset the bad ones. On another occasion he was fed up in a match at Luxembourg having not bowled and not called on to bat until only 6 runs were required, he announced he would do it in one ball and duly dispatched it for six.

Always the showman, his speeches at club dinners were legendary, bringing both rib-cracking laughter and sometimes censure from the victim’s spouse. When asked to present the prize for the best batsman, he opened with the unforgettable line “I have been instructed that tonight I must on no account take the piss out of this fine gentleman, well ladies and gentlemen I beseech you, how could I possibly take the piss when nature has done such a magnificent job”.

He was not only a fine player, but he made the rest of the team feel good about themselves and play better. He was part of the dream team that won several Belgian national league titles in the late 90s – early noughties – and he became a hugely popular and respected figure in Belgian cricket, even if from time to time, he liked to discuss matters with the umpires.

It was during this time that he met Sophie Wilmes, who would become the love of his life.  Whilst some were initially surprised by the match, she was from a great Belgian family and he (in his own words) “a bit of rough from down under”, it was love at first sight and his life was changed forever. They were married in 2002 and made a home together with his son Jonathan and soon after their 3 daughters –Victoria, Charlotte, and Elizabeth. He was deeply attached to his family and inseparable from Sophie, who later became the first female prime minister of Belgium in 2019. Despite his busy life as CEO and husband of a premier politician, he was a devoted father who prioritised his family, never missed any of their hockey games and always encouraged them with their music.

By 2007, he had reached the end of his cricket-playing days. He devoted his life to his family while growing a successful business after acquiring an Advertising company, Dewez, in 2001. Instead, he took up hockey, as a goalkeeper and captain at Wellington Hockey Club. He loved mountain biking and joined a motorbike club of close mates who toured Europe and the deserts of North Africa. He was also a fair-weather golfer at Sept Fontaines and once hooked his drive into a swimming pool and then explained to the irate Englishman that it was, in fact, his fault for placing the pool there. Of all the adventures, he would recall his white-water rafting down the Zambezi River as the most extraordinary moment of his life.

Throughout his life, he remained passionate about his Australian heritage. He was President of ABIE (Australian Business in Europe) for several years which he used to strengthen cultural links between Belgium and his homeland. He was also passionate about art and held a substantial collection of fine Aboriginal Art.

Although Chris stopped playing cricket, he continued to give much to the club and the sport. He and Sophie would travel the world to attend former clubmates’ weddings. He provided ideas for the 200-year anniversary (of the battle of Waterloo, 150th of the club) celebrations in 2015, which included a tri-lateral tournament with the club, the Guards, and the MCC. He put on a tour to Belgium with 2 distinguished MCC members explaining the “history of The Ashes” in schools. He also helped bring more young people into the game, many from disadvantaged backgrounds and supported the club’s initiatives with young migrants, recognising the importance that sport can play in integrating into Belgian communities. His support was instrumental in cricket becoming recognised as an official sport in the French-speaking regions of Belgium in July 2023.

In the Summer of 2022, he was suddenly diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer. Always a fighter, he fought it bravely and embarked on a bucket list of life wishes with Sophie, who stepped down as Foreign Minister to be with him, and their 4 children. He died peacefully on the evening of 24th November 2023. Our thoughts all lie with his family.

RBCC pays tribute to a great Australian sportsman, a distinguished businessman and a loyal and loving father and husband. Christopher, the world is a poorer place without you, but we are richer for having known you. May you rest in peace.