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