On the weekend of the 27th August the Dik-Diks of Tanzania traveled to Laikipia to take on the Maasai Cricket Warriors. The Dik-Diks are more formally known s the Dar es Salaam International Cricket Club and consist mainly of expats.
The Ngobit River Lodge hosted the teams for the weekend while the Ol Pejeta Conservancy took care of the preparations of the cricket field and hosted the battle in the field. With a heavy build-up of clouds it was decided to play a 25-overs match.
Tony Brennan, the Dik-Diks captain shares his experience with us . . .
……menwhile, a small but hardy herd of Dik-Diks was migrating from Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Khartoum to Kenya’s Laikipia region to take on the mighty Maasai Cricket Warriors of Il Polei. This tour, the brainchild of Dik-Dik stalwart Emily Poskett, was to see the first-ever competitive game for many of the Maasai players.
Having fed the opposition the night before the game at a barbecue (“braai” for slower readers) which culminated in proof of our assumption that they could probably jump higher than us, but we could hold our own in catching practice, followed by a caterer-challenging breakfast (“did you see that guy? He took half a loaf!”) the two teams shared a bus to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. If there is a stranger place to play cricket I’ve never been there – and I’ve been to a few strange ones. Getting to the ground involved a 90-minute game drive (Maasai looking longingly out of the window at various species of antelope – if we ever come across a team called the “Gerenuks”, we should be ready for some tall fast bowlers), before we found the ground, slap bang in the middle of the wildlife conservancy. The matting wicket had been put out the night before, which explained the zebra tracks across it. The Dik-Diks were short a few players so we borrowed a couple of Maasai and locals to get to eleven players, and the game could commence. Winning the toss, I chose to bowl.
With some trepidation I gave the new ball to Max. Older Dik-Diks will remember Max’s wheels coming off against the Zanzibar Stars in 2008. History repeated itself. Part of the reason for this tour was that we wanted to show the Maasai how cricket is played in a friendly but competitive spirit with certain proprieties being observed. The opening bowler finishing his second over under-arm was not part of the plan. The Maasai batsmen showed themselves to be well coached, but possibly rather more defensive than one would expect of people who turned up to the game carrying spears. Even Razi nearly bowled a maiden. Leigh’s bowling enabled me to learn phonetically the Maasai for “this guy’s bobbling it about a bit both ways, and the in-ducker is really quite handy.” With Brendan, one of our guests taking a catch so spectacular that even a passing impala applauded – the Maasai were always on the back foot. They ended up all out in their 25th and final over, for a total of 89.
Chasing, we had an early setback as Njayo, a fast-reflexed warrior, caught George brilliantly in the gully. Leigh, however, was conjuring up images of Burhani 2009 with his crisp hitting, before he missed the statutory straight one, his score on 20. At 43-3 we were cruising, but Naimado, the Maasai fast bowler took two-in-two (quote from Razi – “it was the first time that, as umpire, the bowler said to me “can you hold this?” and gave me a feather”) and at 45-5 the game was well poised. But Adam came in and swept some delightful boundaries, which nearly got us to the line. An elderly Mzee (aka Tony) then came in and saw us past the Maasai total. A 2-wicket win safely bagged by the Dik-Diks.
There was time enough for a second, 10-over game in which we duly batted first. Razi and Max opened, having not batted in the first game, and were simply brilliant. Razi’s batting has improved by the year, and if he would just put his bleedin’ golf clubs away for a few months, he would be a real player. Max’s batting was a revelation. A veteran of the “not having done it for three years” coaching plan, he surprised not least himself when he eased an on drive across the veldt for four. Two balls later he was dancing down the pitch, and hitting the day’s only six some twenty yards clear of the boundary. This is true. With their partnership lasting much of the innings, we reached a total of 62, which was to prove too much for the Maasai. As the last ball was bowled, it was a joy to reflect on the day and the rare opportunity to finish a game in front of a crowd of 200+ Buffalo.
The following day saw the Dik-Diks head into Il Polei Village in Laikipia North, where some of the Maasai Cricket Warriors come from. Some cricket coaching and outreach activities were held with children from the Il Polei Primary School, which turned into a lot of fun and laughter for all.
The return journey was interrupted by a special treat at the Ol Jogi Wildlife sanctuary, which was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and an up-close-and-personal encounter with wildlife at the sanctuary.
After a very successful and enjoyable trip the Dik-Diks departed but not before having a stop-over for lunch at the Trout Tree, a unique restaurant that is built around a huge sacred Mugumo fig tree and located along a lush river. Freshly caught trout prepared in a variety of ways is the speciality. Resident Colobus and Syke monkeys are a regular sighting and occasional visitors to the table.
We invite and welcome any teams wishing to play against the Maasai Cricket Warriors. It is a unique opportunity to play against cricketers fully dressed in traditional attire and experiencing an adventure in the wilderness with abundant wildlife to be seen.
(Compiled by Aliya Bauer with contributions from Tony Brennan)
Anyone interested in playing against the Maasai Cricket Warriors can drop us a line through our Contact page.The Maasai Cricket Warriors and the Dik-Diks

 

Naimado On The Attack
Naimado On The Attack
The Buffalo Approach The Boundary & Look On In The Background
The Buffalo Approach The Boundary & Look On In The BackgroundThe End Of The Innings
The End Of The Innings
The Field Is Set
The Field Is Set
The Victorious Dik-Diks Team
The Victorious Dik-Diks Team
The Dik-Diks Coaching Children At Il Polei Primary School
The Dik-Diks Coaching Children At Il Polei Primary School
Max Coaching The Correct Batting Stance
Max Coaching The Correct Batting Stance
The Children In Action At Il Polei Primary School
The Children In Action At Il Polei Primary School
Max & Tony Doing Coaching Drills
Max & Tony Doing Coaching Drills
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