Badgers Cricket Club – Season 2002 Match Reports


This page holds the match reports for all games played during the 2002 season. The links below provide a direct route to the report for each game plus access to the reports for seasons from 2000 to the present. It is also possible to link to them from the associated rolling results page entries and I hope to extend that facility to include all of the historical results pages, once I’ve figured out the best method of doing so.

Unless otherwise noted all match reports were written by your host and webmaster, Steve Pitts. For reasons that are now lost in the mists of time, the reports are laid out in reverse chronological order, but hopefully the links above make that an unimportant detail.

28th September – Merrow: 169 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 165 all out

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Our traditional end of season visit to Merrow provided a few surprises, not the least being that the weather was actually kind to us for once. The Badgers seemed to come to life with the sun on their backs, and another of those surprises was that we really made a contest of it this time around.

Opening bowlers Mark Gordon and Ian Gregg both bowled tidily, with the run rate being restricted to around three an over for the first twenty overs. The fielding wasn’t quite so tidy, with several catches being grassed, including three difficult ones by the Skipper himself, a rarity indeed. One of those spilled chances was a caught and bowled, which would have been an absolute blinder if Mark had clung onto it, but the drop seemed to fire him up, and the next delivery was a yard or two quicker than anything previously delivered and resulted in a catch at the wicket.

This initial breakthrough, with the score on 31, started a steady drip of wickets, without the Badgers bowlers ever quite getting on top of the batting, mainly due to a battling innings from Merrow’s no. 3 Windus (51). When he became Graham Davenport’s third victim – eighth man out in the 33rd over, with 111 on the board – it looked like we might bowl them out for less than the 139 we restricted them to earlier in the year. A ninth wicket stand of 56 between Hurst and Cook changed that in a hurry, and enabled the latter to declare on 169 (although I swear that I had him stumped off what turned out to be the last ball of the innings – the umpire would have had to have the eyes of a hawk though, and it would have made no difference to the final result of the game).

Badgers reply got off to a scratchy start with both openers playing and missing a fair bit, although Alan Tickner (28) also hit some resounding boundaries, and the pair did manage a fifty partnership before departing within a couple of overs of each other. The run rate rarely got above three an over, and it looked like we would start the last twenty needing at least a hundred to win, but Simon Fox (22) and David Jones (22) put on a little spurt to make the requirement 85. Unfortunately for Badgers hopes they were parted five overs later, and the run rate then started to creep up again, despite the best efforts of Dave Tickner (31), in his usual inimitable style.

With seven overs left the required rate was up to seven an over, but a big effort by Dave, including a couple of sixes, looked like swinging things our way again. Sadly it was not to be as the wickets tumbled in the last five overs in a desperate bid to snatch victory. With two balls left any result was still possible but batting hero Windus castled Mark Gordon and Badgers fell just four runs short. Whilst it was a shame to lose such a tight game, it was an exciting finish and pleasurable afternoon for all, and for the first time in the last four or five years we actually gave Merrow the sort of match their friendliness and hospitality deserve.

21st September – Beddington: 173 for 8 dec.   Badgers: 174 for 8

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We last played against Beddington more than 30 years ago, 30th May 1970 to be precise, but a pleasant afternoon weather wise was complemented by some pleasant company after the game, and a good time was had by all. The pitch was set up rather strangely, with the boundary on one side much shorter than the other three – something to do with needing to win their final league game, which meant that some shots didn’t receive their full value as they were retrieved from the distant corners whereas others went for four rather than just one or two. The wicket was also a real featherbed, another deliberate decision related to league play apparently, and all of the bowlers on both sides struggled to get anything much out of it.

Beddington made steady if unspectacular progress early on, with the run rate hovering around three an over for most of the innings, but wickets were also hard to come by thanks to the genteel nature of the pitch. Ian Gregg bowled a tidy spell with little reward but it was the introduction of Simon Fox (3-33) in the twenty-fifth over that finally saw the wickets start to fall. Two spectacular catches – diving efforts by a comatose-looking John Rourke at mid on and by the bowler himself – ironically from two of the worst balls that Foxy threw down, put some pressure on the batting side, but a solid if unorthodox performance by no. 4 Baker (60 no.) saw Beddington through to what looked like a reasonable total of 173.

Our pursuit of this total got off to a good start, with opener Alan Tickner and no. 3 Simon Fox (19) taking toll of some loose deliveries from the Beddington opening attack. A couple of quick wickets by the change bowlers altered the picture somewhat and at 51 for 3 after a dozen overs the game was nicely poised. David Aldwinckle (53) joined Alan at this juncture and the pair gradually proceeded to take the game away from the home side with a mixture of hard hitting and rotating the strike with well-taken singles. At the start of the twenty overs we required 75 to win and were scoring at a rate of exactly four and a half an over.

Thirteen overs later, with the club’s fourth fourth wicket century partnership of the season in the bank – a fairly remarkable fact given that there have only been six others in club history – and only 21 needed from the last seven overs, it looked like a cakewalk. The introduction of Baker into the attack changed all that instantaneously, with David chipping his first delivery to mid-wicket and the domino effect saw 153 for 3 transformed into 163 for 8 with just thirteen balls remaining. One of those wickets was a fine piece of work by Beddington’s young keeper, scampering out towards square leg before spinning and hitting the single visible stump to run out Alan for 60, but the rest went fairly tamely.

A cool head was needed at this point in proceedings, and it came from erstwhile skipper Steve Pitts (18 no.) ably assisted by Ian Gregg, and for once the collapse was stalled and the winning run squeezed from the penultimate delivery. An exciting end to an entertaining day’s cricket and hopefully it won’t be another thirty years before the next game between these two sides.

15th September – Badgers: 177 all out   Crondall: 106 for 7

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A trip to the Surrey/Hampshire border for everybody this week, and our annual game against Allan Butt’s ‘other’ club. Openers Steve Pitts (42) and Alan Tickner (37) seemed to be in a hurry to get back home again, adding 74 for the first wicket in just ten overs, although Steve was gifted a life in the first over when a skied catch to the bowler was spilled horribly. Graham Ward (20) helped Alan to add another 40 for the second wicket, but the run rate had slowed to (a still respectable) four an over, where it would stay for the rest of the innings.

The introduction of two bowlers with more than 125 years of life experience between them put a kink in the Badgers ambitions as Allan Butt and Stan Clarke demonstrated the benefits of bowling a good line and length and proceeded to chew up the middle order. Clarke, who has more than 3000 wickets to his credit for Crondall, finished with 4 for 17 and it was only some late solidity from David Jones (14 no.) and Simon Fox (23) that prevented the fast start going to waste.

As it turned out, it didn’t make much difference as Crondall showed little ambition to chase the 178 they needed to win, and despite not losing their first wicket until the fifteenth over, at that point they had just 34 runs on the board. Mark Gordon then made the breakthroughs that his pace and aggression deserved, finishing his opening spell of 10 overs with 3 for 9, but further wickets came too slowly despite Mick Willmott (3-30) throwing the ball up to encourage the batsmen to play their shots. Badgers didn’t help themselves by missing a crucial stumping and a couple of catches and the game petered out to a tame draw with Clarke, unbeaten on 19, a thorn in their side to the end.

7th September – Epsom Liberals: 247 for 8   Badgers: 143 all out

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A free date in the calendar this week was filled with a fixture against Epsom Liberals, who had scratched from the originally scheduled game back in June. The last time we played them, back in 2000 at Alexandra Rec., they posted over 200 and then rolled us over well short of the target, and this game, although played at Gibraltar Rec. instead, turned out in a very similar fashion.

It was decided to play a limited overs game, forty overs per side, and Epsom Liberals got off to a rapid start in comparison with most of our opponents, scoring at four and a half an over against the opening bowlers, and then picking up the pace to six an over off the change bowlers. However, it felt like we were keeping things under control by taking wickets, with four down after eighteen overs had been bowled. Opposition skipper Mark Gall, batting at number five, had other ideas though, and he soon took the game away from us with some ferocious hitting.

It looked as if a record score against us was well within range (the previous highest being 265), but Alan Tickner managed to introduce a measure of control including having Gall caught for 114 (at least, that’s what it says in the book, but it felt like more and the total of all the batsmen’s runs was nearly twenty short of the overall score, so it may well have been closer to the 140 that he was laying claim to by the end of the evening in the Liberal club) and in the end we were staring down the barrel at a mere 247!!

This represented the fourth highest score against us (over the past fifteen years anyway) and it probably bears mentioning that during that same fifteen year period we’ve never won a game where our opponents have scored 200 or more (equally, we’ve never lost a game where we’ve scored that many). Badgers reply got off to a terrible start, 15 for 3 after the first ball of the fifth over, but Alan Tickner (57) and Simon Fox (52) quickly got the situation back under control and after eighteen overs the score was 120 for 3 with the required run rate well below six an over.

Sadly, both Alan and Simon perished at long on, valiantly attempting to continue the onslaught, and the rest of the batting capitulated in abject fashion. The last six wickets fell for a mere six runs, with the final two being taken by the eleven year old son of the opposition’s century maker to complete a good day for the Galls.

1st September – Blindley Heath: 213 for 5 dec.   Badgers: 184 for 6

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Our annual visit to the batter-friendly confines of Blindley Heath produced the usual high scoring game and at one point looked like it might also produce an exciting finish. Blindley Heath batted first and the all too familiar sight of Burchett (67) and Cresswell (37) scoring runs greeted the Badgers opening bowlers. That said, we did keep them in check for the first twenty overs, with a scoring rate of little more than two an over thanks to tight bowling from Mark Gordon and Ian Gregg. Second change Simon Fox achieved the first breakthrough, having Cresswell caught behind with the score on 60, but he was eventually hammered out of the attack, and Burchett and McCloy (37) then set about both Alan Wilkes and Mick Willmott immediately they were introduced into the attack.

Wilko seemed to take exception to being thumped for sixteen runs off his first over and thereafter bowled as quickly and as well as I’ve seen him in a couple of seasons. Mick also bounced back, first having Burchett caught and bowled to end the 80 run second wicket stand, and then dismissing McCloy a couple of overs later. Just when it looked like we might restrict Blindley Heath to a score below 200, the fifth wicket pair added 55 runs with some unorthodox hitting and good running between the wickets, and we ended up looking down the barrel at 214 to win.

Openers Alan Tickner (20) and Steve Pitts (66) struggled to get the innings going against some parsimonious bowling from Heath’s A. Jenkins, who (by my reckoning, and I faced most of them) bowled just one truly bad ball in a ten over spell that cost only 11 runs and included the wicket of Tickner. The last twenty overs started with just 54 runs on the board, and over the next dozen overs the middle order came and went whilst the scoring was mostly in singles rather than the boundary hits that were increasingly required.

Then, with skipper Mark Gordon settling in after joining Steve at the crease, the game almost turned on its head as Mark went ballistic, flogging the ball to all corners of the ground. Steve perished at long off trying to add to the onslaught but 73 runs came in just 6 overs, and the impossible now looked merely improbable with 37 runs required from the final two overs. Sadly for the Badgers Mark’s barrage came to an end in that penultimate over, his 56 coming over the course of 10 overs and including 6 fours and 4 sixes, and the game petered out to a draw.

25th August – Badgers: 176 for 9 dec.   Maori-Oxshott: 119 for 8

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Almost inevitably after my comments in last week’s match report about their relative form, Alan Tickner had a bad week with the bat, and David Aldwinckle a much improved one as Badgers visited Maori-Oxshott for the first time since Oxshott Village merged with Maori CC. David may have scored just 15 runs, but he faced 65 balls in doing so, and helped opener Dave Tickner (22) to see off a hostile opening spell from Mills (8 overs, 4 maidens, 1 wicket for 8 runs). Once Dave had taken one expansive swipe too many and David had become the second of G. Harper’s five victims, the Badgers innings was in disarray at 66 for 5.

The rescue operation was started by Graham (44) and Barry (37) Davenport, who put on 73 runs for the sixth wicket, undoubtedly the highest father and son partnership in Badgers’ history, and the relative prosperity of 176 for 9 was reached with further assistance from Christian Hickey (16 no.) and a plethora of extras (25), especially byes.

Maori-Oxshott’s innings got off to a solid enough start, with 39 runs being scored before the first wicket went down, but once the change bowlers were introduced into the attack a steady decline ensued. Wickets fell regularly, with both David Aldwinckle (2 for 18 from 8 overs) and Ian Gregg (3 for 31) bowling tightly, and Graham Ward snaring a couple of superb catches. Mick Willmott (2 for 17) joined in the fun too, but Oxshott decided fairly early in the last twenty overs, and with only six wickets down, that they would bat out for the draw, so the last dozen overs or so proved a tedious and ultimately frustrating exercise in trying to winkle out batsmen who were not prepared to go for their shots.

18th August – Deando: 78 all out   Badgers: 81 for 1

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After last week’s debacle it was important that we picked ourselves up and got back to winning ways. Fortunately our bowling proved to be up to the task at Deando on a warm and muggy Sunday afternoon, and the fact that our opponents ended up fielding two twelve year olds in their side didn’t harm our cause :)

Chief destroyer with the ball was captain Mark Gordon. He scattered five wickets across eight overs, including three consecutive wicket maidens, whilst conceding just nine runs. First change Ian Gregg (3-9) then added to the carnage with one wicket maiden and one double wicket maiden of his own. Deando’s position would have been even more parlous but for three things – a generous helping of wides, a nightmare performance by wicket keeper Steve Pitts who let past seventeen byes, and a last wicket partnership of 14 between the aforementioned youngsters – Daniel Moore and Darrell Pitts – both of whose fathers were playing in the game, albeit on opposite sides.

The pair stayed together for over ten overs, indubitably the longest partnership of the innings in terms of time and the second highest in runs, and put their elders to shame with some sensible batting. Sadly it was a silly run out that put an end to their fun, leaving a final total of 78 runs for Badgers to chase. Despite David Aldwinckle’s miserable season with the bat continuing, opener Alan Tickner (40 no.) and recent acquisition Graham Ward (34 no.) were able to get Badgers past that score with few alarums and excursions. This was the seventh time in 2002 that Alan has top-scored for the Badgers, and the third time in three weeks. Where would we be without him this season??

11th August – Reigate: 170 for 8 dec.   Badgers: 42 all out

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Reigate Priory were featured on ‘ICC Cricket World’, the Channel 4 cricket magazine programme, earlier in the week during a piece on Lashings Cricket Club, and it turns out that this is their 150th season. Sadly I doubt that the picturesque ground can have seen many more pitiful performances than the one that the Badgers put up on Sunday. We have been playing the Cavaliers side since 1994, and most of those games have been high-scoring and competitive encounters. Last season we got soundly beaten but we somehow managed to ‘better’ that this time around.

The game got off to a fairly good start from a Badgers’ point of view, with the opening bowlers keeping things very tight and the scoring rate staying below two an over for the first twenty overs. John Rourke was particularly impressive, bowling ten overs, four of which were maidens, and taking two wickets for fourteen runs. Mark Gordon also bowled well when he came on as first change, working up a cracking pace and keeping the opposition skipper Leech (23), who had scored 144 not out against us two seasons ago, under control before eventually having him caught behind.

Reigate gradually picked up the pace, and we were just not quite able to either keep them in check or resolve the problem by bowling them out. The fielding got a little ragged as the batsmen milked the short singles, and we bowled too many ‘four balls’. Graham Davenport (4-37) was both the best and the worst of the later bowlers. He was guilty of bowling too much loose stuff that the batsmen could milk for runs, but he also bowled some very nice deliveries that proved to be too much for the recipient, with three of his four dismissals being clean bowled. In the end a score of 170 for 8 from 46.4 overs represented a solid performance from the Badgers’ bowling attack on what seemed a near perfect batting track and a fast outfield.

When it came our turn to bat, the track didn’t look quite so good. For the second year running opening bowler Brickley (5-16) destroyed our top order, with no one even reaching double figures (apart from extras!!) and this time there was no big partnership (see last year’s match report for more) to make the final score look a little more respectable. Forty-two represents the Badgers worst batting performance since I took over the job of keeping the club statistics in 1988 and for some reason I just can’t bring myself to go digging back through the paper files to find out when we last did worse.

27th July – Badgers: 197 all out   Old Alleynians: 198 for 6

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(Old Alleynians also post scores on their website, although it appears that, unlike last year, no one is writing any match reports. You may care to see what they do have)

In recent years our visits to Dulwich have been graced with hot sunny days and Saturday was no exception, to the extent that even fielding second was hard work. These fixtures are normally high scoring affairs too, given the artificial track and the short straight boundaries, and this game was no different in that respect either. For once our innings got off to a reasonable start with the first fifty partnership of the season, openers Steve Pitts (16) and Dave Tickner (42) building a stand of 56 before being parted.

This good work was continued by Mark Gordon (26) and especially Alan Tickner (69) who shared the club’s second 103 run fourth wicket partnership this year, but when Alan became the fourth man out, with the score on 172, things deteriorated in fairly farcical fashion. Whilst it was obviously necessary to push on and try and post a score over 200, the lower order rapidly perished in the attempt, mostly through failure to hit the straight ones. The last five wickets went down for just eight runs, and opening bowler Beattie, who had been removed from the attack earlier after getting a bit of a hammering, returned to take 4 for 41 including three wickets from his final over.

When it came to our turn to field, the Old Alleynians’ opening pair put on 58, with Tampiyappa (58) leading the way, and we never quite got ourselves into position to win the match. However things did start to look promising with Simon Fox (3-55) and Alan Tickner (2-41) working in tandem and wickets falling regularly enough to give the fielders good reason to concentrate. When the fifth wicket fell with the score on 137 it looked like we might be in with a shout, but S. van der Merwe (44 no.) came to the wicket and proceeded to take the game away from us. His brother joined him at the fall of the next wicket and the pair of them added 36 runs for the seventh wicket to carry Old Alleynians to victory. All in all, from a Badgers point of view, a hard afternoon’s graft for no reward.

20th July – Ewhurst: 101 all out   Badgers: 103 for 3

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We’ve been playing Ewhurst for four seasons, but on Saturday discovered that one-time Badgers stalwart John Bailey, who was team secretary for at least seven years back in the Sixties, is a member there. John watched his old team complete a fairly routine win over the new one, but with Brian Moore also in attendance an entertaining afternoon of story swapping was had by all.

Ewhurst got off to a steady start, despite some parsimonious opening bowling from David Aldwinckle (1-9), with number three Porter (45) anchoring the innings. They were rocked back when Simon Fox (3-26) joined the attack and proceeded to bowl three overs in which he took three wickets for no runs. A 46 run sixth wicket partnership had repaired much of the damage from that attack when a further change of bowling saw the wheels fall off completely. Mick Willmott (3-8) induced several false shots, including the key wicket of Porter, Alan Tickner (2-7) bowled his usual tight line and the Ewhurst lower order capitulated – the last five wickets falling for just six runs.

A score of 101 never looked like being enough, and after a sluggish but solid start, the introduction of Barry Davenport (37) at the fall of the first wicket saw the run rate jump from three an over to five. Barry hit three big sixes in his innings, and shared a fifty run partnership with opener Dave Tickner (34 no.). Barry’s dismissal caused a small blip in the Badgers’ progress, but ultimately the two Davids saw the team through to a comfortable seven wicket win.

13th July – South Beckenham: 59 all out   Badgers: 61 for 6

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This week’s match-up was a CCC arranged fixture against South Beckenham, a team that we last played fifteen years ago. The ground was tucked away amongst farms south-east of Croydon, and the wicket looked a little like it had been left as set-aside – a real green-top. The Badgers turned up with only ten men, but our opponents were able to muster just eight, and in the end that short-handedness was to cost them dearly.

Mark Gordon (2-6) got the match off to the best possible start with a wicket from the very first ball, and indeed should have had another in his next over when everyone other than umpire and batsman felt that opener Kelly (21) had given a catch at the wicket. In the end it was probably a good job that he wasn’t given out, because the game would have been even less competitive.

Beckenham’s progress was pedestrian, with Ian Gregg bowling eleven overs for fourteen runs and Mark conceding just six from his nine overs, but the introduction of second change Alan Tickner really turned the game on its head. A smart stumping got rid of Kelly in Alan’s first over, and three more wickets had gone by the end of his third. When he completed his ‘five-fer’ three overs later he had figures of six overs, three maidens, five wickets for five runs, and South Beckenham were all out for 59.

What happened next was a fine example of the perils of a little over-confidence mixed with a batting order tempered by the knowledge of having such a low score to chase. Lee Bates, the South Beckenham skipper, opened the bowling from one end and barely delivered a bad ball whilst firing down sixteen overs for just twenty runs. As is so often the case, it was his partner Brookes (5-23) who was the main beneficiary, with the early Badgers batsmen simply not showing the patience in the face of the accurate onslaught at the other end.

When captain Mark Gordon, batting at number eight, joined Steve Pitts in the middle the score was seventeen for six, and fifty-nine looked a long way away. However, these two did show the required patience, waiting for the odd bad ball to come and sometimes managing to score runs from them. Steve took 30 balls to get off the mark, and eventually amassed just twelve from 61 deliveries. Mark wasn’t able to score much more quickly than that, his unbeaten 23 coming from 63 balls, but the pair were able to see the Badgers through to victory.

6th July – Woldingham: 155 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 76 all out

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At the third attempt we managed to get a complete match against Woldingham Village after the previous two seasons saw the fixture rained off, although this year there was a problem with the drains to ensure that we couldn’t avoid the issue of water altogether. The day was enlivened by the appearance of Badgers legend Brian Moore and his wife Marian, although the current team did little that will have impressed them.

Opener Haque (51) hit some lusty blows to ensure that Woldingham’s innings got off to a good start, and both opening bowlers went for more than four an over, an unusually high scoring rate against us this season. The introduction of the change bowlers into the attack saw an immediate change of fortunes, with Alan Wilkes (1-33) having Haque stumped in his first over, Graham Davenport (3-27) adding three more during his eight over spell, and both slowing the run rate somewhat. Woldingham continued to accumulate, but in the end a score of 155 looked a little below par given the short boundary on one quarter of the ground.

As it was Badgers didn’t even get halfway to that total. The top order all capitulating tamely, with the honourable exception of opener Alan Tickner (17), and only a somewhat eccentric thirty-eight run sixth wicket partnership between Paul Wilson (18) and Keith Miller (18) stood between us and complete embarrassment.

30th June – Badgers: 185 for 8   Milton: 175 for 9

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Our second ever visit to Milton turned out to be fruitful, but the weather rather let us down during the second half of the game – those of us who were fielding got rather wet and it was equally miserable for the spectators. The afternoon had started out warm, albeit windy and cloudy, and Mark Gordon had lost the toss for the third week running. Unusually for Badgers cricket, we played a limited overs match, and therefore equally unusually we were inserted to bat.

Our innings got off to a sticky start especially once the Tickner brother’s opening partnership (25) was broken by the Houseman father and son pairing opening the bowling for Milton, but a scoring rate of less than three an over was given much needed impetus by the arrival of Barry Davenport (72) at third wicket down. Soon after he was joined by Mark and the pair proceeded to push things along nicely, adding 73 for the fifth wicket. When Barry departed in the twenty-eighth over the rate had risen to 4.5 an over, and it stayed there until the end thanks to Mark’s unbeaten 44, a sackful of extras and a brief cameo from Ian Gregg (10).

The Milton innings got off to an equally stodgy start, both sides standing at 30 for 2 after eleven overs, with David Aldwinckle (6-1-11-0) especially effective at stifling the scoring. In another strange coincidence, Milton’s main partnership was also 73 runs, and this enabled them to get close to the run rate required before the first of three silly run outs got rid of Fennell (62). This, and the dismissal of David Smith (38) in the very next over, put the pressure back on and despite a few big hits and the increasingly heavy rainfall, Badgers held on to win by ten runs.

29th June – Hook Norton: 122 all out   Badgers: 123 for 3

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After the, by now all too familiar, cancellation of the Friday game, the 2002 tour got off to a belated start, but this was more than made up for by the usual friendly welcome from the folk at Hook Norton. The weather was also unusually kind to us, and for the first time this season we played on a decent track where the ball came on to the bat. Hook Norton chose to bat first, but their batsmen failed to take advantage of the good pitch.

All seven of the Badgers’ bowlers used contributed to the cause by keeping things tight, with Ian Gregg especially impressive in that regard during his opening spell of eleven overs for just nineteen runs. Most of the Hook Norton batsmen failed to settle to the task, and wickets fell regularly until the eighth wicket pair added a little impetus, primarily thanks to D. White (29). Allan Butt put a stop to their fun and games when he joined the attack, taking both batsmen in the same over, and the final score of 122 was at least thirty runs short of par.

When Badgers came to bat, however, it looked like they might make a mess of things, yet again, with the bat in their hands. After just four overs the score stood at twenty for three, and skipper Mark Gordon joined Steve Pitts at the wicket. The pair stuck at the task, and gradually grew in confidence as it became apparent that there were no demons in the pitch, and little in the bowling. In the end it turned out to be an easy win for the Badgers, with Mark bringing up his half century, and finishing the game, with three fours from four balls. He finished on 53 not out, whilst Steve was unbeaten on 36.

22nd June – Merrow: 139 all out   Badgers: 109 all out

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Thanks to a cancellation by Epsom Liberals, we finally got to visit traditional end of season opponents Merrow during the heart of the season, and the weather stayed kind to us rather than delivering the sort of downpour that is more familiar for this fixture. The wickets are finally starting to harden up a little now, but this particular track was rather two-faced and batsmen on both sides had to battle with some balls that spat and others that kept low.

Badgers’ opening bowlers again kept things tight, and with the odd wicket falling along the way the pressure was kept on the batsmen. Ian Gregg bowled eleven overs for just ten runs plus two wickets, and Merrow were 29 for 4 at one point in proceedings. Having got our opponents on the ropes we rather let them off the hook, with a missed stumping and several dropped catches spoiling what was otherwise a solid fielding performance, and the eighth wicket pair were able to add 51 runs to the total and make things rather more difficult for our batsmen than they ought to have been.

Only three of those batsmen came to terms with what was required, with Alan Tickner starting nicely but falling a few balls after being unsettled by a quick delivery in the softer places. With the score on 28 for 4 Barry Davenport came to the crease and carried the fight to the bowlers. The usual mixture of big hitting and the (very) occasional defensive shot, saw him almost single-handedly drag the score past the hundred mark, before falling to a decent catch on the long off boundary, and thereafter captain Mark Gordon rapidly ran out of partners as a position of promise was quickly squandered. All in all a patchy performance, but we at least acquitted ourselves better than the previous couple of visits to Merrow.

15th June – NPL Lensbury: 111 for 8 dec.   Badgers: 113 for 5

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[This report by Alan Tickner]

On the day that England beat Denmark 3-0 Badgers recorded their second win of the season against NPL. Having enjoyed the football and the kind hospitality of our hosts before the game, Badgers won the toss and decided to field on what proved to be another slow track. NPL progress was painfully slow against some very tidy bowling particularly from openers Ian Gregg and Johnny Rourke. All of the six bowlers used picked up a wicket but the star was Ian who finished with figures of 3 for 16 from 12 overs.

Ian also had the distinction of holding onto all of the outfield catches – four in total. However this impressive statistic rather hides the fact that Badgers managed to drop a total of seven catches during the innings, three of them by Greggy himself! With tea between innings, NPL finally called it a day after 51 overs had been bowled, leaving Badgers to make 112 to win off approximately 32 overs!

Needing a positive start, Barry Davenport was promoted to open with skipper Alan Tickner, and after four overs he had bludgeoned the score to 34, scoring 25 himself, before charging the change bowler Redstone and being comprehensively stumped! Alan and David Jones took the score onto 64 before the customary Badgers collapse ensued and soon the ten man Badgers were 71 for 4. However Mick Willmott (11) hit a couple of lusty blows and with Alan (45 no.) at last deciding it was time to open his shoulders, the home side’s score was passed with seven overs to spare.

9th June – Stoke D'Abernon: 42 all out   Badgers: did not bat

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It always looked unlikely that the weather would allow us to play, and so it proved. The rain held off just long enough for us to get started, but it began to drizzle almost as soon as the first ball was bowled, and gradually got worse as the innings progressed. This was a shame from the Badgers point of view because our opening bowlers were mighty impressive, whilst the Stoke batting varied from poor to woeful. Mark Gordon started with seven consecutive maidens, and with Ian Gregg almost as economical at the other end, Stoke managed to amass just twenty runs from the first nineteen overs for the loss of three wickets.

Whilst the scoring rate approached two an over for the remainder of the innings, the wickets continued to tumble with the last six falling for just ten runs. Mark and Ian operated in tandem for the whole of the innings, and finished with a five wicket haul apiece. These performances were made even more impressive by the fact that the deteriorating conditions were starting to make the bowler’s footing very treacherous, to the extent that Mark went base over apex whilst delivering the final ball of what turned out to be his penultimate over.

An early tea was taken when the Stoke innings closed, but the rain continued to fall steadily, and the sensible decision to abandon proceedings was taken with little or no demur from either side. Ironically, the downpour relented a while later, and a lovely sunny evening replaced the earlier clouds – but all too late from a cricketing perspective.

1st June – Badgers: 192 for 4 dec.   Epsom Methodists: 115 for 4

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At last, a glorious sunny afternoon, and a pitch that was slightly quicker than the puddings we’ve played on to date. However, the good weather and the long weekend brought everyone out of hibernation, and the M25 did a very good impression of a car park, so I missed the first few overs of the game and any chance of getting a bat. I can tell you that Badgers batted first after losing the toss, and that we got off to another slow start, with just twenty-one runs on the board after the first dozen overs.

Progress thereafter was somewhat quicker with the pace really picking up once the third wicket partnership between opener Alan Tickner and captain Mark Gordon (37) settled down. Mark added a real flourish with three sixes off one over, before being castled in the following over, but Alan continued his serene progress and notched up his third ton in four seasons (after thirty seasons of toiling to get there for the first time) with a single in the final over of the innings. His innings of exactly 100 included ten fours and two sixes and ensured that we posted a decent total for the first time this year.

When it came to our turn to bowl though, it transpired that there was little or nothing in the wicket for the bowlers, and with the extra pace off the pitch making total miscues less likely than in previous weeks, the wicket taking opportunities proved to be few and far between. Epsom never looked like matching our score, but a solid innings from number three Johnson (52) made certain that they weren’t going to lose the game either, and despite a fiery spell in the closing stages from Mark Gordon and a little bit of turn for Mick Willmott, the game petered out to a tame draw.

18th May – Leigh: 106 all out   Badgers: 73 all out

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Yet another game we were lucky to play, on yet another slow and low wicket, with the added spice of two of our players turning up rather late to disrupt the pattern somewhat and give Darrell a chance to do some substitute fielding. For the second week running Badgers fielded first, and whilst the bowling wasn’t as bad as it had been two weeks ago it wasn’t as good as it had been last week either. Ian Gregg bowled a marathon fourteen over opening spell without reward, and Christian Hickey reeled off ten consecutive overs from the other end whilst giving away just sixteen runs and taking two wickets. After twenty overs the scoring rate was just two an over, and it never really picked up much as it took Leigh forty two overs to amass their total.

At one point it looked like Leigh might post a more substantial score, but Graham Davenport’s usual mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous and some good balls from John Rourke (introduced late into the attack due to over-sleeping!!) skittled the last half dozen home batsmen cheaply.

Once again though, we let ourselves down badly with bat in hand. No one ever got settled in, and wickets fell regularly whilst runs flowed like chilled treacle. Opener Alan Tickner (15) top-scored for the second time in three weeks, but received little assistance from the rest of the top order, whilst the only glimmer of hope came when Barry Davenport (12) and Christian Hickey (13) were adding twenty-three for the fifth wicket. Many batsmen on both sides were undone by the uneven bounce, with played on being the favourite mode of dismissal, but most of us only have ourselves to blame for not playing exclusively on the front foot.

12th May – Caterham: 45 all out   Badgers: 47 for 5

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Another new opponent, another slow and spongy wicket, on another typical English spring afternoon, but a different result this week. Badgers first ever trip to play Caterham nearly ended before it had begun, but in the end it was decided that play was possible, and after the tea interval we were rewarded with a beautiful sunny evening in which to finish the game and enjoy a few drinks with our most hospitable hosts.

As bad as our bowling was last week, we certainly made up for it this week. The opening pair of Christian Hickey and John Rourke, backed up by Mark Gordon when Christian had to leave the attack with a hamstring strain, kept the opposition in a vice like grip, with only seven runs coming from the first eleven overs, and exactly one run per over from the first twenty-two. John started in fine fettle, with a wicket in each of his first three overs, and finished with an impressive three for ten from eleven overs. Mark chipped in with a superb caught and bowled from his second delivery, and following the first of two crazy run outs, Caterham were 15 for 5.

Their sixth wicket pair, led by skipper Yabsley, were just beginning to look like repairing the damage when Graham Davenport, whose first over had been rather wayward and produced ten runs, followed up a wide with a much straighter in-swinger that clipped the home captain’s pads and castled him. The last five wickets proceeded to collapse for just ten runs and the final total of 45 had been amassed over more than 37 overs.

However, when it came our turn to bat, it looked like we might repeat last week’s performance. When tea was taken we had already lost three wickets in nine overs, and the thirteenth over of the innings saw two more fall with the score on just fifteen. Thankfully, Simon Fox (20 no.) and Mark Gordon (14 no.) rescued the situation in fine fashion, showing large reserves of patience whilst waiting for the scoring chances to come. They were few and far between to start with, with just 21 runs having been scored after 23 overs, but it was always going to be the case that if they just stuck at it we would eventually surpass the required total, and so it proved.

It did take us 33 overs and one ball, and there were a couple of lucky escapes along the way, but this week we came out on the right end of the result, and produced a much better team performance along the way, especially in the field.

5th May – Badgers: 59 all out   Burgh Heath: 62 for 2

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The Badgers’ forty-fourth season got off to an abysmal start at Tattenway Way Recreation Ground on Sunday. Playing our first ever fixture against Burgh Heath on a slow, spongy wicket we never came to terms with what was required to make the best of it, and both the batsmen and the bowlers performed well below par.

Things got off to a bad start when skipper Mark Gordon lost the toss on a bitterly cold afternoon and we were asked to bat first. Only opener Alan Tickner (19) of the top order batsmen showed the necessary patience to last very long in the conditions, and with the score at 16 for 4 at the end of the twelfth over, and then 28 for 5 in the sixteenth, things looked very bleak indeed. New batsman Steve Pitts (12) at least seemed determined to stay at the crease, but the scoring rate remained as glacial as the weather. The pair had added 24 runs in 14 overs of toil when Alan skied a catch attempting a lofted drive down the ground, and the situation then deteriorated precipitously, with the last five wickets falling in the next seven overs whilst adding just seven more runs.

The final tally of 59 runs was never likely to be enough but the Badgers bowlers made certain of that by sending down an inviting mixture of long-hops and full tosses that the batsmen duly dispatched to the boundary with glee, a feat that no Badgers batsman had been able to achieve during the preceding thirty-five and a half overs. Mercifully the finish came quickly, with Burgh Heath taking just eleven and a half overs to pass our total and complete an embarrassing afternoon for the visiting side. Things can only get better!?

(Not long after I’d written this on Monday morning, Janet noticed an article in that day’s Daily Telegraph which rather put the whole thing into perspective: three all out, with no runs coming from the bat, makes our fifty-nine look positively wholesome)