Badgers Cricket Club – Season 2003 Match Reports


This page holds the match reports for all games played during the 2003 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.

27th September – Merrow: 104 all out   Badgers: 86 all out

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Contrary to the hazy reflections at tea time, this is the ninth time that we’ve visited Merrow, with two games last season and a match lost to the weather in 1999. In that time we’ve won just once but we always seem to have fun in the process. This year was no exception, but having given ourselves the best possible chance of winning by bowling Merrow out for their lowest score in those nine games – 104, with the 139 we bowled them out for in the first game last year being the previous lowest – we then proceeded to ‘better’ our previous lowest score – 94 all out back in 2000.

The game had got off to a confused start, with three Badgers missing due to problems on the Reigate stretch of the M25. Since one of them was the Skipper, Alan Tickner was forced to stand-in for the first half of proceedings, but as usual we ended up fielding first, and Alan himself made sure that we made the most of that by opening the bowling and putting in a spell that was exactly suited to the conditions. With Darrell performing his familiar role of super-sub and Ian and Graham arriving during the first over, we were not greatly disadvantaged by the problems and soon had the Merrow batsmen looking askance at some odd behaviour from the pitch.

Most of the strange bounces seemed to come when Alan Tickner was bowling, with his medium pace and unrelenting accuracy seemingly ideal for the way the pitch was playing. Add some good catching to the mix, especially from Graham Ward who caught a couple of massive skiers with apparent ease to take his total for the season into double figures, and the wickets started to fall with regularity. A surprisingly ineffectual spell from Ian Gregg, who ought to have been as ideally suited to the conditions as Alan but whose mind was probably still out on the M25 somewhere, and rather too many four balls meant that Merrow were able to make a few more than they ought, but Alan continued to plug away, bowling unchanged throughout the innings. When the final wicket fell at 104 he had bagged 8 for 28, his best since 1981 when he took 8-24 against Abbey, and the club’s best since Mick Willmott took 9-41 at Hook Norton in 1992.

The usual fine end of season hot food at tea-time, and some fine words from Clive Windus, didn’t inspire the visitors however, and our most abject batting performance of the season followed one of the few good bowling performances. The reply got off to a bad start, with two wickets going down within three overs and only three runs from the bat in that time. Apart from a flurry from Mark Gordon (23), a solid display from Simon Fox (17 no.) and enough runs from Alan Tickner’s bat to take him past the 9000 run milestone that he just missed out on last week, there really isn’t anything to say about the rest of a fairly awful display. 86 all out to cap off a season when we’ve scored a record number of runs at a record rate was rather ironic and somewhat depressing. Oh well, there’s always next season :))

21st September – Ockley: 133 for 8 dec.   Badgers: 123 all out

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The weather continued to be kind to us, as it has been for most of the season, and the bowlers responded positively with one of the best performances of the year. Sadly the batting did not live up to recent form and we went down to our most frustrating loss of the season, simply because it was a game that we definitely could, and arguably should, have won.

Despite a failed experiment – Mick Willmott opening the bowling, for the second time this season – the Badgers bowlers kept the game tight, with Mark Gordon leading by example, sending down 12 overs for just 20 runs and taking four catches of wildly varying difficulty. As the pressure mounted on the Ockley batsmen to push the score along Graham Davenport found his line and length, after struggling in that regard for much of the season, and reaped the rewards with a four wicket haul and the second best bowling figures of the year: 4 for 29. Alan Tickner also cashed in, with his second wicket being the 900th that he has taken for the Badgers (in games that counted towards the lifetime averages).

[I’d have liked to add a little more statistical details to the above paragraph, but Ockley’s scorebook was something of a mess, missing fall of wicket details, rolling over totals, and with neither the batting nor the bowling totals adding up to anything close to the final tally of 133. Not unusual, but frustrating to someone as anal retentive as yours truly ;-{)]

What followed from the Badgers batting is the worst performance that I’ve witnessed this season. Not necessarily the lowest score, just the poorest batting, with more than half the team getting out to lousy shot selection, or just lousy shots. Opener David Tickner and no. 3 Barry Davenport excited the bowlers by hitting some big shots, but both fell too soon, with Barry severely testing the bowler’s reaction time. Patrick Redding (23) and Simon Fox both fell to skied pull shots, Mark was bowled playing a horrible smear and the tail folded under the apparent pressure of scoring 27 runs from 7 overs (I guess that they haven’t had much practice at run chases this season). Sadly, Alan Tickner fell three runs of short of making his 9000th run for the club, which would have provided a memorable double, but batting-wise it was that kind of day.

14th September – Crondall: 199 for 5 dec.   Badgers: 205 for 5

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Another beautiful sunny day, another good batting track and another 200 run score batting second to win the game. Almost a perfect encapsulation of this summer for the Badgers in that we:

The wicket looked to have too much grass on it, but in actual fact played well throughout the game, allowing the batsmen to play their shots with confidence but offering the bowlers just enough to keep them interested. Badgers opening tandem – Andy Parker and Mark Gordon – bowled well and with first change Ian Gregg keeping things tight too there was little scope for quick scoring and after 15 overs Crondall had amassed just 28 runs for the loss of two wickets. Opener Goss was largely untroubled at one end, and he eventually received sufficient support from the other end to start to push the score along.

Allan Butt took advantage of batsmen trying to accelerate the scoring to pick up three wickets in the space of four overs, breaking the third wicket partnership at 88, but by this time Goss was in full flow and the sixth wicket pair were able to add an unbeaten 58 runs to the total, despite the return of the opening bowlers, to take the score to a respectable 199, albeit leaving Goss stranded three runs short of his century.

Chasing another large total the Badgers needed a good start, and although the opening stand was broken at 35 opener Patrick Redding and Alan Tickner (33) punished the regular supply of bad balls to the tune of exactly five runs an over up to the start of the last hour, at which point the winning target was 110 from the final twenty overs. The pair ensured that the scoring rate stayed comfortably above the requirement and when Alan fell to an athletic caught and bowled, ending the partnership at 123, the target was down to 45 runs from ten overs.

Patrick cruised to his second ton of the season, but when he was third out for an impressive 106 a little bit of panic set in, despite only 26 being required from six overs, as the middle order desperately tried to cream the ball to the boundaries when a sensible milking of the available singles would have brought the target up with less fuss. The tension continued to mount, and although Graham Davenport tied the scores before being dismissed with eight balls left, the pressure fell on Marc Robson to complete the job in the last over. He did so in style, after three failed attempts, hoisting a huge straight six to the palpable relief of his skipper at the non-striker’s end and the rest of the team beyond the boundary ropes.

6th September – Burgh Heath: 165 for 6 dec.   Badgers: 168 for 4

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We first played Burgh Heath at the start of last season, and were well and truly beaten, so this was our chance to show them what we could really do. Whilst we managed to do so, the game was somewhat marred by far too much chattering and a little bit of niggle that crept in once they realised that we weren’t going to simply lay down and die. We were rather short of bowling resources, so stand-in skipper Alan Tickner was relieved when the home team won the toss and elected to bat. Alan then led the bowlers from the front, his opening spell of ten overs costing just 21 runs, and the Burgh Heath batsmen were never able to get on top of the bowling. One or two of the batting side were frustrated to get out to bad balls, with Patrick Redding’s splendid catch at cover to dismiss opener Laxton from an Ian Gregg long hop being particularly notable, and prompting much cussing and muttering as the batsman left the field of play.

The players in the middle were also getting it in the neck from the sidelines, with one particular gentleman being particularly vocal despite his own fairly minor contribution – which had been ended by a brilliant low slip catch by Dave Tickner – but all of the Badgers bowlers kept things under control even when the batting side were desperately searching for some acceleration. All bar one of the Burgh Heath top six reached double figures, but only Fowler (48 no.) made the most of a good start, and their eventual closure at 165, made from 46 overs, was probably thirty runs short.

After tea the Badgers top order got off to a rough start, with left arm quick bowler Laxton sending down some of the toughest deliveries our batsmen have had to face all season, including a brute of a ball that produced Patrick’s first ever duck for the club. Laxton proved just as adept at cursing and blinding when things didn’t go his way with the ball, and a couple of dropped catches and near misses saw the air turning blue. Badgers had just the men for the crisis, with Simon Fox and Alan Tickner (47) providing just the right degree of watchfulness and controlled aggression. Both struggled early on, especially against the combative Laxton, but survival gradually turned into a growing realisation that victory was on the cards and the fielding team’s banter became more desperate as the target loomed ever closer.

The pair had added 118 for the fourth wicket when Alan took a rather ugly smear at the returning Laxton, but the arrival of Ian Gregg at the wicket simply signalled more frustration for the fielding side as a mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous contributed 24 to the unbeaten fifth wicket stand of 35 that saw the Badgers home with 15 balls to spare. Simon finished with a match-winning 67 not out, his best performance since returning to the Badgers and only one run shy of his best ever for the club, and the satisfaction of leading the club to its twelfth win of the season, the most since the 1980 and 1981 teams won fifteen games under the captaincy of none other than Alan Tickner!!

31st August – Blindley Heath: 182 for 7 dec.   Badgers: 185 for 6

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It’s not unusual for a lot of runs to be scored in this fixture, and despite a pitch that occasionally misbehaved, history repeated itself on Sunday with the Badgers fashioning an exciting victory that looked increasingly remote at one point during the last twenty overs. Blindley Heath had batted first, and got off to a solid start, mainly thanks to the ever reliable Neil Burchett (51) (who hasn’t failed to reach fifty against the Badgers this century!!) but Mark Gordon and David Aldwinckle bowled well enough to restrict the scoring to little more than three an over.

The introduction of Alan Tickner (3-41) into the attack throttled the scoring even further (at least from his end) and provided the first two wickets of the innings from consecutive deliveries in his second over. When Mick Willmott (2-41) added two more wickets in the 25th over of the innings, Blindley Heath had slumped to 87 for 4. The lower middle order provided some impetus and despite Barry Davenport taking the second of two good catches to give father Graham (2-35) Burchett’s scalp, they were able to take the score along to 182 from 44 overs.

Needing to score at the better part of five an over, from what turned out to be 38 overs, Badgers were given a flying start by Patrick Redding (64) and assisted by Blindley Heath’s bowlers, who were wayward and expensive early on, and fielders, who gave Patrick several lives and gifted runs with misfields. However, the change bowlers – Jenkins (2-45) and Garland (3-38) – started to exert a measure of control, with neither conceding as much as three an over from their first spells, and the wickets started to fall as the frustration set in. The last hour started with 99 runs required, but when Patrick fell five overs later the scoring had almost dried up and the target started to recede into the distance.

The seventh wicket pair – Mark Gordon (65 no.) and Alan Tickner (24 no.) – didn’t panic but kept their wickets intact, took what runs they could find and waited patiently. With seven overs left it looked like the strategy might have back-fired, 64 runs were still needed and only one of the preceding 23 overs had yielded more than six runs. Mark then wrested the game away from Blindley Heath with a violent display that netted four sixes and eight fours overall, despite only managing one scoring shot in the first seventeen deliveries he faced. The unbeaten seventh wicket partnership added 90 runs, the second best ever, and Badgers raced home with eight balls to spare.

24th August – Maori-Oxshott: 229 for 5 dec.   Badgers: 140 all out

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[This report courtesy of Alan Tickner]

For the first time this season Barry faced a real challenge in finding eleven players who were available, mainly due to the demands of the holiday season and a string of niggling injuries. However to his credit he did finally manage to get a side together for what is probably our strongest fixture of the season. The team included Andy Parker who returned to Badgers’ colours after a ten year absence and a debutant Charlie Larkin who had an excellent day in the field and we hope to see again. Having lost the toss and been asked to field Mark Gordon and Andy Parker bowled a very quick opening spell which had wicket-keeper Miller’s hands tingling. Opener Lloyd rode his luck for the first few overs against the new ball but when the attack reverted to a much slower pace he started to open his shoulders and kept the score ticking along at around five per over. With only five wickets down Lloyd and Haroon (56) punished the wilting Badgers attack and with one over to go before tea Lloyd (97) finally holed out to a fine catch by Mark Gordon just three short of what would have been a well deserved century and Maori were able to close their innings at 229 for 5.

In reply Alan Tickner (29) and Patrick Redding got Badgers off to a flier with 41 runs coming off of the first five overs. After Tickner’s dismissal Andy Parker joined Patrick and with the score at 62-1 after just 10 overs another successful Badgers run chase looked on the cards. However wickets then started to crumble with the introduction of spin and with the exception of Andy (56), who played an excellent knock, nobody else made a real impression and the innings closed at 140 all out.

Despite a comprehensive defeat I think we did more than enough to be welcomed back by our hosts next year (particularly in the bar!) In fact a number of the opposition were very complimentary about our somewhat cavalier approach to the run chase. Perhaps a slightly more cautious approach next year and a bit more luck with injuries and availability will give us a better chance for our first win in what has become a most enjoyable and challenging fixture.

17th August – Newchapel & Horne: 205 for 6 dec.   Badgers: 208 for 5

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[Please note that this is a preliminary report and may well be updated once I’ve had sight of the full scorebook data for the game]

After a season’s hiatus we returned to the Lilliputian surrounds of Newchapel for the usual run-fest, with rather more success than has been normal in recent times (we’ve been playing Newchapel regularly, weather permitting, since 1984 and our last victory was back in 1995). For the twelfth time in fifteen matches this season Badgers fielded first, although Mark again claimed to have lost the toss!? The bowling was tidy early on, and although the opening pair of John Rourke and Mark Gordon were only able to claim one wicket between them they certainly kept the batsmen in check. However, all the change bowlers were to prove significantly more expensive as the batting side, especially Yeoman (63) and P. Hartland (53), strove to post a reasonable target for such a small ground.

Graham Davenport had a nightmare spell, finding it hard to pitch the ball, but both Alan Tickner and Simon Fox were able to take the occasional wicket to keep the batting side from dominating completely. In the end Newchapel were able to declare on 205 for 6, which was probably twenty or thirty runs less than they’d have liked. The Badgers top order were able to keep the score ticking over just fast enough to stay in touch, with opener Alan Tickner hitting eight fours in his 35, but when the last hour started 116 runs were still needed from the final twenty overs.

At that point Barry Davenport joined Paul Little at the wicket, but the latter had already started to collar the bowling, and for once Barry played second fiddle in the hitting stakes, scoring just 14 of the 40 that the pair amassed for the fourth wicket. Two wickets fell with the score on 131, the latter compounding Graham’s woes by adding a golden duck to the mix, but by this time Paul had started to dominate the bowling, especially the left-arm spinner who found his deliveries disappearing regularly into the adjacent fields. 116 runs came from the last ten overs (and a ball) as Paul battered his way to 90 not out, with nine sixes and six fours, and shared a match-winning sixth wicket stand of 77 with Mark, who made just 17 of them.

I hope I’m not jinxing the club, but this was another astonishing batting performance and I’d like to put our success with the bat so far this season into some sort of context. Prior to 2003 the Badgers had managed 32 scores of 200 or more in 44 seasons – with never more than three in a single season – and only four times had we made 200 batting second – only once to win. This innings was our eighth score of 200 or more this season, and the fifth time that we’ve reached that score batting second, four of which have been wins.

10th August – Reigate Cavaliers: 165 all out   Badgers: 160 for 9

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Another scorcher of a day in the lovely surrounds of Reigate Priory Cricket Club, and a second draw of the season in circumstances that could not have been more different than last week. Mark Gordon lost the toss, but we would probably have ended up toiling in the field even if he’d won, so it just meant that he didn’t get ragged as much. Given the heat and the bowling mix Mark decided to open the bowling with leggie Mick Willmott, and this proved to be an inspired choice as the Cavaliers’ openers seemed all at sea against him and he claimed two early victims, both to catches by Simon Fox at mid-wicket. Mark weighed in with two top-order wickets of his own, and after eight overs Reigate were struggling at 12 for 4.

The fifth wicket partnership between Cole (29) and Munn (32) provided a mini-revival, 43 runs coming from the next nine overs, before Mick (3-39) snared a third victim in the last of his nine overs. Change bowlers Ian Gregg and Graham Ward also grabbed a wicket apiece, the latter ending Cole’s resistance and in the process providing Steve Pitts with the hundredth stumping victim of his Badgers’ career, and Reigate were floundering again at 83 for 7 in the 23rd over. Badgers failed to press home their advantage though, as Isaac (30) and De Lambert (43 no.) proceeded to take full toll of a tiring attack and a fielding team that was starting to wilt a little in the heat.

The pair had added 71 runs when a moment of lost concentration by Isaac, a strong throw from the deep by Barry Davenport and an alert wicket keeper resulted in the partnership being broken by a run out. The remaining wickets folded quickly and Reigate finished with 165, which was probably 20 runs or so below par but at least 50 more than we ought to have allowed them. The Badgers reply got off to the worst start of the season, just five balls being required for regular nemesis Brickley (3-36) to claim his first scalp, and whilst the early run rate was more than good enough – especially whilst Barry was clogging six fours from the first eight balls he received – wickets fell too regularly for comfort.

Simon Fox and Paul Wilson struggled gamely to restore some equilibrium after Barry’s dismissal at 48 for 4 but neither were able to score regularly whilst occupying the crease and when they were dismissed in consecutive overs just before the start of the final hour, Badgers were floundering at 77 for 6. The seventh wicket partnership between Mark Gordon (60) and Graham Ward (13 no.) very nearly turned the game in our favour, with Mark seeming to be playing a different game to everyone else and having little trouble keeping the scoreboard ticking along at the required rate.

With five overs remaining the requirement was 25 more to win, but the introduction of Bhatti (2-12) turned the game back to Reigate as he castled Mark to break the seventh wicket partnership at 65, which equals the second best ever for that wicket. The last few overs were edge of the seat stuff. Reigate skipper Lewis returned to the attack and in his second over bowled Ian Gregg trying to repeat his boundary from the previous over. Bhatti started the final over needing to concede fewer than fourteen runs and to take two Badgers wickets to win the game. Graham clobbered the only four of his innings to make things really interesting, and Allan Butt was left to score six to win off the final ball. His valiant attempt fell instead into the hands of long on, and both sides were left tantalisingly close to victory but with an honourable draw the final result.

3rd August – Badgers: 239 for 4 dec.   Rowan: 143 for 5

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A boiling hot day, another fine batting performance, but an ultimately frustrating afternoon which produced the first drawn game of the season. Key moment of the match was probably when skipper Mark Gordon lost the toss and Rowan asked us to bat. Whilst it did mean that we avoided toiling for two and a half hours in the hottest part of the day, that would have been preferable to what actually ensued.

Our innings got off to a solid if unspectacular (at least by the standards of this season) start with openers Alan Tickner (39) and Steve Pitts (26) scoring freely off some very wayward bowling by the Rowan opening pair, especially Foster. The first wicket realised 67 runs before Steve was run out attempting what ought to have been a comfortable enough single to deep mid off, and this prompted both a mini-collapse, three wickets falling in the space of five overs, and a considerable slowing of the flow of runs – especially whilst the Pinnock brothers were operating in unison. However, Patrick Redding (80 no.) and Keith Miller (33) eventually started to reestablish control with Keith frustrating the fielding side with his unique approach – both the swivel and the Chinese cut being put to good use – and Patrick actually needing a couple of lives from the butter-fingered fielding side.

The pair added 83 runs for the fourth wicket before being parted as the final assault got into full flow. The consequent introduction of Barry Davenport (43 no.) was hardly likely to slow things down, and so it proved, with some brutal hitting from both Barry and Patrick helping the Badgers to realise just shy of a hundred runs from the last ten overs. The final tally was 239 from 44 overs and the unbeaten fifth wicket partnership realised 77.

Given such a big target Mark felt able to open up with Mick Willmott (3-62) at one end, whilst John Rourke performed the more usual quick bowler’s role at the other. The pair operated well in tandem, possibly too well, as Rowan – who didn’t seem overly interested in the run chase from the very beginning – slumped to 41 for 5 from the first fourteen overs. John bowled six maidens in his first nine overs, Ian Gregg caught a neat diving catch in the gully, Allan Butt snared two good outfield catches and Mick plugged away for fifteen overs in two spells. All of that went for naught, sadly, as Rowan promptly shut up shop and spent the next 29 overs playing for the draw. Rivetting stuff, and on a benign pitch offering little or no assistance to the bowlers, they ultimately achieved their aim by scoring nearly 100 runs less than the Badgers had managed from just one over more.

26th July – Old Alleynians: 230 for 6 dec.   Badgers: 233 for 6

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(Old Alleynians now post their scores on Play-Cricket rather than their own website, where you can find a full scorecard in standard Play-Cricket format, although sadly no match report for comparison purposes)

They say that only mad dogs and Englishmen can be found out in the midday sun, but it is also true to say that only the same pairing would be found anywhere near a cricket field on a rainy summer’s afternoon. Conditions weren’t too bad when we started, but by midway through the Old Alleynians innings persistent rainfall had become the order of the day, and it only relented on a couple of occasions thereafter. The artificial wicket at Old Alleynians has historically proven to be better for batting than bowling, the average aggregate score is 320, and the weather pretty much guaranteed that the bat would be in the ascendancy again.

David Aldwinckle made a couple of early breakthroughs in a tidy opening spell, the second of them courtesy of a fantastic running catch by Barry Davenport, but John Rourke struggled with run up problems and proved expensive as opener Parkin (72) regularly chanced his arm and rode his luck. Parkin and Hall (60) kept the scoreboard moving along smartly, and the Badgers’ cause was not helped by dropped catches. In the end a smart catch by Steve Pitts at short mid-wicket, off a full-blooded pull, brought an end to Parkin’s innings and the 67 run third wicket partnership. Hall continued on his merry way though, and was ably assisted by Thurgood (47) in a 57 run fifth wicket partnership. That pairing and Beaty provided a flurry of runs in the closing stages of the innings, over 80 runs coming from the last ten overs, and Alleynians closed their innings on 230.

If the Badgers were to make a record winning score for the second week running they were going to need to get off to a good start, and openers Steve Pitts (63) and Patrick Redding (95) provided just that. Steve went for the big shots, 44 of his 63 coming in boundaries, and made the most of his luck, whilst Patrick continued serenely on his way at the other end, less overtly aggressive but much more correct and therefore needing none of the lucky breaks. The pair amassed 130 runs in 23 overs and ensured that Alleynians were never able to apply the pressure by restricting the run rate.

Patrick continued to guide the innings after Steve was out taking a huge whale at Whale, and cameo performances from the Davenports – Barry hitting two sixes and two fours in his brief 23 and Graham exciting the bowlers by trying to hit most every delivery through mid wicket – ensured that the run rate never became an issue. Patrick eventually fell five runs short of his century, and six runs short of victory, but in the end Badgers won comfortably with nearly four overs to spare.

19th July – Ewhurst: 221 for 6 dec.   Badgers: 222 for 5

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[This report courtesy of Allan Butt]

Badgers found themselves in the field again on another warm day, but captain Mark Gordon declined to own up to having won the toss. If he did, it turned out to be an inspired decision as the Badgers were able to mount a successful chase of the highest score in their history, only the second time in 45 seasons that a target of 200 or more has been overtaken.

Opening bowlers Mark Gordon and Ian Gregg secured a wicket apiece, but on a small ground with a fast outfield Badgers found themselves struggling to contain the Ewhurst batsmen, who took a particular liking to the bowling of David Aldwinckle, and 50 runs came off his five overs. Things changed when Marc Robson, playing his first game for Badgers and supposedly a batsman, was brought on to bowl and announced his suitability as a Badger by including two wides and two wickets in his first over!! Marc finished with 4 for 28 off six overs – the best bowling performance for the Badgers this season – and somewhat surprisingly, but apparently convinced they had done enough, Ewhurst declared early on 221 for 6 scored off just 37 overs.

Opening the batting for Badgers after an early tea, Patrick Redding and Dave Tickner put on a solid opening stand of 75 at a fairly leisurely pace, and after Dave went for 26, Patrick went on to his 50, but was then bowled on 51. David Aldwinckle and Graeme Davenport helped take the score to 124, still somewhat behind the required run rate, but then Marc Robson and Mark Gordon came together for the decisive partnership of 87 scored in quick time with both hitting sixes. Marc was finally bowled for 38 with the score on 211, but Mark (46 no.) took Badgers to victory with two of the final 20 overs to spare.

13th July – Badgers: 203 for 6   Clapham Nomads: 100 all out

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[This report courtesy of Alan Tickner]

A second conference arranged fixture of the season this week saw the Badgers take on Clapham Nomads, the first time the two teams had met. The match, played at King George’s Recreation Ground in Tolworth, looked at one stage as if it would not take place at all. Four teams and only one pitch was something of a challenge for the Park Ranger (he objected to being called a Keeper!) but to his credit, following a hasty call to his superior officer, he allowed our game to go ahead on an unprepared and very dodgy looking wicket. The captains agreed to a 35 over match and having won the toss Mark Gordon decided to bat first.

Alan Tickner’s return from injury lasted just one ball, when the intercostal went again after playing his first scoring shot, and Simon Fox was quickly drafted in alongside Patrick Redding (39). The two steadily put on 45 before Simon fell to a good catch and Graham Davenport then joined Patrick to add a further 30 runs in quick time before three wickets fell with just 79 on the board. However, as has been the case so many times this season, two batsmen got their heads down and eventually completely dominated the bowling. Mark, who hit a fine 66, was finally out in the penultimate over after an impressive fifth wicket partnership of 113 with David Aldwinckle (37 no.) allowing Badgers to amass 203 for 6 at the end of the 35 overs.

When Clapham went into bat the Badgers bowling proved a bit of a handful for them on a difficult track with David Aldwinckle (2-9) and Alan Wilkes (2-34) in particular bowling straight and tight. Mick Willmott and Ian Gregg both picked up a wicket each before Simon (2-4) came on at the end to mop up the tail and Clapham were finally all out for 100 in the 31st over.

The general consensus at the after match drinks was that on the day we were definitely stronger than medium weak and Clapham a little below this level, having three of their regulars unavailable. It was therefore not surprising that the most notable event of the day happened when the match was over. Having adjourned to the pub after the match the Badgers were all comfortably seated outside enjoying their first pint when our opposition arrived. Chairman Willmott suggested that we all move around the table we were occupying to let their players sit down. He led the way by shifting to his left and in true Del Boy style fell off the bench and onto the ground, to the applause of the assembled players and a few of the startled regulars. A real Senior moment!

5th July – Badgers: 202 for 4 dec.   Woldingham: 141 all out

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Our third visit to the picturesque Glebe ground at Woldingham Village saw a much better performance than last year, including yet another record breaking partnership. Things didn’t start off that way though, with wickets falling steadily early on and Alan Tickner being forced to retire hurt with an intercostal strain. When Barry Davenport (19) was fourth out after a brief clatter, the score stood at 68 for 4, and the prospect of making a defensible target on a ground with short square boundaries looked less than likely.

However, at that point Mark Gordon (78 no.) – only playing because a back injury had forced yours truly to withdraw late in the week – came to the wicket to join David Aldwinckle (64 no.) and the pair quickly got things back under control and started to dominate proceedings. They each scored eleven fours, with Mark adding two sixes for good measure, and when the declaration came had added a Badgers’ record 134 runs for the fifth wicket, in less than twenty overs.

When it came Badgers’ turn to bowl Mark again dominated proceedings, opening the bowling and taking three for twenty from nine overs, including a cracking slip catch by Alan Tickner despite his sore ribs. Woldingham’s middle order folded abjectly, offering little or no support to opener Orr (67), but Tozer (23) lasted long enough to make it look like the draw might be a real possibility. However, Simon Fox castled Orr, Allan Butt did the same to Tozer and David Aldwinckle also got into the act as the last five wickets were skittled out for just a dozen runs in less than nine overs.

29th June – Milton: 118 all out   Badgers: 120 for 6

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In marked contrast to last year the weather was warm, but we saw rather less of the sun on the Sunday of tour than we had on the Saturday. This was probably a good thing though as our fielding was much sharper than it had been the day before and backed up our best bowling performance of the season to date. As usual for this fixture we played a limited overs game, on this occasion of forty overs, and Mark chose to field first.

He and David Aldwinckle opened the bowling, five overs apiece for their opening spells, and had Milton’s top order in all sorts of difficulties. The third wicket went down with the score on only nine, just 23 runs came from those ten overs, and things got worse for the home side with the introduction of change bowlers Ian Gregg and Allan Butt (3-30) to the extent that they found themselves at 37 for 6. Bedward (28) and Stanley (28 no.) slowly repaired some of the damage, although the scoring rate never rose above three and a half per over, but the wounds were too deep and Milton were dismissed for 118 from only 34 overs.

Such a low total should have been well within our grasp, but perhaps a little complacency set in and only opener Steve Pitts (21) of the top order got to grips with what was required, and when he was adjudged LBW in the thirteenth over the reply was floundering at 44 for 5. The situation was compounded when David Aldwinckle got what looked like a howler of an LBW decision, but that was the final alarum as Simon Fox (32 no.) and Mark (25 no.) finally came to terms with the pitch and the bowling and guided the Badgers to the target with more than five overs to spare. In the process they produced a seventh wicket partnership of 59, the fourth highest in club history.

28th June – Hook Norton: 263 for 5   Badgers: 247 all out

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After last week’s battering at the hands of Croygas the last thing we needed was to be on the receiving end again, but a rather bleary-eyed and pedestrian Badgers eleven took the field on a hot and sunny afternoon and paid the penalty for the unaccustomed (?!) excesses of the night before. Hook Norton’s youngsters have been threatening to put the big hurt on us for several seasons now, and this proved to be the year, with several of the lads we’ve watched grow into the game coming good at the same time.

Mark was persuaded to play a limited overs game of forty-five overs, but in the end it made no difference to the result. Hook Norton got off to a steady start but opener King (55) soon upped the pace and all of the seven bowlers used by the Badgers came in for some stick at one time or another. The scoring rate was up to five an over after the ninth over of the innings, an expensive one from Ian Gregg, and hovered around that mark until the fifth wicket fell in the 31st over. This brought together Knight (52 no.) and Leader (46 no.) who proceeded to run the fielding team ragged, pushing the score past the 200 mark at such a rate that with half a dozen overs still to be bowled it looked like a record-breaking score was on the cards. Fortunately they calmed down a little over those closing overs, thanks to some tighter bowling from Alan Tickner and David Aldwinckle, and in the end posted the third highest total against the Badgers, albeit just two runs less than the highest ever.

So the Badgers were left to score at just under six an over to win, and after a sluggish start their scoring rate rose rapidly to five an over as opener Steve Pitts (26) and number three Alan Tickner (67) started to take toll of the bad balls. When Steve became the first victim for off-spinner Claydon (5-89) both David Aldwinckle (35) and Mark Gordon (27) continued to help Alan force the pace, and by the end of the thirty-third over the score was ahead of the requirement. However, David and Mark had already departed by that juncture and when Alan fell in the next over the score was 197 for six, and the problem became wickets rather than runs. Claydon continued to buy wickets and the game came to a close in rather bizarre fashion when he was taken off after thirteen consecutive overs and replaced by Leader who proceeded to give away ten runs from his only (incomplete) over, most of them in wides, whilst snaffling the last two Badgers’ wickets – clean bowled!

In the final analysis we came up 17 runs short, with five overs still to be bowled, thus betraying our lack of familiarity with the limited overs format. A good game though, and once again the hospitality of our hosts could not be faulted.

22nd June – Croygas: 257 for 7 dec.   Badgers: 132 all out

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A conference arranged fixture this week against Carshalton & Croydon Gas, who are rated medium strong by the CCC against our medium weak. They had agreed with David to field a mixed first and second team, but it was three of the first team players that they did field who made sure that this game was not just the Badgers first loss of the season but also featured some record-breaking of the wrong sort to follow on from the past two weeks worth on the positive side of the ledger.

The game got off to a good start from the Badgers point of view with a silly run out in the first over and some good bowling from openers John Rourke and Mark Gordon reducing Croygas to six for three. The young Croygas number three Rose however looked useful from the moment he came to the wicket and was already starting to dish out some punishment to John when the fourth wicket fell with the score on 43. Little did we know at that point that nearly 200 runs would be added before another wicket fell. Rose continued untroubled to his fifty, now ably supported by captain A. Braganza (46), but then received what was to prove a hugely costly let off – to the tune of at least 120 runs – when Ian Gregg dropped a spinning popped up catch in the gully area off Graham Davenport’s bowling.

All of the change bowlers came in for a hammering, none more so than Mick Willmott whose third and final over saw a vicious Rose assault, to the tune of 32 runs, featuring four sixes and two fours. I have no way of checking, and I rather doubt that Mick would want it confirmed, but this is almost certainly the most expensive single over in Badgers history. Graham Ward also took some stick, but at least had the consolation of dismissing both protagonists in the fifth wicket partnership that Croygas’ scorebook recorded as 196 runs (although, after cross-checking the book, I later increased both the total score and Rose’s individual contribution, I was unable to determine what effect, if any, the changes had on the partnership). Rose eventually fell, somewhat ironically, to a smart catch in the covers by Ian, for what turned out to be 178 runs, another figure that is almost certainly a record (after all, our opponents’ total score has only scaled such heights less than 12% of the time). Graham dismissed skipper A. Braganza in his next over, at which point the Croygas innings was declared closed for 257, the third highest score against the Badgers in forty-five seasons.

The Badgers reply got off to a shaky start, although we did at least pass the ‘400 runs without losing a wicket’ mark, but a third wicket partnership of 59 between opener Alan Tickner (45) and Paul Little (25) offered some hope. This proved to be illusory, especially when Alan was on the receiving end of what even the home supporters felt looked to be a fairly dodgy LBW decision, and the introduction of first team opening bowler G Braganza (4-10) merely hastened the inevitable. John Larkin (18) and Barry Davenport (13) provided some entertainment along the way, but the Badgers’ innings came to an abrupt halt only just past the halfway mark to Croygas’ total.

14th June – NPL Lensbury: 144 for 7 dec.   Badgers: 145 for none

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A baking hot day in the delightful surroundings of the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, on the edge of Bushy Park among the leafy suburbs of West London, saw the Badgers record their fourth win of the season and more records tumble. The day started messily, with both teams a man short – Darrell acting as substitute for the late-arriving Keith Miller before switching sides to make up the numbers for NPL. Fortunately Mark Gordon won the toss and inserted the home side, despite the fact that that meant more than two and a half hours of toiling in the hot sun.

The back pitch at NPL is usually a featherbed, offering little or no help to the bowlers but making the batsmen work for their runs because the ball doesn’t come on to the bat. This year it was a little different, still offering no real assistance to the poor bowlers, but a little quicker than usual and therefore easier to play your shots. However, NPL really didn’t take advantage of this nor of a wayward opening spell by Christian Hickey who actually asked to be taken off despite his five overs yielding only eleven runs!! Progress was slow but almost came to a halt with the introduction of the change bowlers – Mark Gordon (1-13) bowling four maidens in his first five over spell and Alan Wilkes (2-18) taking two wickets in his first three overs.

Opening bat Rowett (53) buckled down, but struggled to impose himself and whilst the fourth wicket stand with Gore (40) added the better part of eighty runs it took 27 overs to do so. Allan Butt (3-23) eventually took advantage of the batsmen’s growing desperation to move the score along, accounting for both of the settled pair and NPL captain Tim Sullivan in the space of three overs. Sullivan was left with the difficult task of deciding when to declare, and in the end he called it a day after 51 overs, leaving the Badgers what turned out to be 37 overs to score 145 to win.

The reply got off to a fast start, with openers Simon Fox (66 no.) and Steve Pitts (59 no.) determined to keep the scoreboard ticking along. Steve employed his usual mixture of drives, pulls and shots that you won’t find in the coaching manual and a couple of near misses were followed by a dropped chance in the gully off change bowler Ward. Simon continued serenely on at the other end, placing the ball into the gaps and running like a hare. Even Steve’s running out of puff and requesting a more sedate approach didn’t faze him, the shots started to find the boundary as well as the holes in the field, and he reached his fifty an over or so ahead of his partner.

At the start of the final hour 45 runs were required from the last twenty overs, but the end came quickly as the pair stepped up the pace even further and took just five and a half of those overs to complete the job. At the end of it all the Badgers had their second consecutive ten wicket win, Simon had made his second highest score for the Badgers, and it was pointed out to me after the game (not sure whether it was Mark or Graham Ward who spotted this) that we had scored 396 runs without losing a wicket, which is most definitely a record and probably at least double the previous best. Any money on our failing to reach four hundred this coming weekend??

For the statistically-minded (which I think is just Graham and me!!), 145 is the fifth highest opening partnership, and the eighth highest for any wicket (see the all-time best partnerships page for more details). Before last week there had been just seven ten wicket wins in the 44 previous seasons, none since 1991, only three of which had involved scoring a hundred or more, and this was definitely the first time it had ever been done back-to-back. Just for the record, here is a list of all ten wicket wins:

116  B Noble (54) & M Preston (53) – 18 overs 20 Jun 1970  vs. Old Whitgiftians
42  B Noble (23) & B Passmore (19) – 11.5 overs 15 Jul 1972  vs. Cheam Baptists
38  P Walters (12) & D Tickner (26) – 8 overs 5 May 1980  vs. Marlborough 1870
76  D Tickner (47) & C Morgan (28) – 18 overs 14 Jun 1980  vs. Lingfield
104  S Pitts (68) & DL Pitts (34) – 11 overs 4 Aug 1984  vs. Newdigate
33  A Cowell (11) & S Pitts (22) – 8.4 overs 30 Jul 1988  vs. Bletchingly
110  S Pitts (57) & A Ducker (52) – 22.3 overs 7 Sep 1991  vs. Pearl Assurance
200  A Tickner (82) & P Redding (103) – 35.4 overs 8 Jun 2003  vs. Stoke D'Abernon
145  S Fox (66) & S Pitts (59) – 22.3 overs 14 Jun 2003  vs. NPL Lensbury

8th June – Stoke D'Abernon: 197 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 200 for none

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In the end this game was dominated by a record breaking first wicket partnership between veteran Badgers stalwart Alan Tickner, whose batting continues to go from strength to strength, and newcomer Patrick Redding, who made a century in his third ever innings for the Badgers. It didn’t start out that way though, and with the score that Stoke posted it would have been more than possible for the game to have gone the other way.

Badgers took two quick wickets as opening bowlers Christian Hickey (3-46) and John Rourke (1-22) applied the pressure but the third wicket pair of Shott (40) and Pitcher (32) batted carefully to start with, ran well between the wickets and took full toll of any loose balls. They had pushed the scoring rate up towards four an over and started to look like they might take the game by the scruff of the neck when Mark Gordon pulled off a spectacular catch diving to his left at cover to dismiss Pitcher.

Stoke’s middle order proved quite unable to cope with the situation, as Mark (2-33) and Ian Gregg (2-30) ripped the heart out of the order over the nine or ten overs that followed, and when Graham Ward (1-21) bowled Shott in the 37th over, Stoke had tumbled from 86 for 2 to 113 for 7. Fortunately for the home side their lower order proved more capable with numbers eight, nine and ten all making runs and hitting the ball hard. The eventual declaration came after 55 overs, amidst some muttering among the fielding side which later events proved to be quite laughable, and a final score of 197 looked like presenting an imposing target.

In fact, let’s put this into some sort of historical context. On the fifty-one previous occasions over the past forty-five seasons that the Badgers have chased an opponent’s score of more than 190, we have succeeded just ONCE!

The Badgers’ reply got off to a quick-fire start with Alan Tickner (82 no.) continuing his good form of the past season and a half and Patrick Redding (103 no.) quickly finding his feet at the other end. They were helped by a steady diet of bad balls, but before long even some of the better deliveries were being dispatched to all corners. The scoring rate never fell below five an over, with only Dilruk (7-2-25-0) showing the necessary control over line and length, and his figures were rather spoilt by a last over that included three boundaries.

When the last hour started the requirement was just 49 runs from the twenty overs, and two overs later it was just 29! Both batsmen continued to play beautifully, with neither having given the fielding side a sniff of a chance at this point, although there were two missed stumping chances over the closing overs – one of which would have left Patrick with 99. As it was he crashed a four off the next ball to bring up his personal milestone, the 200 total, and the winning runs with more than ten overs to spare. Stoke looked a little shell-shocked at the end of the proceedings, but in the bar afterwards were philosophical about being on the receiving end of a once in a lifetime performance.

As to the records, nobody else has ever made a ton in their first season for the Badgers, let alone their third game, so that record can be set alongside the best partnership for any wicket – by the small matter of 28 runs. Add to that Alan’s 205 runs from his first three innings of the season, which certainly feels like a record since many of us don’t make that many in a whole season, and you have a very impressive afternoon all round.

31st May – Epsom Methodists: 149 for 8 dec.   Badgers: 151 for 4

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(You might like to compare this report with the Epsom Methodists’ version, although you’ll probably need to don some dark glasses first, as the colour scheme is a little garish)

This fixture is becoming almost as itinerant as the Badgers, and Priory Park in Reigate became the fourth different venue for our fifth meeting with Epsom Methodists. A beautiful sunny day was slightly offset by a pitch that everyone involved seem to agree was at least a yard or two longer than the prescribed twenty-two, but it was the same for both teams and didn’t seem to give as much of an advantage to the batsmen as you might have expected. In fact, Epsom batted first and their top order struggled to move the score along at all, possibly more to do with a failure to come to terms with some fairly uneven bounce than with the length of the pitch. Opener Smith (14) took 28 balls to get off the mark and it wasn’t until the change bowlers came on that the scoring rate rose above one an over.

Thereafter the speed of accumulation edged upwards, but no batter ever really got on top of the bowling, and even the need to keep rotating the bowlers due to the heat, and consequent introduction of occasional bowlers Barry Davenport (2-28) and Graham Ward (2-29), didn’t open the floodgates. Graham’s left arm spin was a revelation, since we’d not seen him bowl before, and it was only some rough treatment in his final over that put a kink in his figures. In the end Epsom Methodists reached 149, from 43 overs, before closing their innings at the tea interval.

The Badgers reply started slowly too, with quick bowler R. Dark conceding just thirteen runs from his first eight overs whilst taking two wickets, and with the third wicket (a Barry Davenport golden duck) going down on 33, the situation did not look good. Opener Alan Tickner (64 no.) and skipper Mark Gordon (26) righted the ship, got the runs flowing at the required rate, and started to put the pressure back on the fielding side. Mark’s concentration wavered during an over that featured two wides and two no balls, but with just three an over required from the fifteen left when he departed, Alan remained focused and in company with David Jones (22 no.) saw the visitors safely home to their second win of the season with more than four overs to spare.

25th May – Dormansland: 173 for 4 dec.   Badgers: 1 for none

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The fact that we’ve been playing Dormansland since 1962 makes this by far and away the longest running fixture on the calendar, but for various reasons we’ve not actually managed to play against them this century!? This game represented the 45th meeting between the two teams, and turned out to be only the second unfinished match over that period. The day started inauspiciously, with the start delayed by ten or fifteen minutes due to a previous rain shower, and less than half a dozen overs being bowled before the players were driven from the field by a heavy downpour.

The rain only lasted ten minutes or so, but caused an interruption of an hour whilst much thumb-twiddling, head scratching and postulating over the state of the pitch was conducted. Eventually, after judicious use of the light roller to assist in the drying process, play resumed. Badgers’ bowling attack may have wished it hadn’t since Mark Gordon had to take himself off, once he had completed his interrupted over, due to a lack of footing. All of the bowlers struggled for control in the conditions, although Christian Hickey posed the batsmen a few problems, and consequently dished up a steady diet of misdirected deliveries for the batsmen to feed off.

Dormansland no. 3 Phillips proved to be especially grateful for such generosity, and apart from a let-off at long on (by Mark of all people) off Mick Willmott’s bowling, barrelled his way to an unbeaten century to lead his team to a total of 173 from 36 overs. This looked like being an interesting target, but after three overs of cautious reconnaissance in very poor light the innings and the game were brought to an abrupt conclusion by another sharp rainstorm that put paid to any possibility of further play.

11th May – Caterham: 185 for 4 dec.   Badgers: 190 for 8

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The new season got off to a damp but ultimately successful start with a repeat visit to Caterham, a new fixture last season. They expressed a determination to do better than the previous low-scoring affair, and despite the weather, proved more than capable of doing so. However, the game got off to a similar start to last year’s match with the opening bowlers, John Rourke and David Aldwinckle, keeping the batsmen very much in check. This time around the batting side did a better job of keeping their wickets intact, and as the weather deteriorated and the bowlers and fielders both started to struggle with the wet ball, Caterham slowly took control of the game.

When John finished his spell – with 2 for 19 from 9 overs, up the slope! – the scoring rate was barely two an over but a second wicket stand of 105 between March (48) and Johnson (78 no.) gradually changed the complexion of the game. Badgers’ fielding went rapidly downhill as the rain became heavier, and it is probably true to say that only friendly amateur cricketers would have been daft enough to continue playing given the conditions. Continue they did, however, and thanks to a brutal assault on the bowling during the closing overs of the innings (100 runs coming from the last ten) Caterham were able to close their innings at tea on 185 for 4.

Badgers’ reply got off to a fairly shaky start, despite the problems posed for Caterham’s quicks, Patel (2-36) and Morrison (2-46), by the slippery ball and dodgy footholds – exacerbated by the former not even wearing spikes! As so often last season, the innings was held together by opening bat Alan Tickner (59) and a steady diet of four balls that the bowlers would no doubt attribute to the elements. When the last hour, and final twenty overs, started Badgers still required another 108 to win, with just six wickets intact – a scoring rate of nearly five and a half an over compared to the four an over that had been achieved to that point.

Skipper Mark Gordon (70 no.) proved more than up to the task, despite two wickets going down with the score on 117, and the asking rate slowly came down as the bowling side failed to apply the necessary pressure. Mark was provided with sterling support by the lower order – especially Simon Fox (12) – which enabled him to finish the game with a flourish, smashing the first ball of the penultimate over for six. Caterham were once again most hospitable hosts, and I hope they don’t feel as badly about their contribution to this year’s game as they apparently did about the previous one.