Badgers Cricket Club – Season 2005 Match Reports


This page holds the match reports for all games played during the 2005 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, as were all editorial comments. 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.

24th September – Merrow: 158 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 159 for 8

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Our traditional end of season fixture but not the usual weather, thankfully. For once the warm welcome and geniality of our hosts at Merrow were matched by a sunny and pleasant autumn afternoon in which to exercise our cricketing ‘skills’. Mark won the toss and proceeded to open the bowling with a grand total of one hundred and twenty three years of experience. Allan Butt toiled away up the hill for no reward at all, at least in terms of wickets, whilst Mick Willmott (4-57) wheeled away at the other end.

Mick was able to induce the usual red mist from the batting side, both young and old alike falling victim to the dance down the wicket, and the first three wickets to fall were all stumpings. The third wicket did add 45 runs before Mick worked his magic again, and number three Stockwell (46) kept plugging away before spooning a catch to mid off in Graham Davenport’s first over. Mick had taken his fourth wicket in the previous over, a neat low catch by Allan at square leg – especially commendable considering that he’d completed the last of his ten over spell just moments before.

Merrow skipper Ken Mead (19) introduced some class into proceedings, but he fell to a stinging caught and bowled by Darrell Pitts (3-26), who had replaced Mick at the pavilion end. Number nine Prinsloo (23) hit the ball hard before falling to one of Darrell’s off breaks, and a very generous declaration (which turned out to leave the Badgers with nearly an hour and a half plus the final twenty overs) was made with the last pair still chipping away. Tea was more than welcome at that point, and the usual simple hot fare was wolfed down by both sides, before proceedings resumed with the Badgers needing to score 159 to win.

Openers Alan Tickner (29) and Richard Ward (22) got the reply off to a steady start, albeit helped by the odd dropped catch. The pair added 58 for the first wicket but both eventually fell to sharp chances in the slip cordon. The innings stagnated for a while at that point, with Steve Pitts (23) struggling to hit the bad balls cleanly and Paul Wilson finding it difficult to get the bowling away, and the visitors were very grateful that Merrow had left them so much time. The last twenty overs started with 75 runs needed to win, but the twelve overs that the pair were together realised just 29 runs, and when Paul’s departure was followed by a mini collapse, the Badgers had slumped from 97 for 2 to 101 for 6 with just eleven overs left to garner the remaining 58 runs.

To be honest, the situation should have been worse than that, but Merrow had spilled a number of fairly straightforward chances, with Alan, Richard, Steve and Dave Tickner all being granted lives, with at least three of those catches being virtual sitters. All that having been said, the game was still there for the taking, and as so often this season, cometh the hour, cometh Mark Gordon. The Badgers’ skipper, ably assisted by Darrell in a forty run eighth wicket partnership, proceeded to batter the ball to all parts of the ground, to such good effect that the next eight overs saw us to within four runs of the target. Mark then hit his sixth four of the innings to bring up the winning runs with sixteen balls to spare and two wickets in hand, amassing forty-one not out in the process, to take his tally for the season to 491.

11th September – Headley: 208 for 7 dec.   Badgers: 205 for 9

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but I’ve simply not had the time to write one

28th August – Badgers: 195 for 7   Blindley Heath: 169 for 9

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

The media speculation in the build up to the crunch fixture had all been about the fitness of the visitor’s crucial opening bowler. Such was his dominance that both teams were well aware of one player’s significance. But unlike Glenn McGrath in the fourth test, Mick Willmott had been given the all-clear from the specialist. The calf injury Mick had picked up in the defeat to Downham was no more and he was ready to play in what has been a stop start season for the maverick leg spinner.

The Badgers have a very good record of chasing down totals in this fixture in recent years, and Blindley Heath possibly had that in mind when deciding to field first. John Larkin and Alan Tickner opened the batting for the Black Caps and put on 18 for the first wicket before Alan was bowled. Graham Ward and Ian Gregg came and went helping John put on 29 and 22 and then Patrick Redding was on hand to further cement the innings scoring 47. John survived more than one edge through a productive area behind square on the off side but played well enough to register his first fifty for the club, bowled for 54.

Dave Tickner came in and added a very useful 21. A good platform was established and as the the overs were running out, the innings required some momentum and The Skipper was on hand to provide it. I would think that there is a fair chance that Mark has scored more sixes on this ground than just about every Blindley player (you’ve obviously never seen Mick Day in full flow then Graham – Historical Ed.), and he added another sprinkling of maximums in his quick 25 as the Badgers innings closed on 195.

After Tea, Mick Willmott and Ian Gregg opened the bowling and had what is known in the game as an ‘off day’. Greggy couldn’t be faulted for trying every variation, but it wasn’t to be and the Heath opener raced to a half century. With the game heavily in Blindley Heath’s favour Mark turned to himself and Graham Ward to try to bring the Badgers back into it. Graham struck first thanks to some smart glove work from Keith Miller behind the stumps. From there the game changed, with Graham taking the pace off the ball and the pitch offering sharp turn.

While Mark kept things tight from the pavilion end, Graham struck a further three times, having been ably supported in the field, with catches from Mark, Ian and Mick. Mark then got in on the act himself and all the while the run rate climbed from a manageable 5 to 7 an over. Still the wickets fell with both teams going all out for a win. With five overs to go the Heath number eight clubbed Graham for a badly needed 6 – 13 coming off the over – but a couple of wickets for Mark and Graham wrestled back the initiative, with Blindley needing an improbable 24 off the last over to be bowled by the Shark. Heath played out for a draw with Graham unable to make the batsmen play enough, but he was still able to finish with personal best figures of 6 for 41, while Mark ended with 3 for 35.

21st August – Maori-Oxshott: 173 all out   Badgers: 174 for 5

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but I’ve simply not had the time to write one

14th August – Badgers: 260 for 9   Streatham & Marlborough: 159 all out

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but I’ve simply not had the time to write one

7th August – Reigate Cavaliers: 81 all out   Badgers: 82 for 5

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but I’ve simply not had the time to write one

31st July – East Horsley: 250 for 4 dec.   Badgers: 171 all out

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A return to East Horsley, who we played for the last and to date only time back in 1992, in another conference arranged fixture. A secluded and picturesque ground was rather damp following overnight/morning rain, but the weather was fairly kind to us for most of the afternoon and the pitch played well enough. Horsley opener G Brown put the Badgers to the sword from the start, although Ian Gregg bowled four maidens in his opening spell of five overs. Graham Ward was introduced as first change after a wayward three overs from John Larkin and bowled tidily once he’d found his length. The batting side continued to accumulate steadily, and despite a tight spell from Mark Gordon were largely untroubled other than a sharp chance from Brown to Andy Parker at short extra.

Simon Fox and Paul Little were introduced into the attack, and whilst Paul managed to induce a false stroke from Garlick (56) to end the opening partnership at 156, the run rate continued to climb. Brown took heavy toll of Greggy when he returned for a second spell and although dismissed late in the innings skying Andy Parker he had reaped 133 runs and helped his team to an imposing 250 from 47 overs. We did ourselves no favours with some shoddy fielding, with not even Mark blameless for once in the catching department, but basically came up against a good player and had no real answer.

The Badgers reply got off to an unsteady start, with only opener Steve Pitts (25), amongst the first eight batsmen to fall, reaching double figures. When he fell attempting one pull shot too many, the innings collapsed and at 55 for 8 the Badgers were in danger of a seriously embarrassing loss. Skipper Mark Gordon had other ideas however and started taking a heavy toll on the bowling. Ably assisted by Ian Gregg (18), he added 63 for the ninth wicket, tying the club record, and then almost single-handedly added another 53 for the last wicket, setting an outright record. When Foxy fell at the other end Mark had amassed 94, with six sixes and ten fours, and the innings closed at 171 all out, which at least had an air of respectability.

[Statistician’s Note: there is some confusion over the score at the fall of the eighth wicket, due to previous entries having been missed out, so it is possible that the ninth wicket partnership was anything from 63 (which ties the existing record – see the all-time best partnerships page in the hall of fame for full details) to 66 runs. I have extrapolated reasonable values for the fall of wickets from the bowler’s details in the scorebook, so the 63 will stand unless anyone can prove to me that I’ve calculated it all wrong.]

23rd July – Old Alleynians: 151 all out   Badgers: 152 for 5

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An overcast day for my first taste of action this year, but a bonus in the form of getting to play on the main wicket at Old Alleynians for the first time in the twenty-one years that we’ve been the visitors there. That was partly a side effect of the merger between Old Alleynians, Honor Oak and Alleyn’s Old Boys, which resulted in the creation of the mouthful that is Edward Alleyn and Honor Oak Cricket Club, and partly due to new drainage having been laid on the normal pitch and not turfed over, leaving a very dangerous looking grid of dirt-filled trenches.

Andy Parker and John Larkin opening the bowling, and gave your correspondent some trouble behind the stumps with a few wayward deliveries. John did throw in one absolute pearler to break the opening stand and Andy also hit the stumps during his spell, albeit with some assistance from the batsman. The third wicket pair started to take control of the game however, much to Andy’s frustration as he obviously felt that luck was not on his side and was eventually removed from the attack for expressing his disgust in an unnecessarily unpleasant manner.

The batsmen carried on unperturbed however, and the score had reached 96 before Ian Gregg effected a key breakthrough, dismissing opener Smith two short of a half century. Even so it looked as if Alleyns were on for a big total, with Graham Davenport sending down his usual assortment and the batsmen generally taking toll of the bad balls to the extent that after five overs and five balls Graham had conceded 33 runs. However, the next rank long hop was pulled straight to Patrick Redding and in a remarkable sequence of 41 deliveries the remaining batsmen either self-destructed by hitting similar short balls to fielders (including one stunning catch by John Larkin, who tripped over as he went for the ball but still picked it up down round his ankles), or fell foul of one of Graham’s beauties (and one sharp leg-side stumping, I might add).

The end result was that the last seven wickets fell for 35 runs, Graham took seven wickets for just eighteen runs (giving him lifetime best figures of 7 for 51, beating his six wicket haul from earlier in the season) and the Badgers were able to enjoy their tea in the knowledge that the target was well within their compass.

Tea must have supplied the necessary fuel because the reply got off to a quick-fire start with openers Steve Pitts and Alan Tickner (18) racking up the first fifty inside nine overs and Steve being especially harsh on anything short (and there was a lot of it). Alan became the first of spinner Walker’s five victims but the runs continued to flow, albeit a little more slowly than at the start of the innings. When Steve eventually fell to a tired hoick at the spinner he had made 70 from 112 and the middle order proceeded to the target at a canter with useful contributions all round. Keith Miller had the honour of hitting the winning run, and the game had been won with nearly eight overs to spare.

Highlight of the day for me (70 runs and a stumping notwithstanding) was Andy Parker, stood at slip, shouting to Ian Gregg after he’d dragged one delivery wide, to not try and bowl too fast, which had the rest of the team in fits. Andy, if only you’d listened to that bit of advice over the years…

17th July – Downham & Bellingham: 233 for 6 dec.   Badgers: 118 all out

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[This report courtesy of Simon Fox]

Was it a coincidence that on the day of publication of the latest Harry Potter book, directions to this match were ‘Entrance between number 270 and number 272, Rangefield Road’?? It would seem that several Badgers had problems with the password, as only half a dozen had arrived by the two o’clock start time. However, the ever cunning Shark deployed a trump-card by first losing the scorebook and then losing his car keys, and thus buying time for all but the very few to arrive.

The immortal words of Noel Coward were doubtless again ringing in the ears of ‘skip’ as he elected to field under cloudless blue skies and hot July sun, and tossed the new ball to John Larkin to open the bowling for the first time for the Badgers. Unfortunately John will not be able to keep that particular ball as a memento of this grand occasion as it was dispatched for six, out of the ground and lost forever, off only the second ball of the innings. John responded well to this challenge by completing six overs for 17 – by far the most economical of our bowling on the day – and bagging the wicket of D&B’s swashbuckling opener, caught in the gully by a catch which modesty prevents me from describing.

We made steady progress early on, with wickets also for Mick Willmott and a double Davenport (ie. stumped Barry bowled Graham), keeping the run total reasonably under control on a small ground with a fast outfield. However, at this point the sun clearly penetrated the new Badgers’ caps, and we proceeded to imperfect our fielding on all parts of the ground and in all manners. One particular such instance saw John dribbling the ball fully 60 yards along the boundary before deftly kicking it over, and another saw the reappearance of the Willmott hop – the latter mandating the first supersub in Badgers’ history, as Sahil Dawar replaced Mick for the remainder of the match.

Thus the total grew alarming quickly until ‘skip’ brought himself and Greggy on, in the hope of a rabbit chase. Mark bagged two quick wickets and Ian one, and in the end D&B’s total of 233 for 6 from their forty overs might have been a lot worse.

Suitably weighed down by an ample tea, Badgers’ reply started briskly, with Richard Ward and your humble correspondent clocking up more than seven per over for the first six overs. But Richard fell for 22 in the seventh over with the score on 45, and then Patrick for 17 at 72; thereafter the innings lost its steam and the Badgers lost their wickets in splendid symmetry. The scorebook revealed that batsmen four to seven managed just one boundary each, leaving the tail to save our honour. Rakesh, John and Sahil responded with true grit, taking the final tally on to 118 all out – Rakesh racking up his first runs for the club, Sahil having his first bat, and John exuding class through the covers. But all in all, forgettable batting that brought our first defeat in almost a calendar year.

After suitable reflection and apportionment of blame, with a soupcon of Fosters to lubricate expression, Badgers duly backtracked down to platform 271 and a half (or wherever) and lived to fight another day. Old Alleynians beware!

10th July – Eden Park: 138 for 8 dec.   Badgers: 139 for 5

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

A hot day in West Wickham was the scene for the Badgers next public outing. Without a breath of wind to speak of, and the temperature soaring, the Badgers, having won the toss, sensibly decided to field first and maximise the sun tan potential. This was a new fixture for the Black Caps and a new pitch and ground to get used to. The wicket was good and the outfield a decent size if a little bumpy.

The Badgers were able to pick another strong team for this forty over contest and opened the bowling with Allan Butt and Andy Parker. Andy was extremely unlucky not to take a wicket in his opening spell of 5 overs for 12 runs, with the batsmen regularly playing and missing to anything bowled short of a length. Allan, unusually clipped easily more than once on the leg side, struggled with a hamstring strain and had to withdraw after three overs, to be replaced for the seventh over of the innings by the left-arm spin of Graham Ward. Graham made the breakthrough when the opener Smith’s cut shot cannoned back onto his stumps and was further rewarded when the other Eden Park opener found a faint edge which Barry Davenport took very comfortably behind the stumps.

The Eden Park number three then took on Andy’s arm attempting a second run, despite a Badger advising him against it mid turn. He chose to ignore the advice and Barry did a great job in removing the bails with the batsman short of his ground. John Larkin had replaced Andy from the other end and was extremely unlucky not to have had numerous wickets, including a chance at slip put down by Richard Ward.

Graham Davenport joined the attack and grabbed a wicket when the Eden Park batsman played all round his doosra and the rot had set in. Unable to take advantage of a simple caught and bowled chance, his second wicket came courtesy of a catch at gully by Allan Butt (which was Allan’s 50th outfield catch for the club – Statistical Ed.) At the other end John prompted a chance and Mark Gordon muscled Andy out of the way to take the catch, no doubt keen to hold off the challengers in this season’s catching cup. Simon Fox replaced John and took a wicket with the final ball of the innings, which closed on 138.

Tea was magnificent – the sandwiches were plain but not boring, the pizza slices well received, the pieces of pineapple went down a storm, and to have a choice of bakewell tart really is a sight to behold.

Richard Ward and Barry Davenport opened the batting. Barry’s innings only lasted eight balls but not before he had smashed 13 runs to provide impetus to the innings and unsettle the Eden Park openers. Andy was next and went for 4, while Richard, having looked comfortable, was undone by a good ball which he edged to the keeper. Keith Miller joined Mark at the crease and having taken the singles nicely, played a Viv Richard’s style hook shot that drew gasps from both sets of supporters. When Keith and his successor John Larkin were out the Badgers were 67 for 5.

However, before the home team could get too confident, Mark set about their attack. Patrick Redding was at the other end and spent most of his innings scratching around, happy to play second fiddle to Mark, as time and again the Skipper would clear the rope with an array of baseball style shots to anything wide. Mark made an unbeaten 60 to see the Badgers home with plenty of overs to spare. Nine wins, seventeen games unbeaten – do the math.

2nd July – Woldingham: 248 for 1 dec.   Badgers: 249 for 5

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

This week’s line up suggested the Badgers were slightly top heavy with ‘recognised’ bowlers. Maybe this is just a reflection of the Badgers brand of total cricket (an unfamiliar phrase, something to do with letting the opposition score lots of runs so that we have a big total to chase, perhaps?? – old-school Ed.) that they still seemed to have a few that were very useful with the bat as well.

Back into the fold, Mick Willmott resumed his role as opener with the quicker Andy Parker, and Woldingham were able to get off to a pretty useful start. When the score had reached 39, Mick, who had induced a couple of airy shots found the top edge of Dhilers’ bat and Graham Davenport took a straightforward catch.

The Badgers hoped this would open the flood gates, which it did, but unfortunately in the wrong direction. Tozer joined Anderson at the crease and it wasn’t long before Woldingham unleashed an uncompromising assault on the Badgers’ bowlers, bringing back haunting memories of two years ago against Croygas. On that day it was only one batsman doing considerable damage, but on this occasion, it was very much a two-pronged attack. Bowlers came and went – after the openers, Ian Gregg had a go followed by Mark Gordon and Graham Ward. Anderson offered a chance off Graham but Rakesh Dawar was unable to take it.

Rakesh was brought in to stem the flow along with Graham Davenport but to no avail. The Skipper then turned back to Andy Parker and then finally Alan Tickner but still no success. The good balls and bad balls all left the square at speed towards the boundary. The Badgers stuck at it, as is their way, but it wasn’t to be. The only criticism once again was some sloppy fielding, particularly on the boundary. Just as Mark was about to turn to Vinny Ganley to conjure something special Woldingham decided that they had enough with the score on 248 for 1 off 38 overs. Anderson finished with exactly 100 and number three Tozer 131, both unbeaten.

The Badgers were down but by no means out. Tea was taken, Wimbledon was watched and the team regrouped. Last week’s random batting order was scrapped in favour of a more planned approach, and Patrick Redding and Andy Parker were asked to do the honours.

Andy played well until he was dismissed for 23, with the score on 45. Last season’s corresponding fixture had seen contrasting fortunes for the new partnership, with Patrick hitting an unbeaten ton while Alan was dismissed first ball. This time around Alan was playing himself into form but he too fell just as he was getting going, for a useful 13. Graham Ward scratched around for a couple before getting trapped, but was replaced by the story of the season – Ian Gregg. Once again Ian displayed his ability with the bat in making eighteen before holing out to a deepish mid-wicket.

Despite the steady fall of wickets the Badgers were able to keep up with the run rate and keep themselves in the hunt. Moreover all this time Patrick was at the other end and at his most imperious. Since joining the club Patrick has lead the way with his ability with the willow and this was possibly the best knock of all. Comparing Patrick’s centuries is like comparing the cars in Jay Kay’s garage – just one would do most of us (doo wot?? – popular culture-challenged Ed.)

Mark Gordon joined Patrick at the crease and they hit fifth gear in their attempt to chase down the imposing total. Mark was up to the task and he stroked the ball around the park once again making the game look incredibly easy. The nine other Badgers were able to sit back and enjoy a remarkable six wicket partnership that saw the Badgers home with two overs to spare leaving Patrick and Mark not out on 122 and 45 respectively. The Badgers hot streak continued but the day belonged to Patrick.

Statistician’s Note: this represents the biggest total that we’ve ever chased successfully, beating a record that was set only last year, but which went largely unnoticed at the time, against Newchapel & Horne. It also ties our highest ever score batting second and is only four runs shy of the Badgers biggest total – 253 for 1 against Englefield Green in August 1980. It also worth noting that at the start of the 2003 season we had only once scored 200 or more to win a run chase and this victory makes it eight times in the two and a half seasons since then.

26th June – Badgers: 221 for 7   Milton: 174 for 7

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

This fixture was the only match of the Badgers Tour to the Cotswolds – we had been scheduled to play on Friday against Hook Norton but unfortunately the weather intervened, and although it improved in the late afternoon we had the impression that Hook were not keen to take on the might of the in-form Black Caps (to be fair, it was pretty damp – meteorological Ed).

Two players joined the tour just for this fixture – Andy Parker and Rakesh Dawar – partly due to Alan Tickner being unwell but also because the Badgers only took nine players, all staying at the very accommodating Crown & Cushion hotel in Chipping Norton.

This was the first limited overs match of the season and the general feeling was that, because of this, the toss was less important to win. This was just as well because Mark Gordon had been practising his tossing of a coin all weekend, only to guess incorrectly which hand the bit of fluff was in. You can’t legislate for that. Just to hinder themselves further against a very good team, the Badgers decided to select their batting line up by picking the names out of a champagne bucket on the Saturday night, which resulted in a very unfamiliar opening partnership of Mark and Ian Gregg.

Despite being inserted, the Badgers were keen to let their attractive strokeplay catch the eye and the pair wasted no time in taking apart the Milton attack who opened with two spinners. Mark and Ian made the batting look incredibly easy, the criticism being levelled at their running between the wickets. They put on 109 for the first wicket, easily the best opening stand this season, until Ian fell just short of his first 50 for the club. His 45 was still a personal best and was a deserved reward for his improved batting this season.

Graham Davenport (26) joined Mark at the crease and was able to continue the momentum previously set. Following Graham’s dismissal Mark also succumbed, but not before he had completed a magnificent century. Five sixes were included in his first hundred for nine years. Fans of Mark will know he probably would have scored many more tons but for the fact that he is more likely to bat down at number six or seven, where his ability to hunt down games at high run rates is consistently second to none.

Allan Butt (9) was next to go, caught and bowled, and then Keith Miller (11) was unable to make his ground and was run out. Graham Ward (8) was stumped and amazingly Patrick Redding failed with the bat, getting caught for one. After the forty overs Badgers had amassed 221 runs for 7 wickets, a very useful score and one that they felt that they had a good chance of defending. Tea was ample and a good variety of cakes were scoffed by both sides.

The Badgers opened up with Andy Parker bowling off a shortened run and Allan Butt providing his usual accuracy from the other end. Andy bowled a tight spell possibly helped by him taking the pace off his deliveries and was unlucky to end wicketless. Milton had scored just nine runs off eight overs and were immediately facing a climbing run rate. The Shark replaced Allan and immediately settled into a rhythm, bowling at the left handed Critchley, a former Northants youngster. Rakesh bowled from the other end and found a good line and length more often than not. When Mark failed to hold on to a chance at mid on, spectators wondered whether there was some sort of jinx against the bowler, still awaiting his first Badgers wicket.

Such fears were ill founded though, with Rako able to prise out Whatman the opener for 33, Simon Fox taking the catch. Graham Ward was the only bowler to bowl out his eight over allocation, taking two wickets, one the result of a great catch from Andy who was underneath a massive skier coming out of the sun at long on. When Simon and Mark came on the run rate had risen to eight an over and Simon took two wickets, including Critchley for 42, to put the game out of Milton’s reach. With the contest beyond the home team, the Badgers turned to Messrs. Davenport and Redding, and the final two overs had the air of a charity/beer match and epitomised the very good spirit in which the contest was played. When the stumps were called, the Badgers had extended their winning run to seven matches and unbeaten sequence, stretching back to last season, to fifteen games.

19th June – Beechwood: 169 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 172 for 5

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[This report courtesy of Keith Miller]

(You might like to compare this report with Beechwood’s version)

A scenic ground in the village of Otford, snuggling in a valley between the Surrey hills (Errr, Keith, I think you’ll find that Otford is in Kent – pedantic Ed.) and guarded on two sides by the M25 and M26 motorways.

Mark contrived to lose the toss and the Beechwood captain had a ‘no brainer’ of a decision to make in requesting Badgers to take to the field in the early/mid afternoon sunshine. How could we refuse? Fortunately a light zephyr of a breeze appeared, as though out of nowhere, to give some welcome respite from the heat.

Badgers opened with the fearsome attack of Ian Gregg & Mick Willmott, which seemed to take the opposition somewhat by surprise. Between them they removed the opening batsmen for a total of 38 runs off 16 overs. The next two Beechwood wickets fell to Mark Gordon before the score reached 71 for 4.

Dave Tickner decided, during the first drinks break, that he had been injured and left the field for the rest of the game. The cause of the injury is a mystery but one knee was definitely not the same size as the other one!

Beechwood progressed steadily to put on a fifth wicket stand of 51. This was brought to an end with the score on 122 courtesy of the bowling of Graham Davenport with assistance, behind the stumps, from Andy Parker.

Mark then took the sixth wicket at 135, leaving Graham Ward to weave his magic to pick up three wickets before Beechwood’s innings was concluded at 169 for 9 at tea.

Tea was very nice and was eaten.

Badgers response got off to a steady start with Alan Tickner and Patrick Redding scoring 27 and 36 respectively. The first wicket stand was 59.

Graham Davenport and John Larkin then followed with scores of 17 and 16 to bring the total score to 121 for 4.

Ian Gregg and Andy Parker then took control of the latter part of the innings with a stand of 46, before Ian was stumped when on 36. The somewhat handicapped Graham Ward joined Andy to finish off the innings, including two overthrows whilst the opposition were still contemplating their collective navels following an unsuccessful LBW appeal.

11th June – NPL Teddington: 136 all out   Badgers: 140 for 4

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[This report courtesy of Patrick Redding]

Badgers continued their fine unbeaten start to the season with a convincing six wicket win over NPL Teddington. A late change in venue saw the Badgers scurrying through the centre of Teddington from the National Physics Labs to Broom Road. Mark Gordon won the toss (a rarity so far this season!) and Badgers returned to their familiar fielding first position.

Alan Butt (3-13) made quick inroads into the NPL batting order, his line and length rewarded with three batsmen clean bowled. Opening partner John Larkin (1-38) was on the receiving end of some lusty blows from NPL opener Jennett (29) but following his departure the innings was becalmed when Graham Ward (1-31) and Graham Davenport (1-18) bowled in tandem. Paul Little, who is fast becoming a regular bowler for the Badgers, chipped in with 1 for 16 and Mark Gordon introduced himself into proceedings just as Fincher (31) and the remaining NPL batsmen threatened a late surge. Mark’s spell of 3 for 9 ensured that the innings was brought to a hasty close at 136. Badgers bowled a total of 46 overs and the wicket of the day was probably Graham Ward’s low full toss (near beamer) to bowl Parkes (10) who had just hit him for a four and a six!

Badgers survived the surprise early loss of Richard Ward (bowled by a ball that kept a little low) as Andy Parker and Simon Fox (19) eased the team past the fifty mark with some positive strokes and intelligent running between the wickets. The introduction of NPL’s diminutive 10 year old Churchman into the attack saw immediate reward for the home side as he dismissed both Foxy (whose sixth run had taken him past his 2000 for the club – statistical Ed.) and Rakesh Dawar in the same over (much to the delight of the bowler’s parents and grandparents watching from the sidelines!) Andy and Paul Little continued to dispatch the NPL bowlers to all parts of the ground, the one unfortunate consequence of which was the appearance of a crack in Andy’s new bat, after he had hit the second of his two sixes. Andy finally fell for a fine 74, bowled by the returning opening bowler Parkes (2-25). It was left to Paul (32 no.), accompanied by John Larkin (6 no.), to see the Badgers through to victory with the winning runs coming in only the fourth of the last twenty overs.

5th June – Badgers: 121 all out   Stoke D'Abernon: 81 all out

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

Fielding another strong team and buoyed by their recent success, Badgers took on a Stoke D'Abernon team that would be keen to avenge the recent run of results between the two teams, in fact I am pretty sure that they have never won the fixture (and you’d be right, although they have generally been good contests – statistical Ed.).

Once again the Badgers’ captain lost the toss and was asked to bat. The Stoke team had a slightly unfamiliar look, and in particular the opening new ball partnership consisted of two bowlers significantly quicker than previously experienced. Edwards was difficult to get away, using his pace and supply of short balls to keep the Badgers on their toes.

Amazingly Redding’s innings was cut dramatically short for just one, when he was bowled off his pads whilst in two minds. Graham Davenport and Rakesh Dawar (in his first innings for the Badgers) both followed quickly and only some circumspect, and at times fortuitous, batting (including two edges into the slips – one put down off Richard Ward) got the score to 14 for 3 at this point.

Richard was joined at the crease by Paul Little and this coincided with a change in the attack. The new bowlers were unable to manage the same control and Richard and Paul were able to take advantage, the latter not initially aware that a straight six from the railway end counted only as a four, engineered a single and decided upon clearing the rope with ease with the first two deliveries of a Patel over onto the railway line itself. Foxy led the search party and came back with four balls, none of which were the originals. The score had moved to 96 when Richard’s innings came to an end after a very useful 46.

Edwards returned to remove Gordon immediately and then set about working on the rest of the batsmen, including Paul Little for 43. John Larkin was particularly unlucky when his shot ricochetted off a fielder’s foot only to land in another fielder’s hands. Barry Davenport showed a brief glimpse of his explosive style but picked the wrong ball to [try and] blast out of the ground.

Simon Fox joined Andy Parker for the last wicket with hopes resting on the pair. Unfortunately Andy swished at a wide one to be caught behind, and departed to the dressing room mortified with himself while the scoreboard displayed a total of 121.

Due to the early finish the Badgers took to the field for thirty minutes before tea. Andy Parker, still incensed by his own batwork, fired in from one end while Mark Gordon, with a duck to his name, roared in from the other (If you don’t know the difference between firing and roaring in a cricketing context then I have little sympathy) and both generated the kind of fast, accurate, unsettling bowling they are very capable of. The pair produced the best continued spell of bowling by a Badgers side that I have ever witnessed (in three years).

The first dismissal came as Richard pouched a catch at slip, and then a cheeky attempt for a second run misjudged Andy’s strong arm and Stoke were two down. Mark was able to take advantage of both bowlers’ tight bowling and claim three more wickets in his opening spell, including another catch at slip from Richard – when was the last time that happened?? Mark and Andy got on top to such an extent that after 17 overs Stoke were an incredible 23 for 6.

From there John Larkin and Allan Butt, at each end of the field and the age spectrum, took over the bowling duties and Allan took a wicket with the help of the safe catching of Patrick (which took him to 250 wickets for the Badgers, spread over a mind-boggling 45 year span, albeit with a 25 year hiatus in the middle, so who knows how many he’d have if he’d played for the full 45?? – statistical Ed.). It was left to Paul Little to come on to work out the tail and this he did with 2 for 19. As seems to be a typical theme this summer, Paul’s better deliveries went unrewarded and it was the surprise rank long hop that did for one of the Stoke batsmen.

Chief destroyer Mark (5-14) returned to take the last wicket, giving Patrick his third catch of the innings, the ninth in all for the Badgers (and Mark his first five-fer this season and best figures for nearly three years – statistical Ed.). Stoke had been dismissed for just 81 in the most conclusive manner, giving the Badgers a fully deserved and satisfying victory.

28th May – Badgers: 225 for 6 dec.   Epsom Methodists: 106 all out

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but since I didn’t play in it I’m waiting on the good offices of someone who did

22nd May – Dormansland: 173 all out   Badgers: 177 for 3

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

The mighty Badgers machine rolled into Dormansland to reconvene their oldest fixture. For the second week running the Badgers were to play with only ten men when one of the players, who will remain nameless – we shall call him Pandy Arker – got trapped in a parallel time and space continuum without a Dr. Brown to retrieve the situation. In fact the Badgers, fielding first for the first time this season, started the game with nine players for the first over. Despite this, Ian Gregg was able to induce a fine edge from the opener and Barry Davenport took the catch. Once again Mick Willmott opened the bowling from the other end and with his first ball tempted the dangerous Dormansland number three into a mistimed pull which was top edged to Graham Davenport at square leg. Not long after Mick struck again, and suddenly Dormansland were 5 for 3.

Not content with their strong position, there was still activity from the slip cordon where Dave Tickner was exploring the possibility of recruiting an eleventh player, by way of mobile phone. When people talk about the usage of technology in modern cricket I’m not sure this is what they had in mind.

Back in the middle, the Dormansland middle order responded slowly but surely and after a period of consolidation, Young was beginning to look dangerous as he started timing the ball nicely. However he middled a Gregg delivery with a clip to the on side, but it went straight to Patrick Redding who took a superb catch. Graham Davenport was the first change in the 23rd over and suffered as both batsmen scored heavily behind square on the leg side. Graham Ward replaced Mick and was able to keep a lid on things as Dormansland looked to take the total on. Both Grahams took wickets, one of which was a stumping by Barry off Graham Ward. At this point Mark Gordon brought on Paul Little for his first bowl for the Badgers, and despite a couple of deliveries conceding byes down the leg side, he bowled very impressively. He managed to clean bowl his first victim and then was able to finish off the innings, The Shark taking the catch at cover.

The Badgers opened their reply with Richard Ward and the experienced Dave Tickner. Dave’s innings ended early, LBW for three but Patrick Redding steadied the ship and he and Richard put on an excellent partnership of 93. Patrick was caught for 41, but was replaced at the wicket by Barry who hit a typical quick fire 16, with only the longer boundaries denying him a series of maximums. He too was out caught and Richard was joined by skipper Mark and they carried on the good work and saw the Badgers home with a partnership of 61. Richard ended unbeaten on a fine 83, an innings full of controlled batting, and in the process registered his top score for the Black Caps, and Mark finished with a very solid 32, as the Badgers won handsomely by seven wickets.

14th May – Badgers: 197 for 7 dec.   Leigh: 43 all out

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

The day had started badly, well before a ball had been bowled. Experienced all rounder Allan Butt (see Broadbridge Heath report) had phoned in unwell. Despite a colossal amount of phone calls to try and replace him, it was to no avail, and the Badgers would commence with ten men. With this in the back of their minds, never before was the onus on the Badgers to produce their special brand of total cricket. As it turned out, when the Badgers arrived the opposition also only had ten players available, and were clearly quaking in their boots.

Badgers opened with Richard Ward and Alan Tickner, who provided a solid platform until Alan was adjudged to be adjacent to a delivery from the Leigh left arm over military medium pacer. Badgers batsmen steadily came and went but Richard was able to compile a very useful 37 on a pitch that was revealing itself to be a minefield. Ian Gregg and Graham Davenport both fell playing across the line and then Paul Little wielded his big Kahuna a couple of times, but he too succumbed to a leading edge. The Shark took one for the team in an effort to score quick runs with the clock ticking.

Fortunately for the Badgers’ fans Patrick Redding was steadily accumulating, showing the others how it should be done, and he was joined at the crease by skipper Mark Gordon who unleashed an uncompromising assault on the Leigh attack. The pair plundered an incredible 59 runs in no time at all, bringing the total to very respectable 197, with Patrick not out for 43 and Mark unbeaten on 38.

Ian Gregg and Mick Willmott opened the bowling for the Badgers and both were able to keep things tight early on. Last season Ian bossed the Leigh batsmen with a superb 6 for 23, and he was not going to let them off any easier this time either. Leigh didn’t help themselves at times with some poorly executed shots, but take nothing away from a well drilled Badgers side that took their chances very well. Mick bowled unchanged throughout the innings and Leigh could never get to grips with his leggies. Patrick, Paul, Mark (2) and Graham Ward (2) all took catches, including one by Graham at cover, that arrived at some speed, to dismiss the Leigh number six first ball.

Graham Ward (1-2) replaced Ian Gregg, who finished his spell with 3 for 13, and Mick then put Leigh out of their misery, in the process clinching his fully deserved five-fer, to end with figures of 5 for 19 from 10 overs. Leigh were dismissed for a paltry 43 – the Badgers winning by 154 runs.

1st May – Badgers: 156 all out   Broadbridge Heath: 108 for 7

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

For this brand new fixture the Badgers were greeting by a ground that was quite damp due to the morning rain. As the sun was donning its whites just in time for the new season, the Broadbridge skipper was clearly not reading the script by not only winning the toss but choosing to field first.

Badgers opened the batting with Patrick Redding and Andy Parker, an intimidating duo for anyone who has ever studied their batting CVs. N Baker opened the bowling for Broadbridge and bowled his overs at a decent pace. He accounted for both Parker and number three Barry Davenport and it needed Patrick and Paul Little to weather that particular storm. This they did, Paul with his usual attacking shots and Patrick steady as ever at the other end. They put on 47 for the third wicket before Paul was out attempting another extravagant boundary. Paul Wilson scored a patient five and then Ian Gregg, having shown fine form with the bat at pre-season nets, contributed a useful ten in another partnership of 47.

The openers then returned for another spell and Ovington accounted for Ian, and a couple for overs later, Graham Davenport and Mark Gordon for a duck. N Baker then removed Patrick, bringing the end to another superb innings, and he was quickly followed back by Allan Butt (not a great 65th birthday present Al – Age Concern Ed.) Patrick’s innings was a lesson to us all – initially not timing the ball how he would have liked, he stayed patient, gradually played himself into form and soon was able to dominate both the partnerships and the opposition alike, whilst also proving to any potential doubters that last season’s return of 604 runs at a rate of 151 per dismissal, including three centuries, was no flash in the pan.

Suddenly Badgers had lost four wickets for no runs (just like the good old days – nostalgic Ed.) Simon Fox joined Graham Ward at the crease for the last partnership and in the last over before tea Graham was castled by another inswinging yorker by N Baker who had secured a deserved fifth wicket of the innings. The Badgers were all out for 156, having been 151 for five.

When the Badgers took to the field after tea they did so wearing a new set of black caps, each emblazoned with the Badger rampant. Despite it being their first match of the season, the Badgers, being the natural sportsmen that they are, were immediately right on the money – Ian Gregg and Allan Butt opened up and found a tight line and length. The Heath openers looked reasonably solid until Saggs chipped a delivery from Allan to Simon Fox at square leg. From there on Ian mixed up his length nicely while Allan, having been ribbed for his advancing years, had the last laugh when returning the excellent figures of three for eighteen from nine overs. Graham Ward was the first change and came on at a crucial time, where Heath struggling at five down, were going to decide whether to attack the Badgers total. The Shark, and Mark Gordon from the other end, tied down Heath’s challenge. Mark removed Dane but Badgers were unable to budge the Heath batsmen who were well and truly intent on digging in to save the game at all costs.

Numerous bowling changes followed and N Baker came in to play a few shots. Ultimately, despite Andy Parker attempting a world record for most people woken up in a village with one shout for LBW (it was not out) and Badgers using a total of eight bowlers, it was not to be. A winning draw, if such a thing should exist, and a good platform for the rest of the season.