Badgers Cricket Club – Season 2007 Match Reports


This page holds the match reports for all games played during the 2007 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.

29th September – Badgers: 125 all out   Merrow: 128 for 4

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[My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but Guy Walker was volunteered for the duty, by the club chairman in the changing room before the game, but has not replied to any emails since]

23rd September – Badgers: 183 for 6 dec.   Ockley: 78 all out

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[This report courtesy of Alan Tickner, with Harry Potter authenticity checking by Jacqueline and Darrell Pitts]

Witchcraft and wizardry at Ockley!!!

It seems that Ockley tried resorting to witchcraft and wizardry in order to combat the might of the Badgers on Sunday. But the introduction of a certain Tom Fenton into their side did not have the desired effect and Badgers ran home comfortable winners by 105 runs. It appears that Mr. Fenton was none other than the actor who plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films! He was spotted by the eagle-eyed Darrell who later confirmed his identity on Wikipedia!!

Ockley won the toss and asked Badgers to bat first on a somewhat unpredictable surface. A brace of Pittses opened the innings in a rather pedestrian fashion with Hagrid Pitts playing one-handed shots more suited to the Quidditch pitch. After three early wickets fell enter Potter with the trusty Zeus blade kept in wraps for best part of the last two years. An unfortunate delay whilst the home wicket keeper recovered from a nasty blow to the nose (by the ball I might add) was followed by steady progress by the batsmen. Hagrid sent back the advancing Potter, who was looking for a quick single, resulting in Potter pulling a muscle in his thigh. Hagrid took great delight in this as Potter, now on one leg, was running at about the same pace between wickets as Hagrid on two! After reaching his 50 Hagrid was out to a fine catch in the deep and retired to the pavilion. Potter carried on and with the help of the middle order took the final score to 183 for 6 finishing himself on 74 no. Like all good novels there was a slow start (amassing just 72 from the first 25 overs) and an exciting end (scoring 111 from the last 16).

In reply VolderMark decided to open the bowling with Ron Weasley Ward and Prof. Simon Snape (3-26). But it was really Son of Hagrid who did all the damage finishing with five for twelve, including the dismissal of Draco Malfoy, helped by some great catching particularly from a diving Gryffindor Gregg and the leaping VolderMark! Whilst all this was happening Dave Dumbledore was on a mission to find a lost ball in the undergrowth. By magic he eventually found it but in doing so managed to lose Paddy in a neighbour’s garden. Fortunately dog and owner were quickly re-united!!

With Ockley dismissed for 78 it was off to the bar where even more bizarre things started to happen! Son of Hagrid kindly bought his first jug, but it turned out to be a jug of Orange and Lemonade!? The combined wizardry of Potter, Dumbledore, Snape and all the other muggles couldn’t turn it into anything more palatable and they had to rely on the generosity of Hagrid and Potter to celebrate their half centuries and provide something more alcoholic!

So another enjoyable day in rural Ockley came to an end and a big thank you to their Captain for his hospitality…or was he really Bilbo Baggins???

[For those that were unfortunate enough not be there I’ve added this section to elucidate the various references in the report above. Oh, and for any Potterheads reading this, we know Hagrid doesn’t have a son, but the familial relationship between Steve and Darrell could not be worked around any other way – and Steve as Hagrid was too good an image to throw out – Clarification Ed.]

Dramatis Personae (in order of appearance)
Steve Pitts
Harry Potter
Alan Tickner
Mark Gordon
Ron Weasley
Graham Ward
Prof. Snape
Simon Fox
Son of Hagrid
Darrell Pitts
Draco Malfoy
Prof. Dumbledore
Dave Tickner

16th September – Headley: 194 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 197 for 7

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[This report courtesy of Patrick Redding]

Having endured a particularly damp season that has seen numerous fixtures cancelled and with an enforced rest the week before, one would have anticipated a keen and determined set of Badgers to arrive for the game at Headley. Alas it was not to be. Come the start of the game, due to late withdrawals and tardiness, only 7 (yes seven!) Badgers were actually ready to take the field when the Skipper lost the toss with Headley deciding to bat.

With the Badgers expecting a serious amount of ball chasing Mark was delighted to accept the generous offer of a loan of three home-team fielders until the rest of the Badgers arrived!

Ian Gregg and Mark Gordon opened the bowling, with the Skipper later explaining that in all the confusion over the lack of players he managed to “choose” the end where he would be running into a very stiff breeze! I’m sure that Greggy, aching back and all, appreciated the wind being in his favour for once.

The start of Headley’s innings was similar to many currently being seen at the Twenty20 World Cup. Expansive and powerful clean hitting from the openers saw the home team cantering along at over eight runs an over. The Headley opening partnership was only broken by an excellent ball from Mark (3-54) but the score continued to race towards 100 before the remainder of the Badgers slowly began to arrive and take their places on the field. Their arrival was typically accompanied by some sarcastic comments from teammates on timekeeping (and for one player looking decidedly the worse for wear, questions were raised about how wise it was to drink a skin full in Birmingham the night before a game!)

Despite the initial onslaught Badgers stuck to their task extremely well. For some reason probably only he could explain, opener Moss, who had looked in no trouble reaching 46, appeared to become bored and wandered down the wicket only to sky a Greggy (2-72) delivery to Simon Fox on the square leg boundary. Now Simon’s catching record has been far from 100% this season and it was with some relief that he clung onto the catch – although he did admit this had a lot to do with the ball landing in his arms rather than his hands!

Moss’s departure triggered a major collapse as Headley limped from 90 for 1 to 139 for 9, precipitated by some tidy bowling by first change pair Graham Davenport (1-18) and Simon (3-39) and a couple of well taken catches by Darrell Pitts (using his hands Foxy!) However, as has often been the case this season, Badgers failed to fully push home their advantage in the field and an undefeated last wicket partnership of 55 lifted the Headley score to a healthy 194 for 9 declared with skipper A. Pickering (66 no.) skilfully farming the strike and regularly finding the boundary despite the deep set fields.

At tea skipper Pickering confessed that he was unsure what would be a challenging total for the Badgers on a ground that had relatively short side-on boundaries and his declaration ensured that the Badgers would have a similar number of overs to reach their target.

The black caps start to their innings was in sharp contrast to Headley’s with “the late” John Larkin and Graham Ward treating the Headley openers with considerable respect. Following John’s departure, the arrival of “Scratchy” Redding triggered an increase in the scoring rate as he took advantage of some wayward Headley bowling, with several full tosses disappearing into the trees around the boundary. Somewhat overcoming his hangover Wardy also got the boundary bug, playing several excellent shots before driving to mid off with his score on 33. Patrick continued to find the boundary with regularity until he was bowled for a well played 73.

It wouldn’t be the Badgers without the ubiquitous batting collapse and three quick wickets falling with 10 runs still needed for victory saw the Headley fielders visibly perk up with thoughts of an improbable victory surfacing. One of the three wickets was that of our illustrious web master Pittsy, who was animated and aghast at the lack of time the umpire took before giving him out LBW. Steve was sure that the ball had pitched outside his leg stump. Fortunately (for the Badgers) Mark was still at the crease and despite the gathering gloom he smacked a four and a six to take the Badgers to their target with three wickets and six of the last twenty overs remaining.

Despite the inauspicious start to the day the Badgers had recorded an excellent victory and I’m pleased to report that the visitors (not for the first time) outstayed their hosts in the bar after the game – although the lure of hot dogs and beer might have had something to do with that!

2nd September – Blindley Heath: 276 for 1 dec.   Badgers: 145 all out

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[My apologies but I’m still waiting on a report from Richard Ward for this game]

25th August – Badgers: 244 for 7   Morden Corinthians: 188 all out

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[This report courtesy of Simon Fox]

A new fixture at an old haunt – Dundonald Rec. in Wimbledon, where we used to play Rowan in the 80s – and for the first time in many a month, warm weather and blue skies. Could this be the start of summer?

A forty overs match was fixed upon, and Patrick (filling in for the Skipper who had taken the liberty of going on holiday during the season) duly lost the toss. However, wonder of wonders, Corinthians decided to put us in and thus for once Badgers had the chance to bat first. Winds of change, I begin to reflect.

Graham Ward and Simon Clementson opened up, but Graham’s innings was but a fleeting one – his strategically placed edge went straight into the hands of slips and, most unluckily for Graham, slip obliged. This brought Ian Gregg to the crease, elevated up the order ‘for the powerplay’. He had one sighter and then set about the opening attack with gusto, taking the score to 43 in the ninth over, of which Ian made 29, including five fours and a six. Simon C. anchored the innings with a stylish 37, but then snicked a wide and the keeper took a diving catch. Simon Fox and Pat then put on 110 for the fourth wicket, out of which ‘Scratchy’ contributed a meagre 30, but Simon then contrived to run himself out on 89, 91, 93, 87, 83 – oh! the vagaries of the omnipotent scorer (clue: think of great white). Mumbles of jug avoidance were heard, but it was a direct hit attempting a run to fine leg off a wide, high, who-knows! [Oddly enough that 110 is only the ninth-best fourth wicket partnership in club history – Statistical Ed. ]

David Jones in his biennial appearance made a chanceless cameo two, until he was adjudged LBW by the home umpire, having being struck dead-centre on the box – which led Mick to a number of hypotheses! Allan Butt, Chris Byrne – in a guest appearance – and Rakesh Dawar then kept Pat company as he stepped on the gas, taking his personal tally to 62 no. and the total up to 244 for 7 – which we felt would be more than enough given the slow green wicket and lush outfield.

Tea was an alfresco affair, shared with a couple of local dogs, but did allow time for the scorer to eventually get things to tally. By the time we took to the field a small but highly vocal crowd of young Aussies had gathered on the Dundonald Hill, and proceeded to barrack all and sundry throughout the innings, but in an amicable way that added a bit of fun and atmosphere to the afternoon. In no time players on both sides were given the nicknames that will embellish the rest of this report.

Greggy and Allan ‘Silver Fox’ Butt opened the bowling for us, and proved too straight, too fast and too wily for the Corinthians, who for some reason were favouring the cross-bat slog to cow corner over a more prudent approach. They slumped to 37 for 7 from eight overs, of which Greggy had 5 for 13 from four and the Silver Fox 1 for 6 (but with two catches dropped). Catches were taken however by Simon C, ‘Simmo’ Fox and Chris Byrne.

At this point, Patrick brought spin into the attack, clearly thinking that the combined guile of Mick ‘Warney’ Willmott and Graham Ward would be too much for the tail facing a gargantuan target of 208 from 32 overs. But Corinthians’ ‘guest’ number nine, a Mr. Barker, replete in pink apparel (‘Pinko’), was clearly no rabbit and began smiting the bowling to, and over, all corners. This awakened their number four Compton (no relation), who until that point had batted several overs for not very many, but thenceforth did likewise. Warney and Graham stuck to their task and bowled cannily, creating several chances that were not taken, but the score rose alarmingly as the pair put on 128 for the eighth wicket.

At this point things were looking decidedly dodgy, with Corinthians requiring 80 or so from the last twelve overs, and particularly as our Skipper had a few overs to ‘fill in’. But eventually Pinko missed a straight one from Simmo and was out for 88, the Silver Fox bowled number ten with a perfect slower ball that induced the shot several seconds before the ball arrived, and then finally Compton skied a catch to mid wicket off Rako which Patrick held despite the bowler’s valiant attempt to get in the way. Compton had made 70, a mere 55 more than his highest previous score for the team, and Rako had one ball, one wicket. Could he do the hat-trick over three games, I begin to speculate?

So, all was well in the end with a comfortable victory secured and the recent successful run continuing. Greggy was adjudged man of the match for his swashbuckling innings, his devastating opening spell and for not missing any catches. The Aussie crowd went back to the pub, likewise Pinko, and so did we.

12th August – Reigate Cavaliers: 164 for 7   Badgers: 167 for 3

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

For this week’s face off, the Badgers as usual had a road game and descended on Reigate, a ground with contrasting fortunes for the Black Caps in recent years. Despite last year’s cancellation and a victory in 2005, previous defeats still scarred the memory.

The Priory won the toss and stuck the Badgers in the field, an inconsequential toss if ever there was one. Mark and Greggy opened up and bowled three tidy overs each, just an edge for four off each batsmen of any note.

Away in the distance a strange noise could be heard – a sound emanating like rain on trees and sure enough there is was. There was no hesitation, the stumps were plucked from the ground and the players and officials ran for the covers and then refuge. And boy, did it come down; rodding is the in word this summer for describing the heavy rain we witnessed. Moments later Bobby Ewing stepped out of the shower and it turned out that one of the Badgers players had dreamt the whole thing.

The match up was rescheduled as a 25 overs-a-side match, and tactics were discussed over a pre-game tea. Badgers plans had been thrown into turmoil as they rarely field on a full stomach.

As is the norm with the Badgers special brand of total cricket, they had a different tactic for the new format, and this meant Greggy opening the bowling with Allan Butt. Both bowled tidily against batsmen determined to keep the score moving. Simon Fox replaced Ian and proved a little more expensive. When debutant Guy Walker entered the attack the score was 64 for none off nine overs. Guy’s very first delivery was slapped down towards Graham Ward who held on to the fly ball and once again a Badger had taken a wicket with his very first ball for the club.

Simon was replaced by Graham Ward and he and Guy were able to keep the scoring under control. With the Priory under pressure to up the rate, Mark Gordon and Graham Davenport came on to close out the innings. After an expensive opening over, Mark used his change up with great effect, striking out three Priory batsmen. Graham helped with three wickets of his own, with Simon Fox and Guy Walker contributing with an assist play each.

For the bottom of the first, the Badgers lead off hitters were Paul Little and Richard Ward. Paul played some elegant shots in his 14 before he was struck out. Richard was joined by Pat Redding and they reset the platform. As the run rate increased Patrick upped his gas and cleared the rope with two home runs. The partnership had reached 87 before Richard was dismissed. Graham Ward came and went looking for quick runs and then Patrick was joined at the crease by last week’s MVP Mark who was able to keep up with Patrick’s explosive strokeplay.

As we approached the denouement Bhatti bowled a curve ball right in ‘the slot’ and the Skipper duly obliged. Using his full arc, he melted it high and handsome towards the pavilion. The 125 year old clock sitting proudly on the pavilion roof was minding its own business when the red leather missile narrowly missed it, cracking a couple of tiles for good measure. Time nearly stood still for the shot of the season.

A clock has never been at the heart of such drama since ‘Back to the Future’ – then, the clock was struck by a flash of lightning, this time it was nearly struck by ‘Flash’ Gordon. After that great play, the Priory were a beaten team, with Mark (21 no.) and Patrick (78 no.) getting the job done by seven wickets. Great hustle Black Caps.

5th August – Englefield Green: 170 all out   Badgers: 174 for 3

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[This report courtesy of Darrell Pitts]

The sun was beating down on the Badgers as they took to the field for the first innings of the match against Englefield Green. The opening bowlers, Mark Gordon and Ian Gregg, were accurate and restricted the batsmen from scoring freely, but neither was able to break the opening partnership. Ian was then forced to withdraw from the attack carrying an injury. The Skipper then turned to Darrell Pitts and Graham Ward to find a wicket. Initially they failed, as both batsmen began to get into their stride and started scoring freely, Darrell being particularly expensive off his first few overs. The first wicket finally came in the seventeenth over, Darrell finally getting control of his bowling, and taking a caught and bowled to remove the first of the opening pair. Ten overs later, the game was turned in the favour of the Badgers courtesy of Graham, who in the space of three overs took four wickets for just two runs, removing the middle order, and exposing the tail.

Another set of bowling changes saw Graham Davenport, who bowled very tidily for two wickets, and Richard Ward take the ball. Richard’s nine ball over is one that won’t be forgotten quickly, especially by Englefield Green, who won’t have seen an over quite so varied for a number of years. After that debacle, Mark then brought himself back into the attack, and helped Graham finish off the Englefield innings with three wickets of his own. This left the Badgers chasing a total of 171 to win.

Richard Ward and John Larkin opened the batting, and after the first breakthrough made by Englefield, Mark, batting at three, took the game to the fielding side. Not one of their bowlers escaped the punishment, and John and Mark put on over a hundred between them from 25 overs. A caught and bowled from Wilson then sent John back to the pavilion, and Graham Ward supported the Skipper to within spitting distance of the required total. He too fell to Wilson, but our own Wilson, Paul, was able to partner Mark to the finish, making the necessary with eleven balls to spare. A true Skipper’s performance left Mark just six short of a well deserved ton.

One of the greatest quirks of all the places we play throughout the season has to be the Englefield Green clubhouse. It stands at a large angle to the pitch, meaning the scoreboard has to be placed on the side of the building, rather than at the front, and that you can’t actually see the pitch from inside the clubhouse. Apparently this is because a children’s playground was built next to the club house, and was under threat from cricket balls, forcing the cricket club to move its wicket. Surely it would have made more sense not to have built a playground in such a spot? However, the Badgers have continued their winning streak, and will be hoping they can stretch it further at Reigate next week.

29th July – Ham & Petersham: 148 all out   Badgers: 152 for 3

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[This report courtesy of Paul Little]

Given that Ham & Petersham’s clubhouse is right next door to a pub, it is rather surprising that this was my first appearance against them! However, being the dedicated athlete that I am, I resisted the temptation for a quick pint of cider before play commenced (the fact that I had a skin-full the night before with Richard Ward also contributed!!)

So the Badgers made the long walk from clubhouse to pitch in fine spirits, bathed in glorious sunshine, and buoyed by their comprehensive victory the previous week. Unsurprisingly, Badgers fielded first and ‘Flash’ Gordon and ‘Pop’ Larkin were given the honour of having first crack at the H&P openers on a wicket that throughout the day would play a mixture of quick, bouncy, slow and low! If the wicket was unpredictable then spare a thought for the H&P openers who also had to contend with John’s unpredictable deliveries!

That proved, in fact, to not be the case as both he and Mark were bang on the money from the off and made life difficult for the openers in the scoring department. In fact the run rate was only helped along by a number of wides, with some of these being laughable decisions (notably one called from Mark that the batsman actually played over, Steve Pitts taking comfortably behind the stumps!) It should also be noted that when the ball did beat the ever alert and prowling Badgers field, it did so by first offering up a difficult catching chance.

John ended his spell of six overs wicket-less for 15, being replaced by Graham Davenport, with the Skipper continuing to pound away at the other end. Before too long, Mark made the breakthrough, with the assistance of not one but two Badgers! Mark delivered a crack-a-jack that the opener Shah drove to third slip, which was being covered by yours truly at first (well I am wide enough after all!!) For those of you unfortunate enough not to witness the dive I put in to reach the ball (that was travelling around mach one), it was on a par with Gordon Banks’ save from Pele’s header! That’s what must have been going through my head as I palmed the ball up to Graham Ward at gully! However that was not the end of the drama as Graham had to produce a lightning Greg Louganis-esque double back-flip with twist to complete, off the tips of his twinkly little toes, without doubt the catch of the season! Cue scenes of incredulous joy and admiration!! His mum Kay, watching from the sidelines, was so chuffed that those ballet lessons she paid out for when he was a child to improve his agility and suppleness had been well worth the money……and the bullying!!! The main consequence of this spectacular chain of events though was that the small tremor caused by my landing (it was felt a couple of miles down the road in Kingston) finally managed to halt the shriek of one of the adjacent mansion’s burglar alarms that had been annoying us since start of play!!

That seemed to lift the Badgers and it wasn’t long before Mark pounced twice more (one being a smart C&B; the other being one that managed to dislodge a bail after pinballing around just about every part of the batsman’s anatomy and equipment!) and Graham deservedly claimed a victim with an absolute peach high full toss (Simon Clementson’s congratulatory comment of “That’s where to bowl; full and straight” didn’t do it justice!!) Mark finished with 3 for 37 off fifteen overs, and with H&P rocking and their wickets tumbling Graham Ward and Darrell Pitts were introduced into the attack to heap more misery on them. It should also be pointed out that the introduction of Graham raised the biggest chuckle of the day with the H&P scorers asking if we had said ‘Warne’ in response to their request for the bowler’s name for the score book! How they could mix up a party-loving, womanising, X-rated text message sender with the world’s leading wicket taker in Test cricket is beyond belief!!!

Only Whitty provided any resistance, and was eventually stumped off Graham for 32. The final H&P wicket fell with the score at 148, with the unlucky victim being adjudged BBW (Box Before Wicket! – Paul’s original definition used a slightly different first word, but since I’d like to keep the site’s child-friendly rating I have chosen to switch to a rhyming replacement less likely to give offence to the delicate or small-minded – terminology Ed). Suffice to say he didn’t exactly leave the field in a hurry but did so doing a very good impersonation of the walks of both Charlie Chaplin and John Wayne! Graham, Darrell and a run-out accounted for the last six wickets, with Graham finishing with 2 for 31 off seven overs. But pick of the bowling was Darrell who produced an excellent 3 for 7 off his 6.4 overs! Credit to Steve as well for two smart stumpings.

Tea was enjoyably taken in the beer garden of the ‘Legless Frog’ before Simon Clementson and Darrell Pitts were tasked with leading the charge for the match winning 149 runs (Simon strode out to the middle with reassurances ringing in his ears that he would not find himself at the same end as his partner during his innings!). As with the H&P innings, Simon and Darrell found scoring tough going at first, with the line and length of Cowley and the huge turn of spinner Shankar at either end keeping our lads watchful and on their toes. Simon and Darrell kept the run rate ticking over, and had managed to push the score along to 48 when Darrell departed LBW for 10 off the first change bowler.

Mark then decided to send me in at number three, no doubt to try and get the run rate moving a bit quicker, so he must have been pretty disappointed that my first six scoring shots were singles! However normal service was soon resumed when I sent a top edge off the back foot over cover for a maximum! This coincided with the other opening bowler taking a blow, and the changes were not able to find the same control and rhythm, enabling Simon and I to take full advantage so that when we started the last twenty overs, the Badgers were fully in control and required only eighty runs. Simon recorded his first Badgers half century, and not long afterwards I notched up fifty as well. However when Simon departed for 57, holing out to deep square leg who took a great catch off his boot straps, the usual fears of a major Badgers collapse soon surfaced when Matt Mann returned to the comfort of his chair without troubling the scorers. At this point I was joined at the crease by Rako and any fears of a collapse were eased when he dispatched a glorious drive through cover that, if we had been at a football match, would’ve led to chants of “are you Tendulkar in disguise”!! This seemed to knock the stuffing out of H&P completely and with only ten required off the last three overs, I decided that enough was enough and bish bash bosh, five balls later the contest was over. TendulkaRako and I walked off with six and 70 respectively.

Sweet as.

22nd July – Seven Sports: 156 for 8   Badgers: 158 for 1

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[This report courtesy of Paul Little]

Given the fact that that the majority of the country is currently underwater after weeks of rainfall and flooding of biblical proportions, it was no surprise that both teams arrived for this mouth watering contest bathed in glorious sunshine! If the weather was a surprise, then the arrival of yours truly for his first match of the season was an even greater one to his team mates. Surely this was a sign from the cricketing gods that the Badgers fortunes this season were about to turn around!

Another surprise was the Skipper being informed that the match would be a 35 overs a-piece contest as there were a number of players who wouldn’t last longer than that. Mark thanked the oppo captain for his concern, but explained that the Badgers line-up in fact contained only one OAP for this game instead of the usual four or five!! Anyway, I could not be bothered to find out who had won the toss, but suffice to say the Badgers took to the field first, fortunately with eleven after Darrell Pitts was dragged away from the final pages of a new book about a boy wizard or something.

The Badgers’ ‘motivational huddle’ (I use both those words loosely) concentrated on whether Allan Butt’s first delivery of the afternoon was for a hat-trick following his taking of the last two wickets with consecutive balls at Ockham the week before. This seemed to spur the Skipper on as he charged in like a springbok on heat and delivered a cracking first over full of pace, bounce and movement (his deliveries not his run up) including a devilish brute of a half-volley that totally bemused the opener, D Johnson, into lobbing one straight to Matt Mann lurking somewhere between cover and cover point. A wicket maiden to start, with a hat-trick ball to follow from AB; go the Badgers!

Unfortunately the other opener had declined to read the script and managed to fend off Allan’s first delivery, but both he and Mark bowled extremely well in their opening spells to reduce the SS to just a bit of book burning……sorry, to just 28 for 2 after 14 overs. Mark finished his spell of eight overs with figures of 2 for 18, with Allan producing none for 16 off his seven. Spin was then the order of the day with Simon Fox and Graham Ward coming into the attack. Unfortunately this coincided with Seven Sports’ number three P Johnson getting his eye in and opening up his shoulders to push up the run rate. However wickets continued to fall at the other end, with Graham Ward and Darrell Pitts (who came on for Simon) both picking up wickets to keep the run rate in check. It must be pointed out that Simon would have bagged a wicket had he not left a simple catching chance fall to Matt………who in turn decided to leave it for Patrick Redding! As is the way, the ball dropped right in the middle of the three of them! From a personal perspective, even though I had not played all season, it was nice to see that our fielding was still as sharp as ever!

P Johnson was finally dismissed for a fine 83, although there was some confusion as to how he was actually out! From my position sunbathing at deep square leg, he may have been bowled, stumped, caught behind by Steve Pitts or even caught behind and then stumped! Anyway, I could not be bothered to run in and find out so I’ll leave it to Steve to confirm when he publishes this (He was bowled, neck and crop – clarification Ed). Once that wicket had gone down, the end was in sight and only Childs (34) contributed anything of note. Graham and Darrell picked up two wickets each, with two run-outs completing the dismissals. If you think that two run-outs marked a significant change to the Badgers ability in the field, then you’ll be relieved to know that this is not the case, highlighted by an incident in the final over! Mark brought himself back to try and pick up a cheap wicket, and would have succeeded had Richard Ward managed to run an extra couple of yards to the thirty he’d already covered sprinting in from long on to take a catch about five feet left of mid on…………where Rako was fielding!!!

So Seven Sports managed to see out their allotted overs, finishing on somewhere between 153 and 157 for 8 depending on which figures you used in the scorebook! (we eventually settled on 156). The Badgers headed off to tea in good spirits, led as always by Steve who wanted to show us his new “carb loading” eating regime!!

When the Badgers re-emerged with our carbs suitably loaded, the realisation soon hit that we were going to be chasing ‘one of those totals’ so Patrick and Richard were tasked with opening the batting and getting us off to solid start. This they did easily, rarely being troubled by the opening attack. Both Patrick and Richard were quite happy taking singles and twos at will, occasionally getting a few over the boundary ropes to keep the run-rate ticking over. Realising that they were in danger of sending everyone to sleep, particularly their team mates, they both started to open the shoulders and throw the willow around a bit (without much success if the truth be told, leading to quite a bit of tutting and shaking of the head from the unimpressed ‘Caribbean Calypso’ boys in the middle order!) Anyway, they both settled down again and each deservedly reached half tons.

It was only when P Johnson changed ends that the opposition looked like making a breakthrough, and he duly did by bowling Patrick for a typically scratchy(!) 57. Even though less than 50 were required with plenty of overs in hand when Mark made his way to the crease, there was always the chance of a famous Badgers collapse, but Richard and Mark led us home to a well deserved victory. Richard finished unbeaten on 80; Mark on 14.

Well done chaps. I knew you’d be inspired by my return!!

15th July – Ockham: 171 all out   Badgers: 140 all out

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[This report courtesy of Keith Miller]

The Captain has been placed on suicide watch after another defeat, which bore all the hallmarks of the previous week’s game. A game of four quarters – a good start in the field, containing the batting side to 39 for 5 at one stage. Then Mullen, fresh from university, with a somewhat agricultural style (but a good eye for the ball) let loose and scored his first ever 50 for his team. He was finally out for 67 to a nonchalant but brilliant one-handed catch from Mark Gordon (who else?) off the bowling of Simon Fox. A late Badgers flourish saw the opposition all out for 171 on the stroke of tea.

The opening attack of Mark Gordon and Ian Gregg each bagged three wickets during long spells – Mark 12 overs, 2 maidens, 3 wickets for 39 runs, and Ian 16 overs, 1 maiden, 3 for 58. Graham Ward opened his three over spell as first change with a wonderful delivery which completely baffled the batsman. After that he conceded 31 runs for no wickets and took himself off before the Captain could. He blamed his performance (or lack of it) on jet lag following his return from holiday in Portugal – time difference one hour!

Allan Butt mopped up the innings with 3 wickets for 21 runs off 3.3 overs. He is on a hat trick for his next appearance (is this allowed?) taking the last two wickets with consecutive balls. The fielding, particularly the inability to catch and hold on to the ball, played a large part in contributing to the opposition’s score. Even Mark missed a relatively simple (in the opinion of everyone apart from Mark) caught and bowled attempt. He made up for this lapse later on, taking two one-handed and one two-handed catches.

Anyone thinking that the absence of Pitts senior would result in a quiet and fragrant afternoon in the field were rudely disappointed as we found ourselves in the middle of a thunder storm which resulted in a fifteen minute delay in proceedings. Fortunately the rain stopped and we were left to endure the remainder of the afternoon in hot and humid conditions.

After tea Badgers started their response with a good opening partnership between Patrick Redding and Graham Ward (22). Graham was eventually bowled by Lambert with the score on 62. Simon Fox made a very brief cameo appearance before Mark Gordon (23) came to the crease – promoting himself up the order following insistent prompting by his team mates. Patrick and Mark took the score onto 119 before Mark was caught behind off the bowling of Malik.

From 119 for 2 the Badgers proceeded at a fairly brisk pace to 126 for 8. Just when we thought that Patrick would run out of partners for the remainder of the innings, he was caught and bowled by Malik for 67. According to the score book we then progressed to 142 for 9, which is a bit difficult to understand seeing as neither the batsmen, nor total extras, appeared to score sufficient runs to account for this minor recovery, and the innings ended with Mick Willmott caught for six runs with the score on 150. [In preparing the end of season reports Darrell and I discovered a discrepancy in the scorecard written up in our book and what was previously entered both into the database and this website. It appears that someone did some unilateral tidying up when the score was transferred from the original piece of paper to our book, and given the confusion evinced in this paragraph I have decided to live with the new total of 140 all out – slightly confused Statistical Ed.]

During the innings Simon won the award for the longest umpiring decision recorded in Badgers history. After a loud and unanimous LBW appeal by the opposition players, Simon took a lifetime, and a bit longer, to give Deal out. After the game he explained that he was trying to think of a good reason why he could turn down the appeal, failed to find one, so eventually gave the batsman out!

The score sheet, such as it is, will be posted to the Webmaster for posterity. Alternatively it can be cut into four pieces and used on the posterior. (Oh come on Keith, it surely wasn’t that bad, at least we got somewhere near the opposition’s score – ‘Glass half full’ Ed)

7th July – Woldingham: 232 for 8 dec.   Badgers: 118 all out

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[My apologies but due to illness I’ve not found the time to write the match report for this game]

22nd June – Martinstown: 118 for 7   Badgers: 122 for 7

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[My apologies but I didn’t tour this year and I’ve not received a match report for this game nor any indication of who might be writing one]

17th June – East Horsley: 205 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 197 all out

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[My apologies but due to illness I’ve not found the time to complete the match report for this game]

10th June – Tadworth: 193 for 8 dec.   Badgers: 187 for 7

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

There are some places in the world where it always rains, Brighton being one, while others are like Tadworth Green, where it is always great weather. Tadworth makes a very popular setting, and also will provide the venue for next year’s fiftieth anniversary celebration.

The Badgers lost the toss and were put into the field. Mark Gordon and Ian Gregg (1-32) opened the bowling. Both were able to keep things tight. Mark in particular bowled a very hostile spell where the batsmen were happy just to survive. Tadworth put on 38 for the first wicket before three wickets fell for five runs, and with the run rate around two and a half, the Black Caps were well on top. Robinson (33) and Richards (89) then turned things around – although Richards survived a chance in the twenties. Simon Fox (2-22) replaced Greggy with some medium pace, and nipped a couple out before he got too tired, and Richard Ward enforced a run out.

After a marathon seventeen consecutive, and at times luckless, overs, Mark Gordon took himself off to be replaced by Graham Ward, who had similar misfortune by finding numerous inside edges with his chinaman turning round corners. Richards was still there and dished out a bit of treatment to Graham Davenport (1-30) and subsequently Alan Tickner (2-24). Alan had his revenge and those wickets, along with a great effort in the field, kept Tadworth to 193.

Despite a good effort in the field the Badgers had been set a challenging target especially with a few Badgers yet to find their best form with the willow this season. Simon Fox and Richard Ward got things underway and their fifty partnership was just what was needed. However, once Richard was out there was a steady procession of wickets with only Patrick Redding staying firm. With some accurate bowling the run rate was also climbing. At 125 for 6 with 69 more needed off ten overs the Black Caps needed Mark Gordon to help Patrick. This he did and the pair gave Tadworth plenty to think about. Just as things were turning the Badgers way Mark was bowled, but the delivery was called a no ball for height and maybe the Black Caps’ luck had turned. This reprieve was short lived, however, and Mark was dismissed for 23 (of a partnership of 44).

With 25 required off the final two overs, and the field spread protecting the boundary, Patrick decided the draw was the best option. With 22 required off the final over Greggy decided the win was still the best option. He clubbed his way to 17 not out and the Badgers fell just seven runs short of the win. Patrick finished not out on 62.

2nd June – Leigh: 197 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 107 all out

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[This report courtesy of Simon Fox]

A quintessential English summer day. Azure sky dotted with fluffy white clouds; verdant pastures and panoramic views of the North Downs; Badgers fielding first……

Leigh had clearly been watering their square generously, as its rich green tint contrasted with a dry ochre outfield. The wicket too was green, but played true all afternoon, albeit with lowish bounce.

Mathematicians may be puzzled but the Leigh innings was an innings of three halves! Thus spake the club statistician and so be it! (This is a Richard Whiteley and Countdown reference, for anyone doubting my sanity, or numerical acumen – vulgar fractional Ed) The first ‘half’ was clearly advantage Badgers, with Mark Gordon and Allan Butt bowling a tight opening spell. Mark got two early wickets with successive deliveries and then effected a run out with a direct hit from cover at the non-striker’s end, leaving Leigh at 30 for 3 after the first sixteen overs. This was followed by ten overs of accurate and economic slow bowling from Darrell Pitts and Graham Davenport, containing the scoring to 60 for 3 with only an hour or so till tea. But the failure to make further breakthrough was about to tell…

The second ‘half’ saw Badgers conceding 100 runs in no time, as the Leigh batsmen got accustomed to the pace of the wicket and the lack of variety in the attack. Graham and Darrell suffered first, but not as heavily as Rakesh Dawar and Mick Willmott, who were brought on to replace them. Still no wickets, and with twenty or so minutes ’til tea it looked like we were going to have to chase well over 200.

The third ‘half’: ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the pie-chuckers’ – as the Skipper brought on Graham Ward in partnership with Mick, Darrell held a full-length diving catch on the boundary, and wickets tumbled with abandon, as Leigh’s lower-order batsmen struggled to cope with the guileful mix of full-tosses, long-hops and wides. John Larkin effected a lightning-fast stumping (or so he reckoned – there were doubters), his first for the club, and then came the champagne moment as Rakesh held his first catch for the Badgers in his third season, on the boundary and followed by the ‘Rako two-step’ that had him close to tottering over the boundary and converting his catch into a six.

Leigh’s declaration at tea came at 197 for 9, with Graham Ward taking a jug-avoiding four for thirteen from three overs. Best of the rest were Mark with 9-2-19-2 and Allan with 7-2-13-0. The overall reflection was that we had conceded too many runs in the second half that allowed a total that would be difficult to chase.

Thankfully you will not have to struggle with any fractions over our batting, as it was rank throughout, with a very notable exception from Darrell, who played soundly but positively for the top score of 21, also his top score for the club. The first few overs were promising, taking us to 25 for 0 after five overs, but then your humble scribe was caught off a hooligan shot to a wide and the slide began, as wickets fells steadily and our scoring was tied down by accurate bowling and energetic fielding. John Larkin scratched for nineteen from sixteen overs but never got on top of the bowling. With twenty overs remaining Badgers needed 140 to win with six wickets in hand, but were always off the pace and eventually succumbed to the inevitable in the penultimate over. 107 all out and a loss by 90 runs.

It was suggested we lock ourselves in the changing room for a spot of self-chastisement, but a counter-proposal to move this to the bar was made and accepted and this is how the afternoon ended. Until Janet drove off with Mick’s keys, that is.

20th May – Stoke D'Abernon: 218 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 190 for 8

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[This report courtesy of Rakesh Dawar]

The Badgers, still recovering from the loss in the first game and last week’s draw being cancelled due to rain, were trying to get back in rhythm. When the toss was taken by skipper Mark Gordon only eight Badgers were present, owing to traffic delays, but all managed to arrive just in time for the start of the game.

Mark, who won the toss, decided to put Stoke D'Abernon in to bat and started the proceedings with a fiery bowling spell that had the batsman guessing. Badgers had mixed luck in the field, with a couple of catches going down in the first few overs, but the Skipper made amends by repeating his performance from the previous game and ensuring that he held onto everything that came his way.

Stoke D'Abernon, who looked shaky at the start, managed to keep the score board ticking and brought up the first hundred, in the twenty second over for the loss of three wickets, with a towering FOUR that hit the sightscreen off Graham Ward. But the Badgers, with some accurate bowling and tidy spells from Graham Ward (2-52) and Ian Gregg (2-27), managed to keep taking wickets at regular intervals and keep the batsmen in check. Mark’s two diving catches off Graham Ward put him at the top of the list for the catching cup and ensured that Badgers were still in game.

Sahil Dawar, who had bowled on behalf of the opposition in the previous game against Broadbridge Heath – conceding only eight runs in his seven overs and grabbing the prize scalp of Simon Fox – seemed off colour in this game and conceded 32 off his five overs. It was the tight spells of Alan Tickner (1-22) and Darrell Pitts (3-31) that ensured that the hosts did not entirely run away with the game and at the end of the stipulated time Stoke D'Abernon finished their innings on 218 for 9 off 46 overs.

It seemed an uphill task for the Badgers, who would have about forty overs to get this target at an asking rate of five and a half an over. The innings began with openers Simon Fox (36) and John Larkin and a solid determination to see off the opening bowlers. Despite the odds being against the Badgers, and some accurate bowling by Gottchalk (5-68), the Badgers came close to knocking up the desired score. It was solid batting by Simon, in form Graham Ward (31), ‘Mister Reliable’ Pat Redding (39), hard hitting Ian Gregg and some late in the day calypso-style batting by Mark Gordon (23), Darrell Pitts and Mick Willmott which brought the Badgers close to the target. Considering that Badgers had eight overs less than their opponents to get the target score, a draw was the most appropriate result.

All in all a great game – nice to see that Pat and Wardy are in great form. Mark bowled his heart out.

6th May – Badgers: 171 all out   Broadbridge Heath: 172 for 5

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[This report courtesy of Dave Tickner]

Badgers first match of the season was against a side with a game behind them and this lack of match practice was probably the difference between the teams, resulting in a defeat in what proved to be a most sporting and enjoyable game.

Badgers were put into bat and after a slow start found themselves 42 for 6 after the first hour as a result of a series of mistimed shots and a bizarre run out. The latter occurred when Wilson, on strike, declined an easy leg bye, whilst awaiting an LBW appeal. Non striker Clementson was soon at the same end imploring Wilson to run under threat of strangulation but there was no budging him and Clementson failed to make the return journey in time. Before any suitable revenge could be planned Wilson did the safest thing by getting stumped next ball!

Following this, sanity returned and Fox (38), Gregg (31) and G. Ward (60 no.) all batted enterprisingly to lift the score to 171.

In reply Badgers bowled well but never really got on top with the bowling and blew any chances of victory by dropping five catches early on, of which three were off the unlucky bowler Butt. In complete contrast skipper Gordon held two outstanding flying catches which even sportingly drew applause from the opposition. A classy 67 from A. Case, enabling the target to be met with six overs remaining, anchored their innings.

Butt and Clementson were then consoled in the bar by their team mates with Butt in particular quite philosophical as he had experienced events of this nature many times before.