Badgers Cricket Club – Season 2009 Match Reports


This page holds the match reports for all games played during the 2009 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 both summary and full match reports were written by your host and webmaster, Steve Pitts, as were all editorial comments and statistical notes. 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.

26th September – Merrow: 215 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 135 all out

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[This report courtesy of Simon Fox]

Merrow had been our traditional curtain call fixture for many years, but we hadn’t played for the last two due to Merrow re-laying their square with consequent havoc to their fixture list. (Actually we did play in 2007, with the square originally slated to be dug up after the 2006 season, but aborted, and then the process going ahead at the end of 2008, which Richard can attest to – Pedantic Ed.) So it was good to be back, even though our memories are of some pretty tough opponents and hard-to-win matches. It was good to see many of the old faces from past years, though we did note with some alarm that a couple of their spotty fourteen year-olds have now grown up into big and beefy youths! We scented a glimpse of hope however when we discovered that several of their core players had been involved in a poker game stretching into the not-so-early hours, leaving them in a marginally delicate state. We also welcomed the return of the prodigal Mr. Larkin, not seen in Badgers colours for at least a year. The sun was out, though there was a nip in the air, and the new track looked flat and dry.

Skipper won the toss and to nobody’s surprise chose to field. Merrow’s openers Hall and Steer set off at an alarming rate against our opening pair of Mark Gordon and Ian Gregg, though Hall did offer a low, fast chance to slip off the second ball of the match which popped in and out as they say. Sorry Mark! Skipper took himself out of the attack after bowling five overs for lots, by which time the score had raced to 59 from the first ten overs, but he persevered with Greggy who had now found line, length and demons which were more able to contain the scoring, and rewarded him with the wickets of both openers, bowled with leg cutters. At the other end he turned to Graham Ward, in the hope that slower bowling would be harder to score off and so it turned out, as his left arm wrist-spin from over the wicket bamboozled the Merrow middle order for twelve overs. Wardy claimed his first wicket in his second over with what he described as a low flat yorker, but which looked suspiciously like a rank full-toss to the rest of us; whereas his second was a one-man show caught and bowled, the catch taken at full stretch above his head to remove Merrow old timer Clive Windus, who we knew from past experience can be a very productive bat.

By the end of his spell Graham had achieved the very presentable figures of 2 for 31, as the Merrow score was pegged back to 158 for 4 from 33 overs, and he can justifiably claim some credit for the fruits of later bowlers – Chris Byrne, Allan Butt, Andy Iwanoczko and Ben Valentine. Andy bowled well after a nervous start to end with 1 for 33, but the pick was Allan who snared 4 for 33 from seven guile-full overs, including his 300th for the club, the wicket of Cook jnr, aged 13, with a dastardly straight one. Merrow finished with 215 for 9 leaving us 75 minutes plus 20 overs for the chase, which looked like a fair challenge with the quick outfield.

This did not of course allow for the tea of baked potatoes, chilli and beans – in keeping with Merrow’s traditional last match fayre. Openers Steve Pitts and Allan Butt (10) proceeded with great caution – or was it inertia? – then blossomed with some lusty blows before Allan missed a straight one with the score on 38. John Larkin’s return was short enough not to merit further description, which brought your humble reporter to the crease. Twenty were added with Steve before one of the more bizarre overs of Badger’s history. For the first ball, I was batting and Mark was umpiring at square leg; and for the last ball Mark was batting and I was umpiring at square leg, two others – Ben and Paul Wilson – having come and gone in between. The moral of this story of course is that more players need to offer to umpire, but that’s something for next season now. By this time Merrow skipper Windus (not-so) junior had strolled a 5-down 5-for, finishing his spell with 5 for 12 from nine overs. However Merrow continued to apply the pressure, Windus snr being overheard saying ‘these two are proper batsmen’, but Mark and Steve moved the score on to 109 before Steve was bowled for a fine, aggressive 65, and from there the innings slipped somewhat inevitably to 135 all out from 35 overs. All ten wickets were bowled which might say something about Badger’ techniques, and which should just pose a little puzzle for the club statistician. Our innings included five scores of zero, if Ian’s nought not out is included.

So the season finished on a low, but undoubtedly the better team had prevailed, and we were able to reflect on this at some length in the bar before the evening chill sent us all away for the winter.

Statistical Notes: Allan reached the three hundred wicket mark in style, with his best bowling figures in over four years, a mere 18,032 days since the first one back on 14th May 1960. Despite making his debut in 1959 Allan did not bowl until the first game of the 1960 season, when he took his first ever wicket for the club with the eighth ball of his first spell against Norwood Wanderers. The game was a little different in those days, with Al’s 2 for 16 helping the Badgers bowl the opposition out for 84 before a batting failure that (until a few weeks later) was the worst score the club had mustered, 27 all out!!

Foxy flagged up the fact that all ten Badger wickets were bowled, something that we were well aware of as the innings drew to a close. Those present, and anyone that has scrutinised the fiftieth anniversary booklet, will already be aware that this also happened in the very first match that the club played. Whilst it would be nice to know if it had ever happened since, all I can confirm is that there have been no other instances since the start of the 1988 season. Prior to that requires a long trawl through the old scorebooks and I have other fish to fry in the short term in order to have the statistics cross-checked and the season report ready to go for the dinner.

This was the eleventh time (in twenty-one games) this season that we have allowed the opposition to score more than 200 in an innings, comfortably the most ever. It will therefore surprise no one to learn that we have conceded more runs this year than in any other (a record that was already guaranteed before this game) – 3994, with the previous worst being 3703 in 2003 – and that it is also the worst runs per game against – 190.2, which is nearly ten runs higher than the 180.6 in 2007. The flip side is that we’ve had the scope to score a few too, with the 3376 runs accumulated behind only the 3560 we amassed in 2003 and the average of 160.8 fifth best but a long way shy of the 174.4 from 2005.

Those of you who recall my final game rantings from last year will know that one of the targets I set myself each season is to score more runs than Extras (who this year amassed 319 from 21 innings) and I am pleased to report that not only have I comfortably achieved that feat but four others managed it too – Pat, Mark and the brothers Ward – something that we have not managed since 1989 – when Adrian Cowell, Andy Parker, Robin Suggate and Dave Tickner joined me in besting 247 runs from 18 games. Perhaps more impressively all five of us broke the three hundred run barrier, which has never previously been achieved by more than three Badgers in a season.

20th September – Ockley: 139 for 8 dec.   Badgers: 141 for 7

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Summary: A beautiful autumnal day on the green at Ockley saw the Badgers back to winning ways despite the odd wobble in pursuing an accessible total. Allan and Darrell opened the bowling and the lack of pace seemed to confuse the Ockley batsmen somewhat. Both bowled tidily, Allan without reward again, and after a couple of early breakthroughs (the opposition skipper being incredibly unlucky to be run out when Darrell failed to cling on to a hard-struck low return catch but deflected the ball onto the stumps) the third wicket pair rode their luck to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Due to a lack of detail in the scorebook I have no idea how many they added but once Greggy, coming on as second change, had broken the partnership with a clean bowled he then finished Tarratt’s stay at the crease on 51 with a brilliant diving catch in the covers. Chris Byrne added three more victims to that initial success to finish with 4 for 43 as Ockley declared at tea with eight down and 139 on the board.

The Badgers response was shaky from the get-go, with wickets falling after a slow start. Graham Davenport (25) and Mark calmed nerves somewhat, adding 48 for the fourth wicket, but the pair were parted just after the start of the last twenty and it was left to Mark to guide his team home. Fortunately, after several more wobbles, he found a willing lieutenant in Darrell and an unbroken eighth wicket stand of 27 saw the Badgers home, with Mark unbeaten on 60.

Statistical Notes: Patrick made his one hundredth appearance for the club and celebrated with that rarest of beasts (at least for him) – a golden duck!?

13th September – Headley: 258 for 7 dec.   Badgers: 190 all out

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Summary: A chilly autumnal day as the Badgers rolled up at Headley – all on time this week – and we were shortly to be frozen out of the game too. Any sighs of relief regarding the absence of James Moss (who has battered our bowling in recent years) were soon dispelled despite an early success for Greggy. That wicket simply brought a gentleman by the name of Chapman to the crease, who could obviously bat a bit and proceeded to put on 109 for the second wicket with his young partner Pickering (who turned out to be the leggie that had tortured us a few years back, and would do so again). The introduction of Bill (2-33) into the attack as second change altered the balance of the game a little and he grabbed two clean bowled victims in the middle of his spell, whilst enjoying an interesting tussle with the entrenched Chapman. Guy (3-60) also turned in a solid spell, snaring three wickets in the latter half of his eleven overs, but Chapman carried on serenely at the other end, guiding his team to a declaration at 258 for 7 with his personal contribution an unbeaten 167.

The Badgers reply got off to a quick enough start, given the need to score at around six an over to have any chance of winning, but Graham Ward slightly overdid the aggression and fell for twelve the ball after hitting his second scoring shot. Steve (40) and Pat (31) kept things chugging along nicely and after sixteen overs the score had reached 95. However, by this time the aforementioned leggie had settled into his unbroken spell as first change and Steve succumbed trying to keep the scoreboard moving. The pair had added 74 but that proved to be the biggest partnership of the innings and with Pat falling to the same bowler not long afterwards the middle order folded up in the face of someone who could turn the ball at a decent pace, with the young man snaring a victim in each of six consecutive overs. At that point Bill (23) joined Mark in the middle and they added 31 for the ninth wicket before Foxy hung around to allow Mark to add another 32 for the final wicket but the improbable victory march (albeit that we still had 68 to score with eight overs remaining) was halted by a rather dubious leg before decision. Mark finished unbeaten on 47, Pickering with 8 for 32 (six of them bowled) and the Badgers had subsided to 191 all out.

Statistical Notes: Mark passed the 6000 run plateau in splendid style, starting his innings with a four and a six to take him past the milestone.

Whilst 167 not out is a very impressive individual score, and betters anything that a Badger has ever managed, it is not the best score against us and nor was it Mr. Chapman’s best ever – an overheard changing room conversation suggesting that he has two bigger tallies to his credit. I have not undertaken the trawl through the scorebooks that would be necessary to confirm any other massive innings, but I am sure that Mick Willmott will recall being on the receiving end of a score of 178 against Croygas back in 2003.

6th September – Edward Alleyn & Honor Oak: 93 all out   Badgers: 95 for 4

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

This was a second attempt at a new fixture after last year’s match was cancelled due to bad weather. Having said that we have played this team in another guise before various mergers and takeovers took hold. In any case I didn’t recognise any of their players and there was no sign of the Peter Sutcliffe look-alike from previous versions of Alleyns.

Due to heavy traffic a number of Badgers were late arriving at the ground, congestion that could be solved by a few controlled explosions in the Streatham area. Admittedly a huge crater would add to the resurfacing work being carried out, but the south London suburb wouldn’t lose any of its charm in the process.

The format for this contest was forty overs aside with the usual maximum of eight overs per bowler. The Badgers won the toss and fielded first as usual. Mark Gordon and Darrell Pitts opened the bowling and both were able to maintain excellent control. Mark bowled a tight line and length and was rewarded with an impressive economy rate if not the wickets – six overs, four maidens for eight runs. At the other end Darrell was able to create more chances, including one taken by father Steve behind the sticks and another one caught and bowled. With Darrell bowled out and the Skipper saving two overs ‘up the pipe’ (military phrase) it was important that the change bowlers maintained the same control. And this they did, Chris Byrne looking to bowl straight and Guy Walker varying his medium pace, kept the run rate well in control. One thing that started to become apparent was that the occasional ball was keeping low and both Chris and Guy were able to take full advantage.

With wickets tumbling, the Badgers had Alleyns by the throat. Alleyn’s captain Windsor entered the fray, and looked to turn things round, but things weren’t helped by some terrible running. Having seen his partner shovel the ball straight to Mark at mid on, Windsor demanded the run, despite it not being his call anyway, giving his partner no chance. The striker was duly run out, and for his part Windsor was deserving of a one way trip to the Tower of London. The Badgers were not done and Guy served up another one that kept low, leaving Windsor castled, with the score on 74. Alleyns fought back well and just as they began to threaten Guy induced a chop-on leaving them eight down. At the other end Chris had been replaced by Sahil ‘The Finisher’ Dawar. Fresh from ten A* in his GCSEs he ripped through numbers 10 and 11, both going for golden ducks and leaving himself on a Badger hat-trick (a local rule allowing him to bowl his hat-trick ball the next time he plays). The Badgers left the field after a fielding performance that was a privilege to have been a part of.

With the innings completed in just 30 overs, a quick turnaround ensued before tea with the captains agreeing on a 15 over mini session. The Black Caps opened up with Graham Ward and Rakesh Dawar, and despite nearly all of the runs being scored behind the wicket, the pair did enough to blunt the bowlers’ quick opening burst. They put on 18 off six overs before Graham was removed, bowled off his pad. Rako and Ben Valentine were out a little while after and the score was 30 for 3. However new batsmen Mark Gordon and Chris Byrne were able to survive until tea. A tea that ticked a lot of boxes, keeping all interested. Jelly Babies and some fruit for Steve were all very well received.

Having been refuelled, the Badgers continued their pursuit of Alleyns total and were now able to benefit from a change of the attack. None of the next three bowlers performed well enough to warrant me remembering any of their names, but Mark and Chris could only play what was put in front of them, and this they did very proficiently. Chris scored 24, including a six, in their partnership of exactly 50. This partnership was brought to an end by one of the returning opening bowlers, but Keith Miller, making his first appearance of the season, was on hand to settle any Badger nerves. How he managed to pull a full ball through square leg for four remains a mystery, but few were surprised given his previous Badger wagon wheels. Mark hoisted the dibbly dobbler from the other end into the tennis court and shortly after Hawkeye (Pittsy) declared the ball ‘out’ the game was over and the Badgers headed to the bar, rightly proud of their best performance of the season.

Great hustle Black Caps.

Statistical Notes: Mark now needs just seven more runs to be the fourth Badger to reach 6000 runs lifetime. At this point he is 239 runs behind me, but something tells me that that gap will not last long.

For the fourth time this season I had to recreate an innings ball by ball in order to figure out what was wrong with the scorecard. In this case it was our bowling that was somewhat screwy, with Chris Byrne having been credited with two wickets when he was sure he’d only taken one and Guy Walker being sure that he had nabbed four victims rather than the three the book gave him. My analysis revealed that the scorer had got confused midway through Chris’s spell and had recorded eight consecutive overs against the wrong bowler, so that Guy’s third through sixth overs were down in the book as the fifth through eighth overs bowled by Chris and vice versa. As a result I have changed both the wickets taken and the runs allowed, which means that Guy gets one more wicket and four more runs whilst Chris has only one wicket but four fewer runs.

30th August – Blindley Heath: 242 for 5 dec.   Badgers: 171 for 6

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Last season’s game against these opponents was the lowest scoring since the first time the teams met (and this was the twenty-third game, comfortably the second-longest active fixture behind Dormansland) and before we started Neil Burchett expressed the hope that this year’s game would yield more in the way of runs. Well he certainly got his wish as several new faces made significant contributions and the final aggregate was the second highest ever. Allan Butt and Ian Gregg kept things in check early on, with Allan having no luck whatsoever as the second ball of the innings was spilled at first slip and a couple of other harder chances also went begging. In the end the opening pair had added 56 before Allan finally parted them, and his figures at the end of that spell were eleven overs, two maidens, one wicket for twenty-nine runs. Greggy (1-47) snared the other opener in his ten over spell and the pair kept the scoring rate in check too, with seventy runs coming from the first twenty overs.

Ben Valentine came on as first change but struggled to find a consistent line before skipper Mark Gordon came up with the master-stroke of bringing on his nine year old son Jake to replace Allan (thus removing nearly sixty years from the attack!?) which seemed to confuse the batsmen somewhat, more through the lower trajectory than any concerns about batting against a youngster. After starting with a wide the third ball of the over was pulled hard straight into Mark’s grateful (and no doubt slightly nervous) hands at short mid-wicket and a second wicket was to follow three overs later to give impressive figures of two for twenty from six overs. The introduction of Darrell Pitts at the other end initially kept the brakes on the scoring but the fall of the fourth wicket brought the second of a pair of young Richards to the crease and after an initial period of reconnaissance they started to take control.

Having come together on 111 in the twenty-ninth over and pushed the score on to 128 after 35, they took the game away from the visitors by plundering another 114 runs from the last twelve overs of the innings. Both Darrell and Pat Redding were harshly treated, with the ball regularly disappearing over the short boundaries. Darrell got his revenge castling C Richards for 56, of a fifth wicket partnership of 97, three overs from the end but that didn’t slow the scoring rate and Allan saw his figures spoiled as 18 runs were plundered from the final over to leave Blindley Heath on 242 for 5 with G Richards unbeaten on 82.

Ben and Steve Pitts were chosen to kick start the Badgers reply but were unable to give the innings the impetus it needed in the face of some tight bowling from the home side’s opening pair. Six of the first seven overs were maidens and only a wide and a couple of byes prevented a shutout at that point. Steve did manage to start plundering some runs from the bad balls, especially once the change bowlers were introduced, but the final over before the start of the last twenty saw two wickets fall with the score just 61. Facing a run rate of 9.1 per over to win Steve continued the acceleration, sharing a 50 run fourth wicket partnership with Pat Redding (18) and another 33 with Mark.

Halfway through the twenty overs the scoring rate was over eight but the rate required had risen to nearly ten and Rebbeck had put the brakes on at one end, helped by the key wicket of Pat. Steve succumbed to the pressure being applied, an ugly heave at a straight one bringing an end to his innings at 89, and whilst Mark added a few more lusty blows he too was undone by the magnitude of the task (and the re-introduction of opener Howard) and was bowled for 38 with more than six overs left. That wicket brought Darrell in to join Paul Wilson and the pair settled for seeing out the remaining overs without any real alarm.

Statistical Notes: Jake Gordon is almost certainly the youngest player to take a wicket for the Badgers, since his tenth birthday is nearly six months away and no one younger than ten had even played for the Badgers prior to Jake (a fact that was missed when he made his club debut against South Park Manor back at the end of June – where we should have recorded both that Jake was the youngest ever Badger and that the spread in ages between the youngest and oldest was almost certainly the largest the Badgers have ever managed, at just under sixty years).

Allan Butt continues to edge towards three hundred wickets for the club, still three short after this game, but was pondering in the bar afterwards whether or not he will get there this season, and if not whether he would be back to complete the job next season. Chin up Al, one decent outing in the last couple of games should seal it, and I’m sure you can manage another season whether or not you reach the mark this year. After all, you would then be able to say that you had played for the club in six different decades!?

Prior to this season we had conceded more than 240 to our opponents on just eleven occasions over the fifty years. In August 2009 we did so three times with the only saving grace being that we drew all three games.

23rd August – Chipstead, Coulsdon & Walcountians: 210 for 9   Badgers: 211 for 9

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[This report courtesy of Simon Fox]

A new fixture this season took us to the delightful Chipstead Valley, home to Chipstead, Coulsdon and Walcountians Cricket Club. Old Walcountians had been a regular fixture in our early days, but the fixture lapsed at least 25 years ago, and some time recently they had dwindled in numbers and merged with the two Cs – and from now on I’m going to just call them CC&W.

The ground is beautifully set amidst verdant chestnuts and rolling pastures, with a couple of wizened trees within the playing area requiring local rules and more importantly providing a nice shady rest for any fielder banished to the outer. The pitch was flat and bare, and looked to be on the sporty side. The day was warm and sunny, forecast to be the hottest day of the year, so in true form Skipper won the toss and elected to field. The match was limited to 40 overs, with bowlers limited to eight each, thankfully not a problem for us today as we counted at least seven ‘bowlers’ in our eleven. CC&W’s side sported nine under 18s, so clearly the fielding competition was not going to go our way this week!

Mark Gordon and Sahil Dawar opened up, Mark getting good bounce and Sahil some nice swing. CC&W’s openers were kept in check despite a few lusty blows, and Sahil was rewarded with the number one’s wicket, accepting a sharp caught and bowled in his fourth over. Ian Gregg and Allan Butt replaced the openers after ten overs and continued to bowl tightly, conceding singles here and there but few boundaries. Ian got the wicket of the opposition skipper Ennis in his fifth over, thanks to a confident catch in the deep by Ben Valentine. Allan bowled through, ending with none for 27 from his eight overs, whilst Chris Byrne was brought on for Ian – Skipper clearly planning out his end game! At this point CC&W’s middle order upped the ante, pushing for singles and turning ones into twos at every opportunity – somewhat in defiance of the laws of athleticism.

The hitting got harder and more adventurous, and the running more risky, and as a consequence wickets fell regularly from this point onwards, though it was evident that everyone in the opposition side could bat. Chris and then Ian and Sahil returning shared in the wickets, Ian and Sahil ending with three apiece, whilst Chris’ figures of 2 for 50 were witness to him getting on the wrong end of some sturdy blows. Mark bowled well without reward, as seems to befall him too often these days, but in other aspects he was involved in just about everything, snatching three from five in the catching department and one from two in run-outs, his success being a spectacular single wicket throw down from wide mid-off. But true to say, we let the home side get away from 100 or so after 25 overs to 210 for 9 at the end of the allotted 40. Our fielding display was uncharacteristically energetic but as so often happens the field was just too big for us!

Tea came with five wickets still to be had in the Ashes, so we were in for another evening of channel switching! Our opening pair of Rakesh Dawar and your humble servant strode out to face the music, the opening bowler being barely visible to the naked eye at the end of his run up, and true to expectation the cherry came down at alarming speed but thankfully not too often in the right direction. Unfortunately for Rako, he got a touch to one and had to trudge all the way back after just a few balls, and without wasting any of the scorer’s lead. Graham Ward came in at number three in attacking mood, executing some excellent pull shots off the quickie, but he was somewhat let down by his partner who could only prod and nudge, giving a new definition to seeing off the quickies! However, thanks to a good contribution from extras, the score moved along at a reasonable rate, with 46 off the first 12 overs, more or less what the doctor ordered. Graham fell to CC&W’s first change bowler Patel for 27, followed not long after by yours truly, skying a leg-side long hop straight up in the air to backward leg. Out for seven after 16 overs at the crease, and out of my agony at last!

After a short stay from Ben, Patrick Redding and Graham Davenport came together with the score on 70, with Patrick being in particularly purposeful mood. There followed the best partnership of the match, 70 from 12 overs with Graham eventually succumbing to CC&W’s beguiling young leg-spinner for an excellent 25, taking us to 140 for 5 with 12 overs to go. Chris Byrne joined Patrick as CC&W played their ace, introducing left arm quickie Hadfield bowling with the sinking sun directly behind him at a pace which none of our remaining batsmen (including Patrick) could get to terms with. The good news though was that only the occasional ball threatened the stumps, and the wickie was having the same problems as the batsman. Chris got willow on a couple which sped to the boundary but then got one of the straight ones. This brought Skipper in to join Patrick with 50 required from the last 10, well within range or so we thought.

However, the scoring slowed as Hadfield got nearer the target, and the wickets of Mark, Ian and Sahil fell over the space of the next six overs, but Patrick was able to keep runs flowing off the leggie with some nicely timed drives through the off. As the Ashes were regained, last man Allan came in to join Patrick with the score on 192 in the 37th over, and we were set for our own nail-biter. The turning point came as Allan lofted a drive to the boundary at long off in the penultimate over, leaving just 6 to win from Hadfield’s last. Rather than go for the big one, Patrick opted to maintain the suspense, taking singles and trusting Allan to do likewise. Byes contributed three, including an overthrow by the keeper, as runs were stolen from dot balls, tying the score with one ball to go and Allan facing. At which point, Hadfield obliged with a wide, Patrick and Allan scrambled a bye anyway, and the scorer got confused, but we had won by one run with one ball remaining according to the book! Patrick’s 89 no. was the match winner but Allan’s resilience at number eleven was likewise invaluable. Excellent game of cricket!

After ablutions and accounts, a couple of shandies and a bit of banter, it was time to head back to catch the highlights on Sky. What better afternoon could you wish for?

Statistical Notes: This is actually the first time that we’ve won a match by one wicket whilst scoring more than 200, and the previous best score to win a match batting second with nine wickets down was just 142, the small matter of 44 years ago!? In fact, there have been only eight one wicket wins in club history with the previous one over nine years ago.

The 38 runs contributed by the renowned Xavier Tras equals the second highest since I started keeping the details electronically back in 1988 (and for the record comprised 5 no balls, 13 wides, 5 leg byes and 15 byes). The previous time we were gifted 38 was against Headley in 2007 (when it didn’t even rate a mention in Pat’s match report) and the highest was 41, supplied by Crondall back in July 1994.

The absence of Steve Pitts for this game brought to an end a streak of 36 consecutive games played, almost certainly the longest in club history and five more than the second best (Mark Gordon having played in 31 on the bounce on two occasions). Whilst the record keeping was not as detailed prior to 1988, and the loss of the 1981 book means that we’ll never know for sure, it is unlikely that there is a longer streak hidden in the missing information from earlier scorebooks.

16th August – Maori-Oxshott: 272 for 3 dec.   Badgers: 198 for 7

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The similarities between this game and last week’s are striking, although mainly superficial, but large scores by the opening batsmen in each game left us chasing big totals that we failed to match but managed to avoid embarrassing ourselves by getting close to the two hundred mark (and in this one possibly passing it, but I’ve not yet felt the need to try and reconcile the book to work out exactly how many we did score). It was a sunny and hot afternoon but with our seemingly limited bowling attack we fielded first and were met by the sight of Tom Davis and ‘Tony’ Nasir, both of whom have put us to the sword in the past. Allan Butt and Sahil Dawar managed to keep things under control early but the pair gradually upped the scoring rate and by the time the change bowlers were introduced they were scoring at six an over, a level below which they never dropped thereafter.

Mark Gordon did cause the batsmen some anxious moments, but the pair rode their luck and the ground fielding became increasingly ragged, with nearly everyone culpable at some point, before even the Skipper’s equilibrium was affected after misfields off three consecutive deliveries. Tony retired upon reaching his century, with the score on 181, but despite a leg before victim for Graham Ward the scoring rate did not slow even when Tom also retired having failed miserably in his attempts to get himself out. In the end we probably spent more time in the undergrowth this week than even last week and that meant that when the home side closed their innings a few minutes before the scheduled tea interval, with the score on 272 for 3, we had only bowled 40 overs. Of course those three wickets included two retirements, although we didn’t really spurn many opportunities, with only a difficult chance that Matt Mann turned over the bar at long off and a rocket of a caught and bowled that Sahil failed to hold going begging.

We didn’t see much of Oxshott’s youngsters during the first half of the game, with most of them seemingly more interested in watching the telly than umpiring and the senior members of the side hogging the batting honours, but they were given every opportunity with the ball and soon had the visitors in a certain amount of trouble. The top three advanced the score to just eighteen but Mark (31) and Ben Valentine (18) started the revival with a fifty run fourth wicket stand before the Skipper was skittled by off spinner Waghorn’s quicker ball. Ben followed soon after, falling victim in exactly the same fashion, and the Badgers were staring at a heavy defeat.

At this point Steve Pitts joined Matt Mann in the middle and the pair slowly started to repair the damage, with Steve setting a target of 150 as the face saving minimum. Both proceeded cautiously to start with, Steve taking 19 balls to get off the mark, but with the field set for wicket taking the runs soon started to flow. Matt eventually fell for a valuable 34, offering the young leg spinner Guy Harper a caught and bowled, and Allan (15) chipped in before he fell to a stumping off the same bowler. In the meantime Steve brought up his fifty with his twelfth four and despite a couple of moments against the little leggie, was able to see out the innings with Darrell at the other end and contribute an unbeaten 70 (66 of which were boundary hits) to the team total of 198 for 7.

9th August – Reigate Cavaliers: 250 for 2 dec.   Badgers: 194 for 7

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Summary: Another warm afternoon produced nothing but toil for the Badgers in the field as two Reigate youngsters smashed the ball to all parts of the extensive playing area, regularly necessitating hunts in the hedge in front of the bowling green. The pair racked up 221 runs for the first wicket, before H McInley (103) became Andy’s first victim for the Badgers in his first ever bowling spell. Denchfield finished unbeaten on 126 when Reigate closed their innings on 250 for the loss of just two wickets.

The Cavaliers used to be a mixed bunch of ages, not quite as diverse as the Badgers but then not many are, but this time the team were mostly young lads and they fielded athletically to back up some tidy bowling. Pick of the attack was Irfan Hameed (3-23) whose tidy opening spell of five overs for just four runs would be followed up by a successful return later in the piece. The tidiness of the bowling was reflected by the fact that there were just seventeen scoring shots in the first twenty overs bowled, by which time the openers had departed and Richard and Pat were in harness, seven overs and eleven runs into what would be a 125 run partnership for the third wicket. They did accelerate considerably but the sluggish start meant that the target was always just a fraction beyond even their talents, although they did keep things mighty interesting with a run rate of nearly seven an over until Hameed returned to snare Richard for 61. From there the innings slowly fizzled out over the last nine overs and Pat fell just short of a deserved century, eventually being credited with 91 after a reconstruction of the whole innings confirmed that the 90 he was originally given and the 95 that the book actually added up to were both wrong. In the end it would be fair to say that a draw was a reasonable result and the wicket was just too good a batting track to force the result.

Statistical Notes: The 125 that Pat and Richard added for the third wicket is the fourth best in club history, just two runs shy of Richard and Graham’s effort against Old Suttonians earlier this year but well short of the 152 that Pat and Simon managed against East Horsley last season. I suspect that a 221 run opening partnership is a record against us, but don’t have the time to dig through the thirty plus candidates (where the opposition scored 221 or more) to confirm the fact one way or the other.

2nd August – Badgers: 118 for 9 dec.   Windsor Great Park: 119 for 3

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Summary: If golf is a good walk spoiled, then this came close to being a beautiful setting for a cricket match spoiled, mainly thanks to a less than convincing batting performance from the Badgers, who were put in to bat for the first time this season. The ball swung throughout the game and even Richard (20) and Pat were unable to get in and settled. A battling innings from Mark (38) rescued the team from the parlous state of 68 for 7, after a lower middle order collapse, and he and Greggy added 46 for the eighth wicket. The innings eventually closed on 118 with nine wickets down but only 39 overs having been bowled despite a two and a half hour session and no interruptions for lost balls or other extraneous factors.

The home side’s openers set off like they were expecting to knock the runs off without any trouble and the Badgers responded by making them pay for their over-confidence and at 50 for 3 it looked like things could get interesting. Unfortunately number four R Lazarczuk was given a life when a steepling catch to extra cover was spilled – much to the unnecessary amusement of the drinking fraternity in front of the York Club bar – before he had got going. He went on to smash 54, including some brutal hitting off Graham Ward (who was most certainly made to rue the drop) and Darrell, and the target was reached in just shy of sixteen overs. A magnificent place to play cricket but it is never much fun being on the receiving end of such a drubbing, especially when you get your nose rubbed in it repeatedly afterwards.

26th July – Ham & Petersham: 201 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 186 for 9

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[This summary report courtesy of Darrell Pitts]

Summary: The weather was uncharacteristically unpleasant as the Badgers arrived on Ham Common, where heat stroke is normally a more common problem than hypothermia. The Badgers bowled first (obviously), with Alan and Ian keeping the scoring low through the first dozen or so overs and removing three of the H&P top four. The first of the wickets was particularly notable because it involved an athletic piece of wicket keeping from Steve to take a catch at full stretch to his right. Alan’s bowling was particularly economical, conceding just 21 runs off his eleven overs. The Skipper made his first bowling changes just as Subramanam and Khan were opening up, so both Darrell and Graham took a heavy beating, Darrell going for a shade more than a run a ball for his 10 overs. The fourth wicket partnership of 93 was finally broken by a run out, and from that point on none of the opposition, other than the number nine, offered much resistance. Once Graham and Darrell had picked up a wicket apiece for their troubles Mark brought himself on to mop up the tail, taking three cheap wickets at the end for just 17 runs. Tea was taken in the pub garden with the best weather of the day and Ham and Petersham’s score 201 for 9.

The Badgers started well with Steve (33) and Pat (23) opening the batting and taking the score to 63 from the first ten overs. The middle order then prodded around to keep the scoreboard ticking over until Mark (51) arrived at the crease. He was joined by Graham Ward, and the two of them soon had the run rate up, and it looked like the game might get very close while Mark was smashing the boundaries. Sadly Graham fell with the Badgers still 50 runs short and it was left to the tail to provide Mark with someone to bat with. Twenty runs later Mark managed to find a fielder and numbers ten and eleven were charged with bringing the Badgers home. After a couple of overs it became clear that they weren’t able to keep up the scoring rate and therefore had to settle for batting out the overs, which they duly did to give the Badgers a creditable draw.

Statistical Notes: Mark passed Brian Moore into fourth place on the all-time run scoring list and finished his innings just 163 shy of the 6000. The scorebook was a bit of a mess – which I have to place primarily at my door as I think it went pear shaped after I took over from Darrell – so I’ve ended up having to sort it out by reconstructing the whole innings, on which basis three individual scores have changed by a run or two.

19th July – Seven Sports: 156 for 6   Badgers: 157 for 7

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Summary: On a blustery day in Chertsey it was a wonder that we didn’t get interrupted by the weather but the bowlers coped admirably with the windy conditions and kept a tight rein on the batsmen in the early going of this now traditional (sadly) thirty five over game against Seven Sports. Mark and Allan kept the scoring rate below two and a half for the first ten overs, with the latter especially stingy in his unrewarded six over spell, which yielded just twelve runs. The home side’s innings was dominated by contributions from two Johnsons (in a team containing four with that surname and three Fairminers). D Johnson commanded the early proceedings, scoring 54 of the first 78 runs, and when he departed – missing a straight one from Darrell – it was namesake P Johnson (51) who carried the torch. In the end he was removed by a fine catch by Graham Davenport, having been missed by Steve off a skier that looked as if it would carry to Ben at mid-wicket before carrying back on the wind to come down within a couple of yards of the stumps, bypassing the gloves on the way.

Setting off in pursuit of 157 to win the visitors were never really behind the run rate (of just under four and a half an over) with Steve (33) harsh on anything short and number three Graham Davenport setting about the task in his usual robust and unorthodox fashion. Andy Iwanoczko (24) joined Graham when the second wicket fell at 48 and the pair frustrated the bowlers for another 59 runs, with one of the Johnsons heard to exclaim – after Graham clattered another ball from off stump through mid-wicket – that it was like playing French cricket!? Graham was eventually skittled, just short of a half century for the second week running, by sixth bowler Charles (3-37) who caused some consternation amongst the middle order before the Badgers were seen home comfortably enough by the eighth wicket pairing of Graham Ward and Patrick.

(You might also care to check out the Seven Sports’ report on the match)

Statistical Notes: Your correspondent reached the 6000 run mark in Badgers’ matches that counted towards the averages. I am only the third Badger to reach that plateau, behind the Tickner brothers, but Mark won’t be far behind. Oh, and this being our second win on the trot ended a rather unusual run of ten games without a repeating result, but I’ll revisit that topic in more depth another time as I have written some code to calculate streaks, both team and personal, with some interesting results.

12th July – Ockham: 151 all out   Badgers: 152 for 5

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[This report courtesy of Simon Fox]

This week’s outing took us to the leafy village of Ockham, aka Little Chelsea, where our previous two encounters have been shared with one win each. The weather was overcast with occasional glimpses of the sun and also a few sharp showers, but nothing enough to interrupt a most enjoyable afternoon.

The pitch had a greenish look to it, and perhaps for this reason – or other unbeknown – the Skipper, having won the toss, elected to field. Mark and Greggy’s frugal opening spells of five overs each – Mark conceding eight and Ian ten – gave us early control of the game, with the bonus of the wicket of Ockham’s opener, as Graham Ward – in trying to avoid a sharp edge to slip – managed to nudge the ball with both right hand and left knee and Steve Pitts – with his full and considerable momentum going backwards and right – somehow stuck out a left glove and pirouetted (with pike) to pouch the catch. The opener called for a referral on the grounds of a bump ball, but unfortunately for him the technology at the ground was momentarily malfunctioning and he had to bow to the trusty old raised index and trudge back to the pavilion.

The middle part of the innings saw guile from both ends, with Chris Byrne and Darrell Pitts replacing the openers, and Chris making an immediate impression taking two wickets for one run from his first three overs, at which point the score had crept to just 27 for 3. Darrell on the other hand, having had Ockham’s number four Doherty dropped behind behind (work that one out!), bore the brunt of some lusty leather-bashing by Doherty to the short leg-side boundary, and the score raced to 123 for 5 from the next 13 overs – Darrell persevering to deservedly take one wicket thanks to an agricultural stumping by Pitts snr. and Chris adding one more to finish with 3 for 30 from eight overs.

At this point Skipper brought back Greggy to stem the flow and Patrick – formerly Scratchy, newly re-christened Tetchy Redding – to raise the intensity. This immediately did the job, as Doherty holed out to Graham Ward in the deep and then Ian ran through the tail like a good vindaloo, finishing with 8.1 overs 2 maidens 3 wickets for 17 runs, whilst Tetchy sent down a few unplayable tweakers in amongst a variety of pies. Good catches were taken by Darrell (2), Graham W and Greggy (c&b), there was a memorable piece of fielding by Richard W and a sharp run out by Graham W. End result 151 all out from 36 overs and one ball, which looked a little below par with the fast outfield and short boundary.

After a hearty tea, Ben Valentine and Chris Byrne’s excuses least impressed the Skipper, and they were duly sent in to open the innings. Ockham’s openers bowled quick but wayward and the partnership raced to 58 in 13 overs with an array of shots – some classy, some dashing, some flashy and, it goes without saying, a few good honest nicks through the slips. Eventually Ben found the wickie with one of his nicks and exited for a confident 23, and Chris followed shortly after for 30, one short of his best so far for the club. Adjectives were sought to describe Graham W’s innings at number three, with the unanimous choice suggested by Ray – ‘short’ – his wicket falling at 75 (give or take a few). Apparently, this was not Graham’s sort of wicket!

Richard W and Graham Davenport took up the mantle with a sense of purpose as we entered the final 20 overs, Graham in particular showing scant respect for the bowling and carving the ball to all points of the field, even including one on the off-side, while at the other end Richard provided classical grace and elegance through the covers. Graham finally departed for 41, having tested out Ockham’s fielders under the high ball on four occasions, three of which had earned him singles.

At this point, needing just ten to win from ten overs, and in competition with the heroics of James Anderson and Monty Panesar at Cardiff, Richard and new batsman Steve P appeared to be trying to extend the game to a last over finale by playing out several maidens against the returning and more disciplined Ockham openers. Steve departed, having failed to trouble the scorer, an audible ‘Ooh’ uttered as a ball came back and toppled his stumps. Richard – clearly in average protection mode – continued the crawl towards the zenith, but thankfully Greggy at the other end put us out of our misery by scampering a leg bye for the winning run. Victory by five wickets with a little more than four overs to spare.

After customary accounting, debt collecting and other routine activities in the clubhouse, and satisfied with a good all-round team performance, we bade adieu to Ockham with hopes of returning again next year to renew the contest.

Statistical Notes: Ian Gregg reached 200 wickets for the Badgers with his final victim. He is the ninth bowler to reach that mark over the past fifty plus seasons, and should manage to lift himself into seventh place in fairly short order, but has rather a long way to go to catch Brian Moore or Alan Tickner!?

5th July – Old Suttonians: 190 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 166 for 9

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[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

An historic moment in South Cheam, as for the first time, the Badgers squared up to the Old Sutt Onions. The weather was warm and windy, and as always, the outfield at Northey Avenue was giving full value for your shots.

The toss was deemed an unnecessary waste of time as both teams had opposite intentions, should they have won it. Habitually the Badgers take to the field while the Onions prefer to bat.

Once again Allan Butt (1-37) and Ian Gregg shared the new ball, but while neither offered much cutting edge this week, nor were they got after. Tom Wod (sic) was the more aggressive of the openers and scored a fine 37 before Allan claimed his wicket. Paul Wrankmore and Will Harvey kept things going and it required an alert catch from the Skipper off his own bowling to remove Wrankmore for 39. The nagging medium pace of Chris Byrne (2-38) prized out Harvey and then he claimed the prized wicket of Phil Smith, whose choice of shot raised at least one pair of eyebrows.

Andy ‘Gifted’ Gravestock kept things together for the Sutts displaying his full array of cut shots. He scored 29, helped by Fitzgerald and Wortley but then Sahil Dawar, who finished with 3 for 41 from 11 overs, went about slicing through the Onions with some pitched up, straight bowling. Darrell Pitts chipped in with two wickets of his own, including a first catch for Chris Byrne and the Onions declared nine down on a very competitive 190.

Tea was splendid. Paté on french bread, mini cornish pasties and jam tarts were all crowd pleasers, and it was accompanied by events at SW19 involving Roger Federer defeating Andy Roddick 16-14 in the final set.

The reply started off in cagey fashion. Steve Pitts and Patrick Redding opening the batting against the speed of Matt Smith and the left-field bowling selection of leg-spinner Tom Wortley. The bowling was given the respect it deserved and subsequently the scoring was slow to begin with.

Wortley put down a chance off Redding, and with Patrick in superb form again this season, one wondered if Squirts had dropped the match. However, Tom kept plugging away and after a couple of unsuccessful appeals he finally had his man trapped in front. Steve edged to Harvey off Smith M and suddenly the Badgers were staring down the barrel at 18 for 2.

However the Ward Brothers were a pair in determined mood up against their alma mater (thanks to Allan Butt for that phrase). The change bowling of Barron and Bajwa were not able to maintain the same control, and Richard and Graham upped the scoring rate although Bajwa was unlucky when a couple of edges went begging. Will O’Toole was introduced to the attack and while he was able to extract more bounce off the pitch than most, he was unable to slow the scoring. With the Ward Express steaming ahead, the Onions turned to the spin partnership of the two Ws – Wortley and Wood. Eventually Wood got past Richard’s defences and he departed for an excellent 77. From here, the run rate slowed and Ben Valentine was run out attempting a second run, with O’Toole sharp as a knife in the field. With the run rate increasing, Graham was bowled by the scoreboard for 46. The game was still winnable and the Black Caps were prepared to swing the bat. However, a further tumble of four wickets, including two stumpings by Harvey off Wortley, left them with a bridge too far. Not a man to crumble under the pressure, Darrell’s upward curve with the bat was maintained and he held out for the final two overs to secure the draw.

The teams trooped off for a post-game barbecue leaving the players to reflect on a thoroughly entertaining match. Highlights included a lighthearted collision between Gravestock and Byrne, which was clearly a coming together and not a deliberate Onion bargie on the former’s behalf. Let’s hope the big brass get round the table and we can look forward to the same again next year.

(You might also care to check out the Old Suttonian’s report on the match)

Statistical Notes: The 127 run third wicket partnership between Graham and Richard was the third highest for that wicket in club history, and the first century stand this season. The subsequent collapse from 145 for 2 to 165 for 9 was not so good, but far from record breaking since there have been two occasions where seven wickets have been lost for as few as five runs.

Oh, and Graham Ward’s next innings for the club will be his one hundredth.

28th June – South Park Manor: 100 all out   Badgers: 104 for 4

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Summary: A first ever visit to South Park in Reigate saw the Badgers fielding three debutants in Andy Iwanoczko (an Aussie, despite the surname), Jake Gordon and Daniel Ward (who have both appeared as substitute fielders before but never actually made it into the team sheet). The home side got off to a slow start, with Allan especially stingy at one end – finishing with three wickets for sixteen runs from ten overs – and Greggy only going for slightly more thanks to a lightning quick outfield which meant that edges that were not stopped by the infield were costly. By the time the change bowlers were introduced South Park were floundering somewhat at 54 for 5 and whilst neither Mark, bowling his leggies, nor Darrell gave much away the seventh wicket pair did start to drag the game back around before it all fell apart in the space of four and a half overs and they subsided to 100 all out. The things that will stick in my mind were Andy’s first ever catch for the club – a juggling effort to snare a ball that looked like it was going to loop over his head – and an absolute dolly caught and bowled that Mark inexplicably made a total Horlicks of.

Mark asked last week’s heroic pair to open the innings together and whilst Darrell didn’t hang around this time, Chris Byrne (31) showed that he is a handy batter by recording his highest score for the club for the second week running. Graham Ward joined Chris at the fall of the first wicket in the third over and saw the Badgers home to victory, with little assistance from the other end once Chris had departed, finishing unbeaten with 57 of the final tally of 104.

Statistical Notes: Greggy inadvertently set me an interesting challenge by wondering whether the same pair had ever finished a Badgers innings one week and then started the innings the following week. Obviously I can only answer that for games played since the start of 1988, but I can confirm that over that span the numbers ten and eleven have never finished the game one week and opened the innings the next week. In fact, the only other time when two players slated to appear at the bottom of the order have appeared at the top of the order in the next game occurred last year between the Ockley and Chiltern Gypsies games, but on that occasion the first game was won by five wickets, so ten and eleven didn’t get to the crease.

There have been two other occasions where the pair that finished a game have opened in the next one. At Sunnyside in 1992 Alan Tickner and Andy Parker closed out a five wicket win before taking first strike in the next match at South Hatch (which was abandoned fairly early after rain swept in over the Downs) and at Pearl Assurance in 1991 Andy Ducker and I shared a match-winning 110 run opening stand before returning the following week to post exactly 100 runs less against Leigh (although Darrell tells me that that one doesn’t match the spirit of the request, since it involved the openers in both games).

21st June – Tadworth: 238 for 7 dec.   Badgers: 171 for 9

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Summary: Whilst the Badgers were definitely on the receiving end in this game, on another warm and sunny day that brought extra spectators out of the woodwork, the game ended on a high note for the visitors after an afternoon of toil. The home side put the Badgers’ bowling to the sword, with only opener Allan and first change Greggy escaping the onslaught. Bellinger did most of the damage from the number five slot, finishing unbeaten on 102, but opener Ireland (49) kept things moving early on. Allan tightened his grip on the slip position with another good catch and also took a steepler at mid off but the visitors regretted spilling their only opportunity to remove Bellinger, a difficult chance to deep mid on.

Another poor batting performance followed, with only Pat (43) showing the necessary application before sagging under the weight of carrying the whole team on his shoulders, yet again. When three wickets fell with the score on 117 and more than twelve overs left it looked like the Badgers were on their way to another drubbing but numbers ten and eleven had other ideas with Darrell (22 no.) hitting his first two balls for four and Chris Byrne (20 no.) also finding the boundary on more than one occasion. The pair held out for the whole of the remaining time and, by adding an unbroken 54 for the tenth wicket, came within a whisker of breaking a club record in the process.

Statistical Notes: The tenth wicket partnership between Darrell and Chris Byrne was just two runs shy of the record for that wicket, and is the second best ever. In both cases it was their highest score for the club, and Darrell tied his lifetime personal best in any form of cricket (which may help to explain why he was still trying to score off the last ball of the game, a factor that seemed to go down well with the opposition skipper, who commented in the bar after the game that we did not shut up shop and play for the draw).

7th June – Woldingham Village: 142 all out   Badgers: 144 for 4

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Summary: Darrell and I set off for this game more in hope than expectation, with heavy rain having fallen overnight and storm clouds all around, but in the end we managed an uninterrupted contest the latter half of which was played in glorious sunshine. The weather spiced the pitch up a little and Mark (3-52) opened with himself and Darrell (7-90) which if nothing else provided the batsmen with opposite ends of the pace spectrum. Both of them bowled very tidily, to the extent that the Skipper never saw fit to change the bowling, and whilst a number of Woldingham batsmen got starts (over half of them reached double figures) only opener Wymer (53) showed the necessary patience. The fielding was much improved, with Paul Little’s diving effort in the gully the one that sticks in my mind, if nothing else for the look on his face. It looked like Woldingham might post another 200 plus score but in their urgency to push the score along they subsided from 103 for 3 to 142 all out with Mark and Graham Ward snaring a couple of catches apiece (to keep the catching cup interesting) and Steve pouching a catch standing up and three stumpings.

Despite having seen the trouble that Darrell caused by taking the pace off the ball on a pitch where the odd delivery misbehaved Woldingham chose to open with two medium pacers (and apparently had chosen their bowling order in advance) and they didn’t seem to work out that the short ball was not a good option, thus giving Steve the scope to unleash the usual array of pull shots and pepper the garden at square leg. A lazy hoick at another long hop ended Steve’s contribution at 43 of the first 58 but number three Richard Ward (47) then steered the ship within sight of victory before his brother (14 no.) and Paul Little (22 no.) finished the job off in style with nearly half of the last twenty still to be bowled.

Statistical Notes: Graham Davenport reached his one thousand runs for the Badgers, after a long wait induced by his shoulder problems. Darrell’s seven for ninety was his best ever return for the Badgers and his twenty-two overs the most by a Badger since Alan Tickner’s monster effort at Blindley Heath in 2004, and the third most since 1988 (when I started keeping full data – I’m afraid that there is no way I’m trawling back through the scorebooks for that one, even for my own progeny). There was also some discussion as to how long it was since the Badgers only used two bowlers for a whole innings, but that just goes to show how memory plays tricks because five of us were involved when Greggy and Mark bowled sixteen overs apiece whilst skittling the opposition for 42 in the rain at Stoke D'Abernnon in 2002. I am quite certain that there would be other instances back when Brian Moore regularly terrorised opponents but there are no other comparable cases in the last twenty-two seasons.

30th May – Leigh: 201 for 8 dec.   Badgers: 125 all out

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Summary: Another gloriously sunny day, with just enough breeze to keep the heat bearable, but not quite the same level of cricket as last week. The Badgers bowling early on was tight, with Allan Butt and first change Guy Walker being especially stingy, but the fielding became a little ragged as the heat of the day took its toll. In fact, after twenty-five overs the scoring rate was less than three an over but Leigh’s middle order provided just enough acceleration to post a formidable total despite Greggy (2-17) putting in an impressive spell as fifth change. Unfortunately our batting was woeful, with only Foxy, Pat and Mark making it into double figures and we never threatened the target before being bowled out with five of the last twenty overs still to be bowled.

Statistical Notes: Greggy made his 150th appearance in this game, and there are a few other significant milestones looming. Ian himself needs another six victims to reach 200 wickets for the club; Mark needs another 66 runs to pass Brian Moore into fourth place all time; and I need another 73 for 6000 (although at the current rate of progress that will take me all season and Mark will get there first – he is 165 behind me and thus needs 238 for 6000).

24th May – Dormansland: 216 for 3 dec.   Badgers: 213 for 6

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Summary: A gloriously sunny day, our longest-standing opponent, a lovely village cricket setting and as close a finish as you could wish for – yes, it was Dormansland time again. The Badgers largest crowd for some time – with the usual Gordon and Ward clans augmented by Dave Tickner & Jackie, Richard & Ann Kemp and Paula Gordon – were treated to an entertaining afternoon’s cricket that started with Allan and Graham Ward opening the bowling and keeping things fairly tight. Unfortunately a lack of detail in the scorebook makes it difficult to be precise about the shape of the home side’s innings, no running totals or fall of wickets were recorded after the first few overs, but only one of their batsmen failed to reach at least 30 and memory tells me that a slow acceleration was the order of the day. All of the Badgers bowlers came in for stick, with Darrell especially harshly treated by Nick Hellier (78 no.) despite numerous ‘swings and misses’, but Chris Byrne turned in another long spell for no reward, and his figures would have been very impressive if the Skipper had taken him off one over earlier, at which point he’d conceded just 36 from 13 overs. Dormansland finally posted a tough target, having made 216 for 3 from 47 overs, but the highlight of their innings from our perspective was a diving catch by Allan Butt to provide Darrell with his only wicket.

The Badgers innings started steadily, with Ben opening the batting for the first time and slowly coming to terms with what was required. The last twenty started with 145 more runs still required, but all ten wickets intact. Ben fell for 23 in the first over of the last twenty and Mark departed for 52 two overs later, but Patrick and Graham Ward turned the game on its head. The run rate had reached almost ten an over, with 114 needed from 12, but they kept up with that rate for seven overs and when Graham (21) became the third victim for Stuart Hellier (who bowled unchanged from one end) Ian Gregg provided sufficient support for the Badgers hopes to remain high. The final over started with twelve required for an improbable victory but Pat was run out off the first ball and it was left to Greggy and Paul Wilson to be the heroes. They came so close to doing so, with Ian clumping a four from the penultimate ball but failing to repeat the feat off the last delivery, with the single taken leaving the visitors four runs shy of the win. However, it was a most enjoyable afternoon, with an exciting game of cricket played in the right spirit, and if every game was this much fun I for one would settle for a drawn game every week.

Statistical Notes: No major individual milestones this week, but for the anal-retentive amongst us, there was some discussion about what the result would have been if Greggy had hit a four from the final delivery to leave the total number of runs scored the same, and a little research confirms that the game would still be considered a draw. For it to be a tie the innings of the side batting last has to be completed, and thus in a timed game they have to lose all of their wickets. There have been three such ties in Badgers’ history, with all three occurring in just over a calendar year, and the first of those (against Stockwell Athletic on 2nd July 1977) looks dodgy by this definition – because the Badgers batted first and Stockwell only lost eight wickets – but a quick check of the scorebook shows that they only had nine men.

10th May – Sutton II: 239 for 6 dec.   Badgers: 165 all out

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[A full match report might appear here in due course, although no one volunteered to document this debacle – probably for fear of posting something libellous about the umpiring]

Summary: After last year’s solid nine wicket win, the Badgers were given the chance to play on the main ground at Cheam Road, and made a lousy fist of it, both in the field and at bat. Fielding first, at the opposition’s request, the bowling was put to the sword from the get-go, with Greggy being a notable exception until an expensive last couple of overs spoilt his figures. Despite playing on one of the best outfields we will see all year, the fielding was fairly ragged all the way through the innings and the batsmen generally received full value for their shots. The first three change bowlers were all a little wild – Rako, Ben and Chris Turner all sent down a wide for their first delivery – and altogether we gifted Sutton 21 wides and 3 no balls (all for height). It was the fourth wicket partnership between Bosher (67) and Edwards (44) that did the most damage, taking the home side from 104 to 201 in just eighteen overs. Mark broke that pairing when returning to the attack in his leg-spinning guise and Chris Byrne eventually saw some reward from a tidy spell when Bosher assayed one excursion too many down the wicket and was stumped. Sutton closed their innings on 239 for 6 from 46 overs leaving the visitors a challenging target even on such a good wicket.

The reply got off to a quick-fire start, but the opening pair were soon back in the hutch, with Steve bowled off his pads after being lucky to survive the first over – the only ball that seriously misbehaved all day, leaping to shoulder height from just short of a length, having been poked to point who kindly spurned the chance – and Rako getting the first of two highly questionable leg before decisions, struck above the pads on his hip and given out after the home side appealed for a caught behind. The third wicket pair were pushing things along nicely, with Richard (41) continuing his form of the first week and Pat (19) looking especially comfortable, before their partnership was terminated at 44 when Pat was on the receiving end of the second dodgy LBW, attempting to sweep the young leg spinner Patel after taking a long stride down the wicket. Thereafter the scoring rate slowed from the initial six an over and the middle order seemed a little daunted by the size of the total being chased. Richard gave Patel (3-29) a third victim when he failed to clear deep mid off and this brought Foxy to the wicket to join Mark. They were just starting to push things along again, the last twenty having just started with 133 needed, when Foxy nicked one to the keeper leaving Mark in the not unfamiliar position of needing to shepherd the tail to an improbable victory. Not for the first time he made a decent fist of it, but support at the other end came and went too quickly and whilst a 37 run tenth wicket stand livened things up a little, the inevitable came when last man Chris Turner was bowled off various bits of his equipment leaving the Skipper stranded on 47.

Statistical Notes: Rakesh joined the ranks of the ‘elite’ this week, with his overs in this game being enough to take him past the qualification level for the lifetime bowling averages. This event was celebrated in style at Rako Mansions after the game (although we didn’t know about it at the time!?) where we were royally entertained and extremely well fed by the Dawar clan, and our thanks to them for their hospitality.

3rd May – Broadbridge Heath: 198 all out   Badgers: 175 for 7

View the scorecard of this game

Summary: This game will probably be remembered more for the vagaries of the pitch than anything else, but there were several notable individual performances and it only tapered out to a tame draw in the final couple of overs. The Chairman and Greggy kept things tight early on, with Allan scooping up the top three – including a fine diving catch from Richard – but Ian remained as luckless as ever despite bending the ball around corners on occasion. The Broadbridge total was anchored by Daniel Smith (75), who became more assured and effective as the innings wore on, and made the visitors task that much more difficult by sharing a 56 run ninth wicket partnership with Nadeem (26). Guy Walker (3-38) did a tidy job, bowling the last nine and a half overs from one end, and eventually closing the innings by getting Smith to chip Mark his fourth catch of the innings, only one of which could have been classed as anything more than a dolly.

The Badgers innings got off to a shaky start, with Steve running out of gas taking a tight second run and Richard feathering one to the keeper (via his stumps, and thus correctly registered in the scorebook as bowled) but Wardy and Pat steadied the ship and gradually started to provide some impetus to the innings. The last twenty started with a requirement of nearly six an over and the visitor’s cause wasn’t helped by the departure of Graham for 40. Pat continued on his merry way, although there was some grumbling from both him and Mark about the home side’s somewhat overenthusiastic approach, with the bowlers being encouraged to inflict damage on the batsmen rather than the stumps. The halfway point of the twenty was reached with 82 still needed, but the pair started to up the pace and a famous win began to look like a possibility. Unfortunately Mark skied to deep mid off and the prospects of victory evaporated when a mix up with Guy, who poked a catch to the same fielder which was dropped, resulted in Pat being run out for what turned out to be 86. Guy and Allan kept the home side interested by continuing to go for the win until the final over started with 24 more required when they shut up shop and settled for the draw, which was a fair enough result.

Statistical Notes: My apologies to Graham Ward, but in trying to sort out a scorebook that didn’t add up, I recreated the whole innings over by over and discovered that he had been given one too many runs (and that Chris had been correct in announcing Pat’s fifty, even though there were only 49 runs recorded against him at that point, and thus Pat had scored 86 not 85). I also found a leg bye that had not been recorded against the fielding extras, but the other run appeared to have been conjured from thin air, so I have revised the final total down by one (although the opposition’s scorebook was even worse and their score could have been anything from the 193 that the batting totals added up to, through the 197 from totalling the bowling, to the 198 that they laid claim to via the running tally).

On a more positive note, the game was possibly my 400th for the club. The doubt arises mainly from the lack of a scorebook for the 1981 season, since I’ve been back over the pre-1988 scorebooks to confirm how many games I played in but did not get a bat, although there are also a handful of games during that period (and indeed earlier) where the full eleven is not known because only those that actually batted are recorded in the book. What can be said is that I’ve definitely now played at least 400 games for the club, with only Alan and Dave Tickner having recorded more (although Roy might also come close were I to spend the extra hours to dig through the 26 seasons for which the games played details for him are incomplete).

26th April – Beechwood: 164 for 7 dec.   Badgers: 165 for 3

View the scorecard of this game

[A full match report should appear here in due course, especially since Pat made copious notes in the pub garden on Sunday evening, but for the time being this short summary will have to suffice]

Summary: A most beautiful sunny day – the sky became bluer and more cloudless as the day drew on – in a decidedly picturesque setting, was iced by a comfortable win for the Badgers in their season opener. The bowling was less rusty than the fielding with Greggy, as stingy as ever, helping to restrict the home side to just two an over during the first third of their innings. Opener Warner (44) slowly started to get on top of the bowling, until inexplicably attempting to pull a ball from Mark that wasn’t short enough, and thereafter only Hill (47) showed the necessary combination of patience and aggression to trouble the bowlers. Ben bowled a tidy spell, after overcoming early jitters, and eventually castled Hill when he attempted an uncharacteristic hoick across the line. Mark (4-37) had been plugging away at the other end and finally reaped some rewards for his hard work, but only after cutting his run up in half to avoid a drain cover that had been bugging him. Beechwood closed on 164 for 7 which was a decent enough effort but looked about twenty runs shy on a blameless pitch with a short boundary on one side.

The Badgers innings got off to two different starts, with Garnett keeping things tight at one end whilst his younger counterpart dished up too many loose balls at the other end. Steve (26) feasted on those offerings before being undone by the introduction of leg spinner Savory and it then fell to Graham Ward (28) to keep his brother Richard company. Both played sensibly and kept the scoreboard ticking along nicely, such that the last twenty overs started with 93 required and by the time Graham tamely chipped one back to the bowler the partnership had grown to 61 and the requirement was down to 64 from 14 overs. Graham’s dismissal brought Pat to the wicket and after a circumspect start (including a maiden over from the leggie where the first five balls were hit unerringly to a fielder, all along the ground of course, and the sixth looked like being a wide but revealed itself on pitching to be the googly) he and Richard accelerated towards the target. Richard was kicking himself for toe-ending a drive with victory just nine runs away and five overs still left to get them, but his 67 was instrumental in the Badgers successful chase and it did give Savory just reward for a decent thirteen over spell that could quite easily have brought him four or five wickets if only his fielders had been able to hang on to the chances created. Pat, who finished on 36 not out, then steered the ship to the necessary total with more than two overs to spare to cap a winning start to the season in a game that epitomised friendly cricket.

(You might also care to check out Beechwood’s page on the match which features a more comprehensive report along with scans of the scorebook pages)