Badgers Cricket Club – Season 2010 Match Reports


This page holds the match reports for all games played during the 2010 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.

25th September – Merrow: 144 all out   Badgers: 132 all out

View the scorecard of this game

[This report courtesy of Andy Iwanoczko]

Frankly, we were all pleased just to be playing after about a thousand millimetres of rain fell in the previous 48 hours. After Merrow put 50 on us in the first five or six overs last year, the Badgers knew that a tight fielding unit was required. And after a cracking effort last week vs. Ockley, confidence was high.

Bacon opened the bowling running down the slope whilst the Old Cart Horse trudged his way up it from the northern end. Bacon bowled well picking up an early wicket thanks to a left handed lunge from the Skip at shortish cover (is that a position name?) Tight as ever nabbing a couple of maidens, Bacon was unfortunate to pick up a hamstring strain and had to take a blow early.

Testament to his commitment this season, the Cart Horse was finding ever increasing consistency with his line and length, and picked up a wicket too off a straightforward catch from Blow-in at mid-off. The odd loose one on the treacle based wicket was spanked, but foot-tall grass in the outfield saw very few going past the rope. There was some iffy running, but Merrow were getting away with their chancy behaviour.

Trevs, called into action early with Gammy Hammy taking up full time residence in the slips, went for a few early, but after shortening his run-up was again sticking the yorkers in one after the other. He then inadvertently bounced the left hander who handed a straightforward catch to Warnie at fine leg. With the bowling prize hotly contested, and this the final game to make any inroads, I tried to later stake claim to this wicket – sorry Trevs – honest mistake.

After a top-draw performance with the ball last week, Rossi was given another opportunity. Every ball was tense with batsmen playing and missing – and only by fractions. Every delivery was different – the batsmen really didn’t know what to expect – even the bowler said he didn’t know what he was about to deliver… No harm Rossi, keep the mystery balls coming. Early caught and bowled and Badgers were chipping through a Merrow side still glassy-eyed from a heavy session the night previous.

Young Daniel turned the arm over and with no direct success today, but some nimble fielding from Skip coupled with decisive keeping during the spell finally saw a run-out that was always on the cards.

Skip then decided upon an All-Aussie bowling attack with Blow-in and I. Merrow seemed a little displeased with the pace of Blow-in despite the slow wicket and a three step run up, but the slingshot did the damage, removing the bail from the off stump after a series of close calls. First ball of next over saw another poor run closed down by Cart Horse, who whipped it in to the bowler’s end, and the bails were off – run out – second for the day. Following ball, yours truly picked up his second LBW in as many matches at Merrow to secure a team hat-trick… Well done Badgers. With the fielders in close for what might be described as a quasi-personal hat trick, the bowler gagged and bowled a wide. Andy the Choker. Blow-in did the damage and finished things off getting the tenth man out with a dismissal not dissimilar to his prior… Merrow all out for 144.

Chilli-con-carne had everyone commenting on my potato, mince and cheese mountain – fully loaded… I didn’t see what all the fuss was about, no one went hungry, least of all me. Terrific lunch – thanks Merrow.

Skip gave the opening of the batting to Warnie and I. Surprised by this, I sprung to life having seconds earlier been slumped in my chair after my generous helping. Warnie played some good shots, but dabbling just outside of off finally saw him edge one to first slip. Pittsey came in and was striking the ball well. Unfortunately he couldn’t put a serious set of runs on the board and holed out. I plodded along, just happy to be out there to face more than three deliveries. With Scratchy in, we were both picking up ones and two, he with strokes, I with largely one sided/across the line hitting. At one point, there were eight fielders on the on side and I still couldn’t manage to play anything on the off… January nets a must. Eventually with 29 to my name (my Badgers high score) and about 80 on the board, the off stump was removed and I was back to the pavilion – chuffed with my personal performance.

Cart Horse was in and out again before I managed to get to the dressing room. Trevs was in thereafter, and managed to grab an ASDA-carrier-bag full of runs, before the weight of the contents had the arse fall out of it.

The Scratchy and Skip combo, typically characterised by free flowing hitting and quick run accumulation, was not on song today. The Merrow bowlers, perhaps with the aid of the sticky wicket, had these two swinging and missing at anything loose. All of a sudden they were both gone within a few deliveries and Badgers, looking good for the win, were suddenly on the back foot.

Rossi, not able to capture the batting form of a few weeks previous, turned around quickly, leaving Blow-in and Danny to try to finish things off. Merrow sensing a kill, brought the field in close and removed Danny after his having resolutely defended a half dozen or so deliveries.

With Gammy at the crease for the final wicket partnership, there were not going to be any quick singles today. And relying on shots with enough momentum to cut the grass as they went, boundaries were few. In the end, with three overs to go and about 14 runs required, Gammy was skittled with one that kept low, and Merrow had the win that seemed unlikely half an hour earlier.

Ultimately a great performance from everyone today. Great fielding from Scratchy and Rossi. Pittsey was great behind the woodwork. A spread of wickets from most of the bowlers. A couple of runouts. Good job despite the end result.

And from me personally, thanks Badgers for a great season and having me part of the team. It is a terrific pleasure to turn out for the Black Caps. Looking forward to the dinner and drinks in November…

Statistical Notes: Mark extended his total runs record in official matches by a handful, but not by enough to eclipse Darren’s record in all games in 1993 (687). He also snared his 300th outfield catch for the club, in just his 349th game, a rate of 0.86 per game, which is far and away better than anyone else, unless you include wicket-keeper dismissals too, in which case his father Roy comes out a little better, but then he had the advantage of keeping to Brian Moore for all those years :)

This was very much a team performance, with no individuals shining, but there is no doubt that Mark has been the leading light of this season despite a sterling contribution with the bat by Patrick, Allan’s evergreen legs which saw him bowl more overs than anyone else and Andy’s development as a bowler to the extent that he took most wickets. Special mention to Ben who continues to grow in all departments, with this season seeing him make his first fifty, take his first five-fer and stake his claim to the fielding cup too.

19th September – Ockley: 95 all out   Badgers: 98 for 3

View the scorecard of this game

[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

A clear but slightly chilly day awaited the Badgers as they arrived at Ockley, a scene of some low scoring affairs in recent years. This image was not altered when seeing the scoreboard showing a score of 90 for 9, presumably from the last match played there.

The Skipper *won/lost toss etc (sorry Graham, I can’t help as I wasn’t there and the scorebook does not record who the successful tosser was) and Daniel was on hand to sub. field whilst the Black Caps entered the field short of the debutant, Greg, who was running a little late.

Allan continued his fine stoic form with the ball this season, while Rob offered solid support up the other end. Only a few blows from Belfrage kept the scoreboard ticking over and after around 16 overs, Ockley were 51 for none; a good, solid start by the home side, but certainly not out of control. The Skipper, with a myriad of bowling options to choose from, went for the rarely seen bowling from Valentino. He was joined in the attack by the new lad, 16 year old Greg, an off-spinner completely unseen by Badger eyes prior to this match. The heads of the scouts and selectors were on the line…

Bowling to the left hander, the first ball, a trifle short, was patted back to the bowler. “Probably just a loosener” thought the sages in the field. Second ball, pitches on leg, and rips past the left-hander’s outside edge – unplayable. Hello? From there Greg completed a tidy over. Following this Ben started cranking things up from the other end, and an edge was duly induced with Rob taking it nicely at slip. The next over saw one of the great pieces of vice-captaincy. Noting the amount of turn and occasional bounce on offer, the Skipper was posted into the unusual position of leg slip/gully to the right hander. And there it is, the ball pops off the bat and Mark takes a pearler diving to his left – great hustle Black Caps. Buoyed by this success, eight Badger fielders reclined in their metaphorical armchairs, as Ben and Greg shared out the wickets between them like two school-kids sharing a packet of Fruit Pastilles. Ben occasionally providing the Feng-Shui deliveries (one that re-arranges the furniture) and Greg now adding the leg-spinner and quicker ball to his repertoire, all delivered with fine accuracy. And lest this reporter forget the fine support in the field, no dropped catches, just excellent ones taken by Messrs. Knew, Gordon, Gregg and Valentine. Even the sight of one Ockley batsman entering the fray with a Mongoose (new style of bat) didn’t deter the lads and the job was done. Ockley had been rumbled out for 95. Ben finished with 5 for 27, Greg 5 for 14 on dayboo.

The Badgers reply was led by Graham and Chris Byrne. Graham survived an early appeal for caught behind, and whilst the toys didn’t come out of the pram, there was certainly a bit of rattle. Chris was bowled by a good delivery, but the Skipper was on hand to steady the ship as the second wicket put on around 30 before Graham was yorked. Greggy’s stay was a little brief but Rob joined the captain and set about giving Mark as much strike as possible. Mark took full advantage as he swiped the Ockley bowling to all parts of the picturesque ground, in the process bringing up six number 22 of the season. The two of them got the Badgers over the line, Mark finishing with a remarkable 71 out of the score of 98 and, subject to confirmation, breaking the club record of runs in a season.

The Badgers’ run of five draws was brought to an end, and in true positive Badgers style the sequence re-labelled as six matches without defeat. The players reflected on their performance on the Ockley veranda, while the ubiquitous Daniel took on the role of barman, though his stingy measures of Speckled Hen were noted. So, on to Merrow for the final match of the season…

Statistical Notes: Mark’s score not only took him past Darren Hanley’s 1993 record of 628 runs in a season, in one fewer innings than Darren required, but it also bested the 71.3% of the team score that he managed at Seven Sports, 71 being 72.4% of the total of 98.

You wait all season for a five-fer and then two come along in the same game!! Whilst this was obviously Greg’s first five wicket haul for the Badgers it was also Ben’s best bowling figures, beating by some distance his previous zenith of 2 for 16 (against the same opponents in 2008).

Graham mentions a six game unbeaten streak in his report but, whilst five draws on the bounce are rare as rocking horse droppings, a mere six games undefeated has happened ten times before and there are 21 longer streaks, including a coincidental longest run of 21 games (featuring two that didn’t count towards the averages, so we might consider 19 games to be the official record) from June 1991 to July 1992.

12th September – Headley: 211 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 183 for 8

View the scorecard of this game

[This report courtesy of Andy Iwanoczko]

The Lemon Sorbet

The Headley fixture is the one, it is said, to avoid if you want to maintain your bowling averages… it was good then to see a full turn-out, less of course Guy, who upon seeing his name at twelfth man decided to abscond… replaced this week by Blow-in-Bill, son-in-law to Trevor Chappell.

Headley aimed to put runs on the board first, but the opening pairing was partially dismantled early, off varied bowling from Roberto and a sterling catch from Trevor, who frankly seems to save his best catches for late in the season.

There followed a long stretch of flowing fours and sixes from the Headley numbers one and three. When the next wicket tumbled, there were 103 on the board (Yet again Andy seems to have compressed time, with the second wicket falling at 71, the third at 109 and the number four looking like he was going to cause considerable damage too – pedantic Ed.) This dismissal unearthed possibly the best Badger spell of the season however, and over the course of the next few overs, five wickets fell for a meagre three runs: Trevor getting four of these!! The batsman Pickering will be absolutely filthy with his run-out dismissal, especially with his teammate umpiring rather out of position to be making such a tight call.

In this window however, yours truly managed to spill a couple, the second of which was so shocking, had it not been for the match reporting, Skip would almost certainly be asking for the Badger shirt and baggy black cap returned. I am hoping the jug bought post-match will help as a selection adhesive for subsequent fixtures… In the interim I shall be referred to as Numbers, for simply making up the eleven. Meanwhile, AWOL is seething.

Thinking we might be doing something unprecedented, or at least unusual, by bowling a team out for sub-150, the seventh wicket pair managed to amass a 90-odd run partnership, thereby dispelling the dream. Eventually Headley finished with 211 and nine down.

Tea came and went, and The Flower Pot Men got things started for the Badgers. Rossi went leg before, but in truth believes it was bat before leg before… Not my umpiring this time. Scratchy joined Blow-in and runs came. Late on in that aforementioned partnership, Trevor, next in I might add, was caught getting a bit of shut-eye under the awning… Rossi’s quick quip, “He looks like an old alcoholic sitting in front of a saloon bar” was firm, direct, very un-English… but remarkably apt…

Blow-in holed out down the ground after a decent start and an early snick that was caught. The big man didn’t walk, and the umpire’s crocked finger remained warmly in the pocket. Blow-in was later accosted by fellow Badgers for bad sportsmanship and sweeping generalisations about the Australian nation as a whole ensued… I personally have my nose out of joint…

Scratchy got a 50 with shots early but to remain true to title, secured nine consecutive singles late on. Shane came to the crease and punched out a quick 30-odd before coming a cropper. Skip played and went as did Trevs. To be honest it felt like a good spread of runs amongst the Badger side including Roberto, Mr 118 and Foxy. In the end Badgers fell short by about 25 and Headley were only able to remove eight of us, despite a fair few increasingly desperate appeals over the closing overs.

Lemon sorbet: a delicious dessert enjoyed outside on a sunny and warm day, with a sharp twist that you either love or hate.

Standouts for me were:

Statistical Notes: This was the fifth drawn game on the trot which is a Badgers record, of sorts. The previous longest run of purely drawn games was back in May and June 1992, with the final game of the streak of four, at Lingfield, being unusual for the fact that both teams had identical scores of 151 for 6, the only time that has happened outside of tied games. Having said that, there has been a previous run of five games that weren’t wins or losses, back in July 1977, when a run of three drawn games were bracketed by two of the three ties in Badgers’ history.

A late wicket for the Skipper took his lifetime tally for the Badgers to 299, something that I suspect I’m going to get it in the neck for not flagging up, since he failed to bring himself into the attack in either of the next two games and thus remains on that figure for the duration of the off-season.

5th September – Alleyn Adhoc: 202 for 6 dec.   Badgers: 144 for 8

View the scorecard of this game

[This report courtesy of Andy Iwanoczko]

I dare say that this could well be the best ever draw for the Badgers. In all my illustrious years playing [1 Circa 2008 and 2009 for Badgers], I have certainly never been involved in a match that was so close to being over before tea. And I am not talking about the ‘over’ that is commonly thrown around when an oppo score on the board seems unattainable when coupled with a weak batting line up on paper. I am talking the kind of over that is: get in the shower; have a little weep; pack you kit bag; and start the two hour drive home, kind of over…

This is a Badger team heavily supported by Jake, Daniel and the new recruit Amy, whose combined age is less than any other player in the Badgers line-up – bar Daz Ultra Liquid. The batting team, wishing to exploit this inexperience, ran all three around the park.

The Adhoc openers put on a decent partnership before Two-out-of-three-Chappell-Brothers managed the breakthrough with an LBW that Pittsey said he would not have given – surprise surprise… Chappelli then got a bit of a pasting from a fella called Walkabout who found himself trotting down to the non-strikers’ end on half the balls he faced. After racking up a quick score, he was finally removed with an untidy but effective wide-stumping from the Chappelli-Pitts combo. Trevor ended up with 3 for 47 after about eight or so. [2 No underarms bowled]

Jake picked up a couple, the second of which was a much tidier stumping from the WC[3 Water Closet], and ended 2 for 40. Another wicket from someone else has simply escaped me (Mark will be pleased to have his castling of one of the openers so easily disregarded, I’m sure –completist Ed.) Please check the website in March 2012 to find out who picked up the mystery wicket… A total of 202 with the loss of 6 was put on the board when the oppo declared… and tea wasn’t quite ready.

Put into bat, I was asked to open by Skip, and after being named at eleven at Reigate a few weeks back, when at that time neither seven, eight, nine or ten were selected, I was not going to pass up an opportunity to make a fourth consecutive duck early in the afternoon… Curiously, such was the malodorous [4 It might be said that this is an inappropriate usage of the word in this context… I would ask those present to recall the stink of the first three or four overs…] batting display made by the Badger top order, my three today was the second highest score when the top five were back having that little weep. Not one single custard cream had passed the lips when the Badgers were down at 6 for 25. Cripes!

The scotch eggs somehow seemed to stabilise things though and the Skip / Daz Ultra Liquid partnership was historic in that it saw the Liquid form of a quality detergent amass a new Badger high score of 25 runs. Playing a combination of solid strokes, sweeps and touches, most of the runs still clocked up in the form of singles… Be that as it may, it was a quality knock that, with Skip scoring relatively freely at the other end, put up a seventh wicket partnership of 80-odd. Darrell left and Jake entered with eight or so overs to go…

In a sterling display, young Jake facing a fair share of the remaining 40-odd deliveries, stood his ground resolutely, played a few strokes and even racked up what might be his first Badger four??!! That partnership was for 30-odd runs and it meant that we whittled the overs down and with 2 wickets in the bag… Skip picked up a very solid unbeaten 77 and Jake six not out.

Not dissimilar to last week, Adhoc will be absolutely filthy with not getting a result here. Standout today was Amy for her exemplary fielding, Jake for his all round performance and Skip for a Skipper’s knock… Dawn, fancy an outing next week??


  1. ^  Circa 2008 and 2009 for Badgers
  2. ^  No underarms bowled
  3. ^  Water Closet
  4. ^  It might be said that this is an inappropriate usage of the word in this context… I would ask those present to recall the stink of the first three or four overs…

Statistical Notes: A number of items to take account of in this one, with Darrell recording his highest ever score and three generations of Ward taking the field at the same time, as Ray made his debut and joined Graham and Daniel in the same team. Contrary to Andy’s comment above – I think he must have forgotten Graham Ward being dismissed after tea – Mark and Darrell added 83 for the eighth wicket which is a record for that wicket, passing the 67 that Simon Fox and Allan Butt compiled on tour at Milton in 2004.

When piecing together the details for this game I looked at the fall of wickets and thought to myself “that must be the lowest score for seven wickets down in some time” but how short my memory turns out to be. In fact the 25 for 7 in this game is one run better than we managed for the same number of wickets at Ham & Petersham just six weeks before. However, I didn’t pick up on that fact at the time, which is sloppy because the previous worst that I have on record was 31 for 7 against Dormansland back in May 1997 (on our way to 51 all out), so the Ham game was a record of sorts, whilst this one was simply the second worst since the beginning of 1988.

I do not have the data to confirm how many other examples there were before 1988 but I can say that even 24 for 7 is not the worst of all time, perhaps unsurprisingly given that we have been bowled out for less than 30 on six occasions. The first such example was against Norwood Wanderers in May 1960 when the Badgers were 20 for 7 on their way to 27 all out and the same opposition repeated the dose just two months later when we were 15 for 7 (and 8) before dismissal for 28, an improvement at least!? Amazingly there are two even lower scores, with the first of those occurring between the two Norwood games, in July 1960 against Waddon Park when our final score was just 26, the lowest ever. On the way to that nadir we were 13 for 7 and 14 for 8, both of which are the lowest totals I’ve been able to find for the respective wickets. Finally we have a game from May 1966, against St. Johns (Shirley) when 16 for 7 (and 8) begat 18 for 9 before a minor rally reached the relative prosperity of 27 to at least avoid the ignominy of the lowest total.

29th August – Badgers: 144 for 9 dec.   Blindley Heath: 135 for 8

View the scorecard of this game

[This report courtesy of Andy Iwanoczko]

Such is his dour disposition towards batting first, the match had barely started before Skip was questioning how the players of Test Matches can at all be bothered. And the start was certainly not what Badger fans had come to see. Reaching one after the first over, the run rate stayed below one per over until the 18th over. In that time however BH were able to have three of our finest back in the pavilion – Bl00dy Hell indeed.

Scratchy, who it must be said did plenty of scratching in the first 18, opened the shoulder blades and all of a sudden the runs came. Quick to reach 50 from that point and eventually joined by the Skip, who also decided to score from the off with a level of panache.

Before you knew it, Badgers had reached triple figures – can someone politely let Foxy know that “triple figures” does not mean “3”? But then the umbrellas were up, and there was again talk of Duckworth-Lewis – does anyone know how to calculate it? Not required today however. Early teas, an agreed declaration twenty minutes after play resumed, and everyone was happy. Despite swift departures from Scratch & Skip after cake, Badgers amassed thirty odd runs in those twenty minutes, thanks largely to Bacon Butty, Warnie and the Tree Hugger. Blindley Heath were set 144 to chase.

In the ten minute turnaround, the wind died off, the sun came out and it was like a different day. A mix of pace from Sahil and parabolas from DazUltra had the batsmen scoring only slightly better than the Badgers in the first 15 or so overs. Sahil ended his ten over spell with a wicket that rattled the skittles and seven runs conceded – question marks over his economy rate. DazUltra, whilst not picking up wickets, managed to indirectly contribute to two run outs attributed to the Skip and was unlucky not to have a catch at Gully (Foxy) from good old Left-Handed-Nine-Lives.

LHNL managed then to amass 50 with further drops from yours truly and Skip. The Heath were resolute if not scoring freely and following Sahil’s ineffectual Superman dive to save four and a collision between Warnie and the Hugger that only narrowly avoiding a dribble over the boundary, the score was 100 for 3 with about ten overs to go.

With Bacon Butty solid at the Pavilion End, there were several changes at the River End to try to make something of what was looking like a comfortable BH victory. Warnie and Skip had a crack with less rather than more success. Finally LHNL was removed caught and bowled after a C&B chance was dropped by yours truly on the prior ball – third time lucky eh?

Badgers again had a spring in their step. Bacon Butty picked up three, and Andy a second, and due to BH being a man down, it was nine out / all out. BH needed 14 to win and in the final over, Andy was not able to finish the job on the day. Drawn fixture.

The Heath will probably be dirty about the draw, and Badgers pleased that despite the dropped catches and slow scoring, we nearly had a result in our favour…

Statistical Notes: This is the first time in over seven years that a Badgers’ bowler has sent down ten or more overs with an economy rate below one, a very tidy spell of bowling from young Sahil. Mark is now just two shy of his 300 outfield catches whilst Allan needs another 27 runs to reach 2000 lifetime.

22nd August – RS Casuals: 176 for 6 dec.   Badgers: 125 for 8

View the scorecard of this game

Summary: A new fixture this week, played at Cheam Sports Club, which turned out to be a good job because the only other place I can think of that has covers would be Reigate Priory, and whilst the back pitch at Cheam doesn’t have anything as fancy the two large plastic sheets were all that stood between us and a total washout. The weather looked decidedly dodgy at kick off, but in the unfamiliar role of captain for the day I was able to persuade the home team to go for a timed game rather than overs, despite a couple of bad experiences with the format in their short existence – hopefully this game will have persuaded them of the positives.

[Due to a lack of inspiration this report is not complete and may never be]

Statistical Notes: A couple of geeky ones for you this week, as Ben became the first Badger since Jeremy Clayton at Blindley Heath in August 1988 to be out hit wicket and this was the first game that Mark had missed since Blindley Heath at the end of August 2008 – a streak of 37 games which turns out to be a record by a single game, beating my 36 consecutive games between September 2007 and August 2009.

8th August – Reigate Cavaliers: 241 for 6 dec.   Badgers: 168 for 9

[This report courtesy of Rob Knew]

Rob and Allan opened the bowling to find two young opening batsmen in a serious hurry! With luck on their side, a very fast outfield and a quite ridiculous boundary on the football pavilion side, Allan was later heard to say that in his many years playing cricket he couldn’t ever remember being hit for five before!

With the runs quickly mounting, Rob and Allan were soon replaced by Ian and the Skipper who were also given the same treatment. With both batsmen reaching their half-century and quickly approaching the 150 mark, Graham and Andy were the next change of bowling and they were to have the desired effect.

Suddenly the chances came and the catches stuck, including a corker from Steve behind the stumps standing up to Graham (and an even better stumping to get rid of top scorer, and centurion from last season, Matt Denchfield off a pearler from Wardy that turned past both the bat and leg stump – self-aggrandising Ed.). Within the space of a few overs, Reigate were suddenly down six wickets and luck, it seemed, was now with the suave, sophisticated Badgers. However, batsmen seven and eight, had the look of first team players and also happened to have it stitched onto their shirts!

Darrell and Guy saw out the rest of their overs, keeping it as tight as they could, considering ‘the ginger one’ could hit the fence on the opposite side of the drive on the aforementioned football pavilion boundary.

Reigate finished with 243 for six and Andy and Graham were the pick of the bowling, with three a piece (… I think. Apologies if I’m wrong. After being asked on Sunday evening to do my first match report, I forgot to glance at the scorebook before I left. Schoolboy error, I know.)

After the dizzy heights of Valley End and Windsor (couple of self-abusers in the side, but their ladies made a good tea), I’m afraid I can only award a very average five to Reigate. And it was made to look even more average thanks to the ruddy great big chocolate cake Dawn had brought along to celebrate the Skipper’s birthday!

Steve and Graham opened the batting, seeing off some quick and accurate bowling before Steve fell for about 18 … I think (memory not so accurate with this one Rob, I made 13 and Wardy the 18 – Statistical Ed.). Patrick battled to play himself in before his wicket fell and neither the wise old head of Allan or the youth and enthusiasm of Ben were able to keep their wicket for long. And by this time Graham, who was looking good, had failed to get hold of one properly and popped it straight to mid-off.

The Skipper, who had only recently come to the crease, soon had to witness Rob, who continues to show his inability to spot the bad ball, take a swing at a good full-length delivery only to hear the clatter of stumps and bails pinging into the air.

Next up was Guy who hadn’t had the best of times with the bat the previous weekend at Windsor. But soon the runs began to come with some cracking strokes being played and some big hits from the Skipper. Could the Badgers actually pull this off?

No! Eventually the Skip didn’t get hold of one properly, getting caught in the deep … I think. I heard him say, and I quote, ‘well I was never going to defend for four overs!’. But he did get a 69 on his birthday! Guy continued to bat on well for his 34 not out, but neither Darrell nor Ian were able to keep out the Reigate opening bowler, leaving Andy to come in at eleven (at his own request) during the last over, Badgers running up short by about 80 runs for a losing draw …… I think.

Statistical Notes: Mark, having started the day just seven runs behind Steve in the lifetime run scoring charts cantered past into third place on the list. Whilst it is always possible for the positions to reverse themselves again, this seems pretty unlikely given recent form!? Mark’s next target – Dave Tickner with 7,950 – is a good way off so this one is likely to go quiet for a while, at least until Mark crests the 7,000 run plateau (possibly some time next season).

The partnership of 89 between Mark and Guy was the third best seventh wicket partnership of all time, just eight runs shy of the second oldest record in the books, a 97 run effort between Alan Tickner and Jimmy Burke dating back to 1974.

1st August – Windsor Great Park: 239 for 3   Badgers: 161 all out

View the scorecard of this game

[This report courtesy of Mark Gordon]

For some reason I volunteered to do a match report this week. I think it was out of frustration for my own performance, the result and my view that WGPCC should not bother playing Sunday friendly cricket.

The day did not start well as the whole team, other than Alan, were late – stuck on the M25. The oppo wanted a forty over game, however I won the toss and elected to field. We knew in advance that the oppo were the sort of team who just wanted to score a large amount of runs, putting the game past any contest before tea.

Sahil and Rob opened the bowling and kept good control but WGP got to 62 without loss. It seemed that everything we chased to the long boundaries would speed up just as we caught the ball up, how annoying. Sahil bowled through his eight overs and claimed the only maiden of the innings. The change of bowling got our first wicket as Greggy took a great catch at mid off, off the bowling of Wardy. It seems an appropriate moment to mention that the other Ward was doing a great job behind the stumps. The next change of bowling saw Allan claiming a wicket with his first ball – a caught and bowled to which the batsmen did not want to walk. Foxy asked if he wanted a referral, which Wardy thought was a little harsh, but if we’d known that the 18 year old league player was a complete dipstick I think the send off would have been a little better (obviously not in the Badger spirit).

The rest of the afternoon was spent chasing the ball as the number four made 101 before being run out trying to give as many balls as possible to the opener, who was also tracking down his ton. Sadly he was left on 99 as tea was due. 249 for 3 was the final score and WGP were disappointed with that – two weeks before they had made 372 for 1 off 40 overs and bowled the oppo out for 80. What fun!? The dipstick who Alan got out for nought made 201 of that score.

Tea was OK but not good enough to keep the fixture.

As we took the field to bat we were going to find out why none of us like 18 year old league players who don’t know the difference between a Saturday and Sunday, and he was keeping wicket. We did not do ourselves any favours in the run chase. Foxy ran himself out to some sharp work behind the stumps. Wardy then got stumped – more sharp work behind the stumps and a great umpiring decision from Greggy. The Skipper then got run out by Scratchy. Pat could not have been watching the Skipper struggling in the field with a bad back as he firmly hit a ball straight to mid off and the Skipper was not even in the frame. Certain items were thrown about as the Skipper walked off, and I believe it’s the first time I’ve been run out (a challenge for Stato). Scratchy then joined the queue for an early shower.

Ben and Richard then set about trying to save face. Richard exchanged unprintable words with the wicket keeper and Ben frustrated them with some unusual shots. They put on 73 before Rich departed. Rob did not hang around but Alan did find the form he’s been having all season. Ben got to his maiden fifty for the club, which is the only positive I can bring out of the game and he was still there at the end in the dark but was bowled for 55 with two balls left. Game lost by 90.

I hope that Ben’s 50 is the first of many…

…and would also wish WGP every success in trying to get teams to play them on a Sunday.

Statistical Notes: Greggy’s catch in this game was his fiftieth for the club. Ben’s previous best for the Badgers was the 28 that he made earlier in the year at Sutton, so this performance was a major leap forward for someone who is slowly becoming a very effective cricketer for the club. Oh, and Mark is quite right in saying that he has never been run out before. Whilst the database only goes back to 1988, it does record how outs from that point forwards, and his only two innings prior to that were not outs!!

25th July – Ham & Petersham: 233 for 4 dec.   Badgers: 79 all out

View the scorecard of this game

[This report courtesy of Andy Iwanoczko]

Overcast and muggy conditions prevailed at the Ham Common. Badgers were in to field first and bowling opened by Sahil from the River End and Shane either walking or trotting up the hill – he wasn’t sure which. Things started well with tight bowling and an early breakthrough for Sahil followed by a second before the end of his spell.

After 15 overs Ham had managed to amass 61, a total that quite easily could have been 20 lower owing to several fielding gaffes. Shane’s chinaman delivery keeping things exciting however. Following the first change, the balance well and truly shifted towards the Ham camp. Bacon Butty was holding his own as a top quality sandwich filler and managed to get an edge, mid-spell, that stuck at third slip. Andy’s arm turning was iffy at best, despite getting a little shape. The runs just kept coming though and the wickets largely stayed intact.

At second change, with batsmen set, young Jake was the unfortunate victim of some big hitting. He did manage to nab a wicket via a catch at deep mid wicket thanks to the good hands of Sahil. Young Daniel was brought on too and like Jake, largely tonked. The batting side were certainly impressed by the Quality to Age ratio from both Danny and Jake.

The 234 the Badgers were set to chase was testament to the quality of batting in the Ham side, and compounded by weak fielding from all quarters. Badgers were eagerly awaiting tea, especially after having had only a thimble full each at the second drinks break.

Following the change, the Badgers opened with Junior-Senior Pitts. D-D-Don’t Don’t Stop the Beat, could well have read P-P-Please Please Stop the Flies, following the swarm that hovered over the square, making life difficult for all and sundry. The bowling was tidy however and the wickets tumbled. Darrell caught behind; Steve was caught a peach at square leg; Valentino bowled and Matty was bowled on the next delivery. Shane and Bacon Butty wrestled the ropes and (somewhat) steadied the ship for the Badgers.

Victory was light years away, and the Badgers by this time were clinging to the goal of reaching triple figures… Sadly this did not prevail. Shane got beaten by a good ball following a bowling change. Andy, Daniel and Jake all went relatively cheaply soon thereafter. It was Bacon and the Skip who were there at the end, when the lethal opening bowler was brought back to finish things off and acquire bowling figures of 5 for 7 overall.

Badgers were outplayed today in all areas, no question. We however did little to improve our chances.

Key Badger performances:

Statistical Notes: This game is the first time since Dormansland back in June 1996 that Mark has actually batted at number 11 (there have been instances in between where I have him recorded as down to bat at eleven, but as a Did Not Bat) and was his 80th not out for the club, in which category he is well ahead of all bar Alan Tickner – whose club leading tally of 94 is still a little way off.

With hindsight I should also have pointed out that 24 for 7 was the lowest by the club for that wicket since I started keeping full data at the start of 1988. More detail can be found in the report for the Alleyn Adhoc game, which featured a very similar score.

18th July – Seven Sports: 106 all out   Badgers: 108 for 6

View the scorecard of this game

Summary: Thankfully at two month’s remove I remember very little detail about this game, other than being incredibly cheesed off for a fair while afterwards. The day started badly, with the opposition skipper telling Mark that their fixture secretary had only agreed to something other than a 35 over game in order to keep the fixture and that indeed was what we would be playing. Let’s hope that that tactic fails then. As ever the home side were primarily a one-man band (although on this particular day, perhaps that isn’t something we can complain about, at least not on the batting front) and openers Sahil and Greggy snared three quick wickets to put them on the back foot. With the change bowlers also snagging a quick wicket apiece the top order had managed four ducks in advancing the score to 35 for 5. The number seven Jones gave skipper Paul Johnson (58) a little more support and their 50 run partnership at least enabled them to scrape over the hundred mark once Daniel, who also claimed a caught and bowled chance, had captured the key wicket. He and Darrell then mopped up the tail in short order, with the latter taking two wickets from just five balls to terminate the innings at 106 in the 29th over.

The Badgers reply got off to a slow start, with both openers back in the pavilion with just 14 on the board, but Mark had promoted himself to number three and he and Allan brought up the half century before the home skipper grabbed two more wickets. I didn’t watch most of the latter half of our innings, suffice to say that Greggy helped Mark add 54 for the fifth wicket without quite reaching double figures himself, and Mark finished the job off despite Daniel failing to add to his bowling heroics.

Statistical Notes: Mark’s unbeaten 77 out of a total of 108 represents over 71% of the team’s runs (a figure that we eventually reached in the pub after the game despite erroneous input from Foxy and the Shark and some head-scratching from Sahil, who is hoping to study mathematics at university – although I understand that such trivia as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division features only rarely, if at all, in such courses). This is the best such proportion during the 23 years for which I have full details, beating my own contribution of a similarly winning and unbeaten 80 out of 115 (69.6%) against Old Alleynians back in June 1989. There may be other high percentage innings hidden away in the old scorebooks covering the first 29 years – and I have recall of one such at Newdigate in the mid eighties – but it is an impressive feat, which doesn’t necessarily reflect all that well on the rest of us.

11th July – Valley End: 178 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 167 for 8

View the scorecard of this game

Summary: We last played Valley End back in 1999 and it will probably surprise no one to learn that the only players, on either side, that played in both that game and this one were Mark Gordon and Steve Pitts.

[Due to a lack of inspiration this report is not complete, and may never be, but would have ended with the next paragraph]

The home side expressed some dissatisfaction after the game that we hadn’t had more of a go at winning the game in the final over, but personally I felt that they got the risk reward ratio wrong. Putting most of the fielders on the boundary left Pat with the option of trying to work the ball for twos to keep the strike or hit over the top, a highly risky strategy. Had the field been less widely spread he might have been encouraged to try something more ambitious thus giving the fielding side a chance of capturing his wicket. In the end Pat never received a delivery he felt that he could have a proper go at, the game petered out and we had, in Graham Ward’s words, “snatched a draw from the jaws of victory”.

Statistical Notes: Not too much of genuine statistical note this week, although Rob’s 3 for 31 represents the best return of a fledgling Badgers career, but I wonder how many times somebody has played against the Badgers one week and for us the next, as Will Harvey did. A next to impossible question to answer, but an intriguing one nonetheless.

(You might also care to check out Valley End’s match report, which certainly gives a different perspective on the game)

4th July – Old Suttonians: 230 for 6 dec.   Badgers: 231 for 7

View the scorecard of this game

Summary: A blustery day saw the spectators huddling amongst the trees for shelter and the scoreboard doing an impression of a sail until the home side’s grammar school educations came to the rescue and it was propped up against a couple of trees. We were denied the opportunity to play on the main square but the back pitch played well enough and a fast outfield contributed to a high scoring contest. Wardy (2-42), bowling as first change, broke the opening partnership at 52 in the tenth over but that didn’t slow the scoring rate any and when the second wicket fell another 49 runs had been added in the same number of overs. Graham and Darrell (3-67) did manage to apply the brakes for a short while, especially when opener Peter O’Toole was stumped for 70, but Tom Broughton (51 no.) reapplied the throttle and the home side were able to declare about fifteen minutes earlier than the scheduled tea interval having amassed 230 from 38 overs.

Upon the resumption the Badgers’ innings got off to a terrible start, with Patrick, batting at number four, striding to the wicket to face the third ball. He and Richard Ward (46) did a more than effective job of recovering the situation and the pair added 110 for the third wicket at above five an over. The last twenty started with 117 still required and Pat then nursed the middle order through the next twelve overs, at which point fifty runs were needed. Graham Ward (16) helped Pat add 37 of those runs but he was run out with less than three overs remaining and Pat fell for 119 from the next ball. This left Mark in the not unfamiliar position of needing to shepherd the lower order but with twelve runs required from the same number of balls he calmed Badger nerves by thumping two big sixes to take the visitors to victory in a hurry. Whilst the home side might argue that they were too generous in their declaration, I would disagree and feel that skipper Phil Smith got it absolutely spot on. Only a superb innings by Pat and a couple of key dropped catches – a fairly straightforward chance at mid on when he was in the 70s and a sharp chance at the wicket on 99 – stood between them and a win. Kudos all round for a great game played in the right spirit.

Statistical Notes: Pat’s impressive knock took him past 4000 runs for the club and is the eighth century that he has made, in just 92 innings, three more than anyone else in club history.

20th June – Tadworth: 192 for 6   Badgers: 125 all out

View the scorecard of this game

Summary: A cold and overcast start to the day and an opposition determined to play a limited overs game meant that proceedings got off to a chilly start. Wardy (2-22) was accurate, Sahil occasionally quick and sometimes wild, Jake impressed again and snared a key wicket, courtesy of the best of Ben’s three catches, in Sander (38) who was looking like he was on his way to a big score. Greggy snared a couple of wickets as second change and the home side were restricted to three an over for the first third of their innings, and four an over after thirty overs, but a greater familiarity with the format, some sloppy ground fielding from both young and old, and solid contributions from a couple of their senior citizens with sons also playing – Matthews Pa (45 no.) and Buss G (30 no.) – meant that even a tidy spell from our own senior player couldn’t keep the final score much below five an over, with the 192 for 6 eventually posted looking like pretty much a par score on the quick outfield.

The Badgers reply got off to a quick-fire start but Steve’s failure to adjust his radar following a field change after he’d clattered two of the first three balls to the off-side boundary meant that the first over finished with the visitors one down. Thereafter things never really improved. Richard Ward played tidily for a while before dragging one on, Mark tried to repeat Steve’s approach with four fours before being skittled and Greggy also had four boundary hits, all in the V, before coming unstuck with a hoick across the line (a lesson for us all there, methinks). At that point the game was as good as over, 80 for 8 from 25 overs was unlikely to be turned around, but Allan (23) and Sahil batted sensibly and added 44 for the ninth wicket before the innings slumped to a conclusion with thirteen balls unused. Sahil finished unbeaten on 22 and came off the pitch to discover that he was the top scorer according to the book.

Statistical Notes: Unfortunately that scorebook was a mess for both innings, so I had the usual chore of trying to balance a bowling card where the byes and leg byes had been charged to the bowlers whilst the batting was four runs short and a batting card where the bowling totals added up but the batting was eight runs short. Mr. Butt was adamant that he’d been robbed of a four, subsequently confirmed by my reconstruction of our innings over by over, and thus Sahil will simply have to settle for his highest score for the club. The 23 that Allan was eventually credited with is his best score for nearly four years and leaves him 105 short of 2000 lifetime.

Mark added another catch to his massive haul, and now has 300 total dismissals which leaves him just those seven wicket-keeper catches shy of 300 outfield catches – already just shy of 100 more than anyone else in club history. Jake was eager to discover whether he was the youngest Badger to score a run, but checking back I think not because Darrell was ten years, two months and four days when he first scored a run and Mark might have been even younger (but I can’t remember the Skipper’s birth date and would need to check the dates of the games involved in the scorebooks since it was two years before I started recording the detailed batting and bowling data electronically).

One interesting element of this match, and something that has become more and more noticeable in recent years, was that it was a real family affair. Both sides fielded three fathers and their sons, with the Matthews clan having the edge in providing two sons. In fact, on the Badgers side Greggy was the only member of the team without a family connection to someone else on the field.

13th June – Leatherhead: 162 for 9   Badgers: 165 for 7

View the scorecard of this game

[This report courtesy of Andy Iwanoczko]

In warm and breezy playing conditions sat on 22°C (±0.5°C), and after losing the toss [1 The result of the toss is unknown, but field first the Badgers did] and being asked to field, skipper Mark Gordon could not have been happier.

As part of the highly effective Badger warm-up regime, but dissimilar to most weeks, every player took the opportunity to turn their arm over on the astro wicket. Even keeper Pittsey, who it has been said once bowled for the team, removed a glove for the collective warm-up. Perhaps as a response to the unfailing ability of Badgers to snare catches, or perhaps as an opportunity not to waste valuable catching ability immediately prior to the match, not a single ball was either thrown or caught. Unlike the Badgers, the Leatherhead team chose to sit quietly in the pavilion and marvel at the talents on display.

As the opening batsmen entered the ground, it was apparent that they were intent on using the day to build on averages. The Badgers on the other hand appeared pensive, choosing to report on the apparent state of fitness of the opening pair.

The first innings was characterised by three distinct phases, all of which were seemingly related to the bowling changes. It was AB and Gordo M who started things off and broke through early. Barely a ball was bowled, before the younger of the two opening batsmen played a cover drive [2 It is unknown whether this was the shot played] off a full toss from Gordo, that on any other day was a “let’s go searching in the nettles and hedges for the ball” style of four… but not today. Instead, young Valentino Rossi made a fingers-up catch that only just saved himself £5000 worth of corrective dental surgery. The batsman, as if questioning an LBW or caught behind appeal, just stood there. Shock and awe. Ben on the other hand was licking his lips whilst doing the sums on how many Fosters he can buy with the five grand he’s saved himself. The tone was set. An over or so later Leatherhead attempt a quick fire run resulting in a run-out thanks to nimble fielding from AB at fine leg, 2 for 10 [3 It is not known whether that was the total]. After a period of tight bowling restricting the home side to about four an over on a lightning outfield, by first change it was 3 for 50odd [3 It is not known whether that was the total], with Gordo M having rattled the skittles. Tense.

Enter the newbies, Ward D and Gordo J. With a collective age of 21, these young guns took the ball with unabridged maturity. Both batsmen, senior in age, were in a quandary: Do we play strokes and risk getting ribbed for the remainder of the season, and at every repeat fixture, if we lose our wicket? Or, do we bat conservatively and hope to keep the runs ticking? They chose the latter, except that the runs did not flow, oh no there was no flow. Those who paid £30 a ticket were wondering why they had done so, but there is no greater reward to bowlers who are not taking wickets than to drag a run rate down from four to three an over. The wicket was swamp-like, and the Badgers were revelling. After a 12 to 13 over collective spell, one of the batsmen did himself a mischief and asked for a runner. The ticket holders were threatening a riot in the stands, and rather than have his request catered for, the batsman was subbed. Eventually the runs started to come and a bowling change was required, but by that time the job was done. Well done lads.

After a haul last week, and brimming with confidence, yours truly was asked to step onto the stage. Not unlike the week previous, things started short and wide, but the odd straighter one surprised everyone, the wickets tumbled, and there was general disbelief. Pittsey parked himself under a sky ball for caught behind; a leg stump ripper; and a sturdy catch by Guy at mid-off, gave Andy his three. Could this be ten wickets for the Badgers? Guy bowling at the other end snared two quick wickets giving away almost no runs, showing good economy yet again. Darrell got the ninth, and with the retiree reluctant to return and face Badger wrath, the home team declared at 162.

After tea, Ward G who had turned down a bowl opened with Chris Byrne, only to play on and return to the pavilion for four [3 It is not known whether that was the total]. Darrell came in and looked good, but went similarly for about 12 [3 It is not known whether that was the total]. Valentino Rossi, keen to get stuck into the Fosters came and went, as did yours truly, both for fat zeros. Chris on the other hand was like a rock, punching fours and running clever and sprightly singles and twos. Skip came in with four down and almost immediately the boundaries were flowing, both into and above. This was the partnership to bring the total within reach. The chatty fielding outfit were clearly frustrated with not even a chance, let alone a wicket. Once both players reached their 50s it began to feel like it was a game for the Badgers to lose, and after a sharp ball from the Saffa pitched in line and moved away, the off-stump bail was raised and the Skip’s innings was over.

Pittsey, typically more comfortable coming in straight after tea, looked at ease at the crease with a mixture of shots owing to balanced wagon wheel. Yours truly again had the unenviable job of making decisions in relation to leg before, judged Steve as being trapped in front. Owing to the speed of the decision, and I dare say the decision at all, Pittsey was a shade crankier than unimpressed.

From there, the final 20 runs required seemed massive. In comes Guy to pair up with opener Chris to try and see off victory, and push forward they did. Until, with two to equalise [4 Again a completely made up statistic, but thought to be somewhere in that region], Shane lifts his finger to remove Guy for the second LBW of the innings. Guy, aghast and claiming that the ball had touched upon some woodwork was seething his way to the pavilion à la Pitts.

With the turn of the over, in comes the younger of the two Gordos to the non-strikers. Chris, nearly setting off on a fatal single in that over, sees sense before any damage is done and powers the final stroke down the ground for four to obtain the winning runs. Great job Badgers.

Key performances:

Man of the Match:
Chris Byrne for a stellar batting performance that balanced consistent run scoring and patience.
Skip for a rapid-fire 50+.
Juniors Ward and Gordon whose combined tight bowling allowed others to take some much needed wickets with batsmen desperate to score late in the game.
Valentino Rossi for his catch and fully committed dives and stops & Shane for his outfield sliding antics, who together ensured the chase total was not 40 or 50 higher.
Err… none to report [5 Excluding umpiring decisions].


  1. ^  The result of the toss is unknown, but field first the Badgers did.
  2. ^  It is unknown whether this was the shot played.
  3. ^ a b  It is not known whether that was the total.
  4. ^  Again a completely made up statistic, but thought to be somewhere in that region.
  5. ^  Excluding umpiring decisions.

Editor’s Notes: To ensure that the above report still sounded like it was written by Andy I have not wielded the editorial pen as heavily as usual, especially in matters of ‘house style’. However, a few points of explanation for those that were not present: Valentino Rossi refers to Ben Valentine; Shane (for reasons unfathomable) to Graham Ward; Mark did indeed lose the toss (for the fourth time this year); the home side’s second wicket fell at five and the third at 63; Darrell was clean bowled for nine; Saffa refers to Leatherhead’s South African Rich Roy; and Guy was out with one run required to tie.

Statistical Notes: For the first time this season I ended up reconstructing an innings in order to figure out a discrepancy, and no doubt Chris Byrne will be pleased to learn that his highest score for the club (and indeed, in his life) was actually a 75 after the re-count suggested that he had been robbed of the run that was missing from the total. Since his previous best for the club was 31, the innings was a considerable step up and without it we might well have stumbled to a heavy defeat.

One other little oddity concerns the end of Leatherhead’s innings, which Andy describes above as a declaration. To the best of my knowledge, however, they did not declare but their injured batsman was unable (or unwilling) to return to the field. The Laws say that he is therefore declared as ‘ Retired – Not Out’ and that the innings is closed. The home side cannot be considered all out, because they have two not out batters, so I have a new distinction to deal with in my code since the innings is neither declared nor all out (the only two possibilities that I allow for the first innings of a timed game).

6th June – Woldingham: 102 all out   Badgers: 103 for 6

View the scorecard of this game

[This report courtesy of Graham Ward]

The Badgers rolled into Jordanland on a warm and mostly pleasant day.

The Skipper lost the toss and the Black Caps were invited to field. As play was about to begin, the heavens opened, but fifteen people pretended it wasn’t raining and carried on regardless. Newbie Rob Knew took the new ball but slipped on the greasy pitch during his delivery stride and strained a thigh. Graham ‘Wasim’ Ward stepped in to partner Ian Gregg in the attack.

Greggy was threatening at one end, while Graham’s stoic bowling drew both comparisons with Glenn McGrath’s pitch map and yawns from our captain in equal measure. A rare loose delivery was cut to the Skipper, and he was able to wake from his slumber just in time to take the catch. Two further wickets tumbled and Andy Iwanoczko was brought on to bowl some Terry Alderman style away swingers. Woldingham’s Ed Preston (a Badger son and grandson) stood defiantly while all around him vapourised under Andy’s spell, bagging him four wickets. Darrell, one of three Badgers to be playing their first game of the season, replaced Graham and snaffled a wicket.

At the fall of the eighth wicket, there followed a classic run out. Their number ten, all decked out in his Midsomer Murdersesque cricketing attire, came in to bat. He walked to the wicket with his bat under his arm in the same way a holidaymaker would carry a freshly purchased newspaper, before settling by the swimming pool to contemplate what he would normally have been doing on a Tuesday morning. Having arrived at the end of an over, he was therefore not on strike. A nudge from the striker effected a call for a single, and the Charles Hawtrey like character duly obliged, albeit in slow motion. Such was his confidence in his running ability, a grounding of the bat was apparently not necessary, and nor was a glance at the square leg umpire’s raised finger as he prepared to take guard at the wicket. The newspaper was then positioned back under his armpit as he walked back to the pavilion.

Number eleven didn’t last much longer, and Woldingham had been rumbled out for 102.

The tea lady, clearly having studied the Badgers attack over the last couple of years, was not expecting an early finish and so after a ten minute turnaround the Badgers would endeavour to negotiate this tricky period before tea with a watchful and circumspect vigil. Or not. Mark Gordon opened and having smashed the first five deliveries for ten runs was bowled by the sixth. Including a no-ball, after one over, the Badgers were 11 for 1. Two further wickets followed and we were 30ish for 3 when the french bread was being passed around.

After the resumption and a steady start in difficult conditions, Richard Ward was bowled for 16. Simon Fox was the next cab off the rank. A cab that doesn’t always start straight away and rarely gets out of second gear, but crucially one that can be relied upon to pootle towards its destination nonetheless. Steve Pitts was able to steer this cab towards the target with 43, the Miller-esque pull shot getting a regular airing but he did fall with the game still in the balance. Rob joined Foxy in the middle and was assisted by a runner in the shape of Andy. And not just the shape of Andy, but Andy himself.

Here began a classic example of what not to do when you have a runner. Rob pierced the field, and with all the protagonists in agreement that there was a single on offer, they all set off; Simon, Andy and indeed Rob, and all made their ground comfortably. A deliberation over the laws ensued and the verdict was that Woldingham were entitled to run Rob out, but in an act of sportsmanship, declined to impose. However, in a counter act of sportsmanship, with two runs to win, Foxy called a single that was dicey at best, and ran out Rob, in the form of Andy, anyway. Paul Little then joined the fray and blatantly disobeying orders to play the reverse sweep, played a backhand cross court smash to get the Black Caps over the winning line for the second time this season. Great Hustle Badgers.

Statistical Notes: Andy Iwanoczko grabbed his first four wicket haul for the club, although he has almost certainly bowled better for less reward. Strangely neither he nor Greggy managed to swing the ball much despite what seemed like ideal overheard conditions (at least once the rain had stopped). Mark pouched another catch to leave him one shy of 300 dismissals (which includes wicket keeper catches) and eight away from 300 outfield catches.

During after match festivities the discussion turned to the web site and trophies and the opposition expressed surprise that we didn’t have a duck cup. To be honest it is not anything that I have bothered collating, but a quick tweak to the season averages calculation makes it apparent that such a trophy would not have been hugely interesting in the past few years, with only a handful of occasions when anyone has recorded more than three in a season. I may add a column to the miscellaneous statistics but it isn’t high on my list of priorities at the moment.

[Under normal circumstances the summary report is removed when the full report is posted, but Allan Butt made the comment at the weekend that having read both reports he felt like they were for different games, so I thought that I’d leave the summary here, especially since it contains several bits of information that are not covered above, so you can judge for yourselves]

Summary: Dark clouds gathered as the start time approached and it started raining almost the moment we started, which proved to be bad luck for Rob Knew, who went base over apex in the middle of his second over and tweaked a muscle in his thigh. which somewhat limited his involvement thereafter but didn’t prevent him from snaring the catch of the day, a full length diving effort from second slip to where first slip would have been. The early bowlers had the worst of the conditions, although Graham Ward (3-24) snared a wicket in his first over and bowled tidily thereafter. Ed Preston, opening the batting for the home side despite a Badgers pedigree dating back to his paternal grandfather Alan who was the vice-captain in the club’s first season and captain for six of the first ten seasons, provided the only real resistance as none of his teammates passed 10 runs, and five of the last six recorded ducks. Andy took full advantage upon replacing the luckless Greggy and took four wickets with a real assortment amongst which the long hop seemed to be the prime wicket taking delivery. Darrell cleaned up the last two wickets with straight ones and Ed was left stranded on 71 out of the final total of 102.

Tea was not ready at the conclusion of Woldingham’s innings and the Badgers got themselves into something of a pickle in the twenty minutes or so before their repast, slumping to 15 for 3 after Mark had taken ten runs from the opening over before being castled by a ball that jagged back a long way. This turned out to be something of a stock ball for Patel, who could have had three such dismissals before the break, barring a no ball call. Richard Ward (16) survived that before an airy waft at the other end proved his undoing not long after the restart. Steve and Simon then effected a recovery, with Steve taking full advantage of the occasional short ball (to the tune of nine boundaries) before an over-ambitious drive at the second change landed in the hands of mid off and curtailed his innings at 43 with twenty still needed to win. Rob batted with a runner, which caused the usual confusion, but Simon remained resolute and despite Rob (or more accurately, his runner) inevitably being run out just short of the target, finished unbeaten on 18 when Paul Little ended proceedings for the second year running, albeit in less impressive fashion than last year’s winning hit for six.

23rd May – Dormansland: 204 for 8 dec.   Badgers: 156 all out

View the scorecard of this game

A relentlessly hot and sunny day saw the visitors toil in vain as a century by young Dormansland opener Ray put them to the sword before he repeated the pain with the ball. The early bowlers kept things fairly tight, a run rate of just over three an over after fifteen overs was testament to that, but were unable to make any significant breakthrough, with the only wicket falling as the result of a run out of a young man who had obviously not played against Mark before!?

Debutant Rob Knew bustled in with purpose but never quite found the right length for the conditions and Andy Iwanoczko managed to swing the ball a little despite the lack of any cloud cover or heavy atmosphere but the batsmen continued serenely on and it wasn’t until Ian Gregg was introduced as fourth change that the second wicket partnership was broken at 82. A strangely subdued Nick Hellier helped Ray add another 55 but the visitors were far too generous in granting extra lives with Steve Pitts and Mark Gordon especially culpable – the keeper missing a fairly straightforward chance to dismiss Ray just after he’d passed fifty and the Skipper spilling two skiers, one of them off his own bowling.

The introduction of Guy Walker (3-31) into the attack changed the dynamics a little as he kept things tight to frustrate the pair before striking twice in one over, having Hellier caught at the wicket to break the third wicket pairing. Mark and Steve eventually dismissed Ray, who was later fined by his teammates for not walking after such an obvious nick, for what turned out to be 111 (after a later review of the scorebook) out of 169 but the lower order added a few hefty clumps to drag the score over the two hundred mark before the declaration at tea.

Foxy’s ‘call to arms’ produced a decent turnout of spectators for this longest running of all fixtures, with a bevy of Gordons from three different generations, pairs of Wards and Tickners, Mann and Redding other halves and offspring, plus a lone junior Pitts and a non-combatant Simon watching with varying degrees of interest and attention from the sidelines. They saw the Badgers get off to a steady start with Graham Ward (47) hitting the bad balls effectively to keep the score ticking along whilst his partner Steve (35) struggled in the heat. The pair added 67 for the first wicket, at a decent lick of more than five an over, but when Graham was out, nicking a wide one that he would have been better leaving alone, the scoring rate started to slow.

Steve and Andy Iwanoczko did keep things moving for a little while, 116 being the target at the start of the last twenty and Steve finding a last burst of energy to clout Stuart Hellier for eleven from the first of those overs including a soaring straight six. The next over saw the introduction of the century maker into the attack and with Andy immediately undone by the extra pace and Steve depositing one into long off’s hands in the next over from the same bowler the innings subsided from 102 for 1 to 129 for 8. Ray claimed six of those wickets over the course of five overs that cost just nine runs, with five of his victims clean bowled. A frustrated Pat was left stranded on 17, despite some sterner resistance from Ben Valentine batting at number eleven, but the prospect of a draw was quashed with nine balls remaining and the team nearly fifty runs shy of the target.

Statistical Notes: I understand that there was some discussion on the sidelines about how many players on either side had played in this fixture in the dim and distant past. It is worth noting that if Allan Butt had been playing, as he did last year, that he also played in the very first fixture between the two clubs, back in August 1962, and would almost certainly be the only player to have done so!? I also checked the teams for the equivalent fixture in 1980, and despite three other protagonists being amongst the watching throng, the only player on either side that took an active part in both games is yours truly, Steve Pitts.

16th May – Stoke D'Abernon: 126 all out   Badgers: 129 for 6

View the scorecard of this game

[This report courtesy of Simon Fox]

The Norman Conquest

This is the tale of two Gordons, or as the opposition insisted, two Normans. With the game precariously balanced, and dark clouds ominously gathering, skipper Mark Gordon walks back to the pavilion, disconsolate and with head bowed, having just attempted a reverse sweep off Stoke D’Abernon’s opening bowler and nicked a simple catch to the keeper. Would the man-of-the-match efforts of 10-year old Jake Gordon have all been in vain……?

Let’s go back to the beginning. Forecasters had promised warmer and sunny, but the Almighty instead provided dark clouds and a chill wind, with showers in the air. Jake was in the side for his second start of the season, but was heavily outnumbered by Stoke’s tally of five colts. There was no doubt who was going to come out on top in the fielding division! Mark lost his third toss of the season, and so we trudged out for an afternoon in the field as usual. Our opening attack of Allan Butt and Mark was a little more conventional than of late and provided immediate reward, as Allan bowled Stoke’s opener in his first over and then Mark dismissed captain Duncan Howorth with a Nureyev-esque caught and bowled, horizontal at the point of the catch and with toes perfectly aligned.

Stoke never really recovered from this start, failing to put runs on the board with any menace and losing wickets at a pretty consistent rate. First change Jake, brought on when Mark’s stock had deteriorated to fast, leg-breaking grubbers, claimed a wicket-maiden in his first over, Stoke’s number four holing out to Allan at fine leg, presenting a nearly sixty year age difference between bowler and catcher! Thus began the spell that hopefully portends the Badgers’ future, as Jake, complete with designer shades, sent down nine overs of straight, tidy and well-flighted deliveries that bagged him figures of 4 for 41. Particularly impressive was that he bowled through an onslaught from Stoke’s Carty that had us well and truly on the back foot for a good few of those overs. At the other end, Allan picked up two from his eight overs, Andy Iwanoczko two more, and then Guy Walker pitched in for the final wicket, leaving Stoke all out for 126 after just 30 overs with only Carty’s knock of 52 in nine overs saving them from double-figure ignominy. There were good catches from Andy and Guy interspersed with a couple of pearlers, and one memorable stumping as keeper Steve Pitts rushed in from the standing-back position to beat the number eight batsman’s rearward lunge. Thankfully, these two motions were not co-linear.

After a generous and wholesome tea, Matt Mann and Chris Byrne refused with least conviction and were thus selected to open the innings. Stoke’s opening pair were youthful, enthusiastic and sharp, but Matt stroked the ball around with confidence and purpose, hitting four fours in his 17, whereas Chris – though looking comfortable – failed to trouble the scorers. Allan and Ben Valentine in particular batted sensibly, seeing off the quicks, but wickets fell with almost the same frequency as the opposition’s had earlier, and thus we found ourselves at 47 for 5 after 15 overs. However, this brought Skippy and Scratchy together for the partnership that would seal the game, Patrick being content to pick up his runs steadily without risk, whilst Mark opted for the belligerent approach, smiting all and sundry to distant fields in a quick-fire 57 in just eight overs and including eleven fours. At which point, with two required for victory, the attempted reverse-sweep. Thankfully for the Skipper, the club’s resources run deep, but anyway Patrick drove the third ball of the next over to the mid-off boundary a la text-book and that was that. Patrick finished not out 29, making me ponder what his average on this ground might be. Our reply and first victory of the season took just 23 overs.

Which of course got us back to the pavilion just in time to watch England’s world-cup winning heroics … on Ceefax. What joy.

Statistical Notes: To answer Foxy’s question above, Pat has an average of 102.5 against Stoke, having scored 205 runs over six innings for just twice out.

No milestones this week and very little pending at the moment, so this section may go quiet for a while now. Mark is likely to be the next to reach any mark of note, needing just two dismissals (which includes wicket keeper catches) to reach 300, another seven more for 300 outfield catches, and just 57 runs to move past yours truly into third place in the all-time run scoring list.

Since there is little statistical trivia I thought I’d address a few confusions that arose this week over the no ball law. Firstly, one that came up on one or two occasions whilst Jake was bowling – the ball must bounce more than twice, or roll along the ground, before reaching the popping crease to be called a no ball. If the ball strikes the batsman, or the batsman strikes the ball, before it reaches the popping crease then it is not a no ball unless it is already rolling along the ground or has already bounced more than twice (thus saving the umpires from having to make what would be an horrendous judgement call).

Secondly, there was some confusion over whether a ball from a spinner that was above waist height but below shoulder height should be called a no ball, with Mark under the misapprehension that the law had changed to that effect. I can find no evidence to support that, although first class competitions often implement bye-laws that might apply such a change to games in the competition. The law explicitly defines a ‘high full pitched’ ball as any delivery other than a slow paced one, so it is the speed of the delivery that matters not the style of the bowler, and the MCC guidance also notes that the pace of the delivery should be judged within the context of a match.

Oddly this type of no ball is not defined explicitly under Law 24 but instead is listed under ‘Dangerous and unfair bowling’ in Law 42 Unfair Play and technically ought to be accompanied by a ‘three strikes and off’ warning system (although I have no recollection of seeing that implemented at first class level). The one element of this law that I hadn’t twigged is that the heights are in relation to ‘the striker standing upright at the crease’ not in their normal stance, which does make things a little harder for the umpire, especially when the batter has a pronounced crouch.

Finally, there was some speculation as to whether a ball that passed over Ben’s head should be called a wide, but this is actually defined as an automatic no ball under the aforementioned Law 42, in exactly the same way as the beamers already discussed.

(You might also care to check out Stoke’s report of the match)

9th May – Badgers: 173 for 6 dec.   Sutton: 174 for 2

View the scorecard of this game

Summary: Whilst it looked like the weather might intervene we stayed dry but were subjected to a bit of a hammering after being asked to bat first. Pat (35) and Graham Ward (32) gave the innings a solid if stodgy platform, with their second wicket stand of 52 being the best of the innings. Ben (28) and Mark (43) provided some decent acceleration but somehow we ended up receiving just 38 overs in a standard timed game during which we posted 173 for 6. As it turned out the opposition granted themselves an extra ten minutes before calling the last twenty and thus we would have bowled 39 overs at them, but it was all moot as a poor bowling and fielding performance was only brightened by a solid opening spell from Andy and a second Badgers wicket for young Daniel. The Sutton openers added 101 for the first wicket, with Moore top scoring with 64, and they coasted to an eight wicket win with a dozen overs to spare.

Statistical Notes: Foxy made his 200th appearance for the club, becoming (at least) the twelfth Badger to reach that plateau. The uncertainty stems from the usual proviso about seasons before 1988, for which I don’t have full details in the database, so innings are substituted for any genuine games played figures. Only Mark, myself and the Tickner brothers are definitely over 300 though, so Simon may well ‘climb the charts’ over the next couple of years.

Ben’s 28 was his highest ever knock for the club, and featured some lusty blows, as he continues to develop as a batsmen. Whilst I doubt that he’ll ever evoke quite the same responses as Graham Davenport, whose insistence on bashing almost any delivery through mid wicket tends to excite bowlers so, his unorthodox approach must make him a nightmare to set a field for.

25th April – Beechwood: 181 for 7 dec.   Badgers: 174 for 6

View the scorecard of this game

[Whilst I hope to finish off a full report for this game, since it was worthy of full coverage, past experience suggests that it will probably never happen and this summary will end up being all there is]

Summary: The new season got off to a surprisingly sunny start in the beautiful environs of Otford in Kent. Graham Ward (3-38) unveiled his new left arm seam up style, one of the legacies of the elongated winter net sessions, and finished with the best overall figures. Greggy removed one of the Beechwood openers with what would have been ball of the day on many a day, Allan Butt was his usual miserly self with his usual degree of luck and thus the usual lack of wickets and Daniel Ward snared his first ever wicket with the ball of the day to castle entrenched opener Warner (53). Beechwood eventually finished on 181 for 7, which felt pretty much like a par score on a wicket that played well throughout.

The Badgers’ reply was sluggish, the last twenty overs starting with four down and just 38 on the board, and 97 still required halfway through those overs with Pat (26) also back in the hutch. As so often it fell to the Skipper, ably assisted by Foxy (25 no.), to try and come up with a minor miracle and when Mark bludgeoned 22 from the penultimate over to leave twelve to win from the final six balls it looked like he might just pull it off. It was not to be, however, and a decent final over from the bowling side’s perspective saw Mark skittled for 85 off the fifth delivery and the visitors finish eight runs short of that improbable victory. All in all a great way to get the new season underway against like-minded opposition.

Statistical Notes: Graham Ward snared his 100th wicket for the club in the same game that his nephew Daniel took his first. We were joking in the slips that, given that Graham had reached this milestone after eight seasons, at his current rate of progress he wouldn’t be challenging the leaders in the category until he was in his eighties but to be fair Graham did not bowl much during his first three seasons with the club, so perhaps Brian Moore doesn’t look quite so far away after all!!

The 111 that Mark and Simon added for the sixth wicket ties a club record, matching Mark’s own performance alongside Patrick at Ham in 2006. Pat, on top of all things batting as ever, pointed out after the game that Mark had just broken a tie with Alan Tickner for the highest number of century stands. Mark himself didn’t seem sure and it is not a statistic that I have been keeping track of. Having rectified that omission I can confirm that Mark now leads the pack with a share of 17 century stands, one ahead of AT and four ahead of Pat himself (which may explain why he is keeping track!?) – although Pat would be one closer if unofficial matches were included in the figures. Even without that extra boost Pat has a quite astonishing percentage of century partnerships with nearly 15 per cent of his innings featuring such stands, with only David Aldwinckle (at just over ten per cent) in double figures amongst those with two or more such partnerships.

(You might also care to check out Beechwood’s page on the match which may feature a match report at some point but also has scans of the scorebook pages)