Badgers Cricket Club – Season 2011 Match Reports


This page holds the match reports for all games played during the 2011 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.

24th September – Leigh: 257 for 6   Badgers: 204 for 9

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[This report courtesy of Allan Butt]

With Merrow having cried off our final fixture of the season late due to a wedding (hastily planned?), Badgers were fortunate to be able to arrange through the Conference a fixture with our traditional opponents Leigh, our intended match with them earlier in the season having been cancelled. Ironically, Merrow contacted Mark on Saturday morning to see if we would like to play on Sunday, their opponents having cancelled, but it was decided that the task of finding a team two days running at such short notice would be beyond us.

Leigh, having opted for a 40 overs match, won the toss and chose to bat, which supposedly Skipper would also have done, although probably just for a change rather than any sound tactical reason. The weather was warm with a fair breeze, and the pitch looked good, albeit a little soft from earlier rain. Mark opened with a hostile spell down the hill, conceding only eight runs from four overs, and then took himself off not to return (protecting his average perhaps?) However, it was Darrell opening from the other end who took the wickets of both openers, Rob snaffling a smart catch in the slips to dismiss Cox for seven, and the dangerous looking P van der Merwe on six holing out to Greggy at mid on off Darrell’s slower ball (a deliberate ploy according to the bowler!) When Greggy, replacing Mark, had the other van der Merwe caught by the skipper for seven, Leigh found themselves reduced to 31 for 3, but that was the last Badgers’ success for a while.

Darrell completed his eight over spell with 2 for 34, and was replaced by Jake, whilst Allan replaced Ian after he had bowled three overs for 30 runs and his one wicket. By then, Bounds and the hard hitting Alex Smith had got into their stride, and put on 76 at roughly six an over before Jake had Bounds caught by Ben. Alex Smith continued on his merry way, hitting a number of big sixes, well supported by Reg Smith, until eventually Alex fell to a good tumbling catch in the deep by Darrell off the bowling of Matt (and yes we knew it was not Guy!) Alex had scored 114, and the father and son Smiths had put on 115 together. With Matt and Rob bowling the closing overs, a final wicket fell to a run out, Reg Smith finished on 47 not out, and the Leigh innings closed on 257 for 6.

After a tea which rivalled the traditional Merrow fare, Matt and Ben opened the batting for the Badgers, but fell early to the slow bowling of Reg Smith for eleven and one respectively. Darrell was then bowled for five by Alex Smith, whose bowling down the hill was probably as quick as anything we had faced this season, and Ian and Rob followed in quick succession for four apiece, both off the bowling of Reg Smith, who finished with figures of 4 for 26 from eight overs. Pat held steady at the other end, but Badgers were struggling at 37 for 5 when Mark joined Pat, albeit with quite a few overs remaining.

Pat and Mark proceeded to build a partnership, with Pat batting steadily, and Mark, determined not to be outdone in the big hitting stakes, going for the boundaries. They took the score to 131 when Pat, having just reached his 50, was caught off the bowling of Ben Harrington for 51 off 81 balls including five fours. Jake then joined his father, and the pair added another 40 of which Jake contributed four, suffering stentorian exhortations from his father to ‘run Jake run’! Mark hit what was probably the biggest six of the day clean over the pavilion, but having been joined by our overseas international Simon when Jake was bowled, was sadly caught with his score on 94, made off 75 balls including four fours and nine (yes 9!) sixes. The score was then 195 for 8, and Simon and Allan batted on in what was by then a lost cause. Simon was LBW off the penultimate ball of the innings, and Steve, defiant to the last and true to Badgers tradition, clubbed a four off the only ball he faced. Badgers finished on 204 for 9, Leigh thus winning by 53 runs, with Alex Smith undoubtedly man of the match. Burgers and sausages followed in a convivial atmosphere, with everyone agreed that a total of 461 runs off 80 overs was not a bad end to the season.

Statistical Notes: There is only one person to focus on for this last statistical section of the season – club skipper Mark Gordon’s 94 in this game means that he not only smashed the record for runs in a season but has taken the mark just beyond the 800 barrier. As part of that he made eight scores of fifty or more, beating the record of seven that he set last season. His dismissal just one more big hit shy of the century marks the twenty-first time that a Badger has made a score in the 90s. Mark himself now has three 94s and a 91 to his name, but this is the first time he’s been dismissed in the 90s, contributing to eight of those previous twenty being unbeaten. Whilst Mark has reach the hundred mark on four previous occasions, there are five of us that have recorded a score in the 90s but have never made a ton – Albert Briscoe, my brother Dave Pitts, Robin Suggate, myself and Paul Little.

As far as the season as a whole is concerned, the only century stand was in the T20 game on tour, the first time since 1995 that there has not been a stand of one hundred or better in matches that counted towards the averages. There were five stands of 90+, with three of them being for the sixth wicket (and all of those featuring Pat and Mark!?) The other noticeable statistical anomaly is that, for the first time in club history, nobody took more than three wickets in a match. In fact, it is worse than that because 1990 and 1962 were the only prior seasons where four wickets was the best performance. Personally I lay this one firmly at the door of playing so much overs limited cricket and the effect that has on a bowler building a spell. Prior to last season there had never been fewer than 22 bowling performances of nine overs or more (back to 1988, I do not have the full data before that). Last year there were twenty and this year just six. I fully embrace the desire to spread the game around all of the participants but abhor the fact that someone who is bowling well is forced to stop doing so because of some arbitrary limitation. If bowlers are so limited why do we not also limit batsmen to a certain number of balls faced??

18th September – Tadworth: 221 for 6   Badgers: 140 all out

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but I simply ran out of time to get everything done.

Statistical Notes: The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted that I was just shy from an earlier note about Mark playing his 300th, but my (Steve Pitts) innings in this match was my 400th for the club, leaving me adrift of the Tickner brothers, still 44 behind Dave and a considerable 105 fewer than Alan.

Regardless of what type of game we play at Merrow next week, the fact that this was a limited overs game means that for the first time ever the Badgers will have played more such games this year than in the traditional timed format. Whilst on a couple of occasions the weather played a part in the choice of game, it seems that a goodly proportion of our opposition are happier playing overs limited contests. Time to retire methinks.

11th September – Badgers: 228 all out   Headley: 211 for 9

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but a lack of free time and volunteer contributors means a lack of words

Statistical Notes: Mark blew past his own season record for runs in official matches, tying it with his first scoring shot, and carried on beyond Darren Hanley’s 1993 total of 687 in all matches, official or otherwise. Just before getting out he also became the first Badger to break the 700 runs in a season barrier, a mind boggling feat when you consider the batting talent that the team have had over the years.

Greggy’s first over in this game was his 1500th over for the club, a feat exceeded only by Allan Butt, Mark Gordon, Alan Tickner and Brian Moore – exalted company indeed Ian. The game was also my (Steve Pitts) 450th appearance (still 39 behind Dave Tickner and a gargantuan 125 away from Alan Tickner), although all of those figures are potentially awry by a half dozen or so because of the disappearance of the 1981 scorebook, a season in which all three of us played and for which I can only count innings not games.

28th August – Badgers: 199 for 6 dec.   Blindley Heath: 153 for 5

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but a lack of free time and volunteer contributors means a lack of words

Statistical Notes: Darrell’s 70 was the first time he had ever passed fifty, not just for the Badgers but in any cricket, and was particularly impressive given that his previous best was 29. Hopefully the confidence boost from such a performance will prompt many more such knocks.

Chairman Allan Butt made his 250th appearance for the club, in which list he is placed eighth, but now within three games of President Roy Gordon. However, Roy may well have played a fair few more than that official 253 – the lack of full data in the database prior to 1988 (at the time of writing – currently we go back to 1984), and the fact that he often batted at either one or eleven, makes it likely that he had more appearances than innings during those missing years (something that I’ve started addressing, you might be surprised to learn, but which will never be perfect because of the missing 1981 scorebook). [In fact, once the games played information was filled in Roy was well ahead in fifth place and Al never did catch him – Time Distorting Ed.]

14th August – Badgers: 214 for 9   Ripley: 217 for 4

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but a lack of free time and volunteer contributors means a lack of words

Statistical Notes: Nothing significant to report in this game, but a piece of real trivia is that this is the first ever occasion on which both Darrell and I have snared outfield catches in the same game.

7th August – Reigate Cav.: 200 for 9 dec.   Badgers: 197 all out

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but a lack of free time and volunteer contributors means a lack of words

Statistical Notes: Mark played his 300th innings for the Badgers, in which category he is fourth all-time, comfortably ahead of fifth placed Brian Moore, but some way behind Steve Pitts (396), Dave Tickner (444) and Alan Tickner (505).

Foxy’s contributions on tour and a solid knock in this game have taken him within 50 of the 3000 run mark, a point passed by only nine other Badgers. Looks like it might be worth delaying that retirement for a little while longer Simon!

31st July – Malpas: 159 for 9   Badgers: 162 for 10

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[This report courtesy of Matt Mann]

The Badgers being true to their nocturnal characteristics arrived for breakfast on the Sunday looking like they had spent much of the night foraging for food, primarily in it’s liquid form. Despite us believing that the Badgers Sett were primarily comprised of European Badger (Meles Meles) reports at breakfast focused on the appearance overnight of the Asiatic Stink Badger (Mydaus Javenensis) and of concerns for Guy’s (or was it Matt?) welfare. Sadly, for the single boars travelling with the sett there was no sighting of any Honey Badgers (Ratel Mellivora Capensis), the highly painted female northern Badger is felt to have frightened off the more timid Surrey male.

Thus it was decided by some of the sett to take a stroll by the canal to see if Guy (or was it Matt?) was either (a) floating upside down or (b) had joined the Sett of northern badgers whose diet was observed to be Special Brew, Kestrel Super or Buckfast.

Anyway, enough of Badger watch with Kate Oddly-Humble, once again it was time for the serious business, getting those (un)fit and (un)willing into a minibus headed down the A41 again approximately in the direction of a place that Rob went to school some twenty years before. Today’s drive included a detour to an ice cream farm (I didn’t realise that anyone farmed ice creams – Low Fat Ed.), to ensure that the team would be in tip top condition for what Rob was billing as the biggest match of the tour.

Thus the Badgers arrived at Malpas CC a little subdued, it was difficult to tell if it was the pressure, the hangovers or the recently consumed ice cream. The Malpas ground was a part of a big sports club and so whilst we were afforded the luxury of two dressing rooms, each with their own showers, it came at a price – the largest outfield of the tour. Rob was given a great welcome back by his former club mates but this only increased the pressure as it was clear they wanted to see if his sojourn to the warmer and sunnier climate of Surrey had removed any of his Northern grit!.

The toss was as usual, we would field first, but to ensure a result it would be a 40 over match and both sides would play with 12 players, to accommodate the fact they had 12 and did not want to send one of their younger players home. This would prove to be tough for Steve Pitts who had made the journey up to umpire having been told the previous day that we had enough players. Having only brought his umpiring kit with him this meant that Guy’s (or was it Matt?) brother Simon made up the 12 and so the Badgers team would contain two sets of brothers – the Knews and the Walkers.

The skip was clearly taking this fixture seriously and it was not the time for Wardy’s comedy opening bowling as seen at Coton the day before, so Skip went for the Badgers prime attack pair of himself and Greggy, with Wardy keeping wicket. The Badgers foraging of the night before was laid bare by the assured Malpas opening partnership of Ward and Dunning who kept the scoreboard moving, having seen off Skip and Greggy they then tucked into both of the Knews, operating in tandem for the first time since they had played in the garden as kids. Thankfully the Malpas opening pair both reached 50 and retired and it was at this point the match tipped slightly towards the Badgers. Skip turned to Guy (or was it Matt?) and Matt (or was it Guy?), based on his surprising bowling at Coton the day before, of which Wardy had commented that perhaps they had discovered the new Michael Yardy (we are still unsure as to whether this is a compliment or not).

Perhaps this was done to confuse the opposition – I suspect it just confused the Badgers more – in any event this bowling change proved decisive as wickets finally began to tumble. Scratchy took two catches off Matt (or was it Guy?) one of which was an acrobatic catch high to his right, Dunning (the second) was clearly surprised at the speed and agility of the Badgers as he went for 7. Guy (or was it Matt?) chipped in with the wicket of Tinesley for 2. Guy (or was it Matt?) was then replaced by Allan who accelerated the fall of wickets with a superb bowling performance – he immediately removed McIver for a duck and finished with figures of 6 overs, 4 maidens, 3 wickets for 8 runs. Matt (or was it Guy?) lived up to his one too many overs reputation and finally was taken off after 7 overs and replaced by Ben who immediately took the wicket of Tinesley (the second) with Mark edging closer to the 2011 fielding cup by taking the catch.

Allan accompanied by Ben and Simon (not Fox) managed to see out the remaining overs, keeping a fine balance between taking wickets and using up overs to avoid the opening pair returning to the crease. The Malpas innings finished after 40 overs with Badgers requiring 160 to win.

After a quick rich tea, the Badgers opening pair of Wardy and Skip strode out to the crease full of purpose, the batting mirrored this with Wardy hitting 12 off the first over from their opening bowler Dunning. Skip followed this with 8 off the next and thoughts started to turn to the prospect of another victory and an unbeaten tour. The scoreboard rattled on to 38 when in the sixth over, just as Skip had played himself in, he was bowled by Swift. Wardy swiftly followed the next over having reached twenty, which meant that it was now Malpas versus the Knew Brothers. The brothers set themselves to the task in hand and with plenty of overs left they focused on weathering the Malpas storm. Just as it appeared they had done this, and with Rob beginning to open up, he was bowled by Swift for 11. Brother Richard soon followed and then the Walker Brothers entered the fray, with the rest of the Badgers hoping that they would make it easy on themselves. Unfortunately for Guy (or was it Matt?) his sun wasn’t going to shine (anymore) as he was caught and bowled by Ward for a duck.

With tensions rising on the sidelines the Badgers still felt confident as Scratchy strode out, but the innings proved to be more itchy than scratchy as he was caught behind off Waddlelove for just one. Greggy joined Simon Walker and they began to push the scoreboard forward – Simon hit a glorious six back over the bowler’s head before reaching the Badgers self imposed twenty limit and was caught behind again off the bowling of Waddlelove.

At this moment it was left to the senior Boars in the sett to come to the fore, as Foxy entered the fray. Just as the partnership looked to have broken the Malpas resolve Greggy then decided to get out before reaching the self imposed scoring limit for 18, caught behind off the bowling of Kaputo.

Foxy was playing a steady innings full of his usual deft stroke play and the Badgers were now crawling slowly closer to the win. Thankfully Foxy was holding his nerve as those around him came and went, Ben for a steady 12 and Matt (or was it Guy?) for a rapid 6.

So with the last pair at the wicket, it was now down to the elder statesmen of the sett (with a combined age of 129) to get the job done. This they did magnificently, seeing the Badgers through the final twenty runs of the chase with very few scares. Foxy finished not out on 23, thankfully ignoring the self imposed scoring limit, with Allan completing a ‘man of the match’ display with a crucial 14. The winning runs were met with huge cheers from the crowd to leave the Badgers 3-0 from their first tour foray into the far North.

Those not involved in scoring and struggling to keep the scoreboard working were grateful to Pittsy, his dedication to the cause meaning that the not-in batsmen only had to provide one umpire, not two, a situation that always manages to provoke some angst!

Some beers followed with Malpas before a final journey back to Chester (at the allotted time). The last supper was quiet by Saturday night’s standard but after three games in three days all the species of Badger present were suitably tired and suffering from various aches and pains. The entire sett then went to bed happy and content at a job well done.

Monday saw the Badgers make their weary way home, amid rumours of a diversion by the minibus to the designer outlet at Bicester, although it is difficult to imagine who was responsible for that!

Statistical Notes: This is the first game, as far as I can tell, where the Badgers have played twelve per side (which you cannot enter into Play-Cricket and which required extensive changes to my database and associated logic). Whilst we missed out on the opportunity to break the record for the number of bowlers in a game, only using nine and thus not even tying the existing record, we did amass the club’s first ever eleventh wicket partnership, and an unbeaten match winning one at that!?

30th July – Badgers: 185 for 7   Coton Hall: 145 for 8

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[This report courtesy of Simon Fox]

Breakfast score: Health & Efficiency 0, Calories and Fat 5. Just what the doctor ordered. And all present and correct, now time for a bit of good old tourism. 30 minutes later Badgers discovered lurking on just about every corner within the walled city, each headed in his own direction. Herding cats perhaps, but no, that’s for later. Good news is that Wardy secures the set of bright mauve earphones he’s always wanted. One happy cookie.

Now on to the serious business, getting those fit and willing into a minibus headed down the A41 again approximately in the direction of a place that Rob hasn’t been to for at least 20 years – quickly resolved by declaring a pub stop en route which provides immediate focus to our sporting heroes. Thence on to the ground – except Rob has forgotten where it is. Whoops, one synchronised U-turn manoeuvre later……

Coton turns out to be a delightful little setting, surrounded by cornfields with the ancient stately hall in the distance. The field is undulating but the wicket looks good – enough for Coton to elect to field having won the toss. Or is it something to do with the number of fit and willing…. Minor controversy at this juncture as Coton skipper mentions that hitting the ball into the corn-fields is highly infra-dig, which completely throws Badgers’ meticulously planned batting order (straight from the hat) with skipper due to open with Ben, and with Scratchy bringing up the rear after a dismal display of the previous evening. Skipper – having dreamt of fields like this since he was a ‘little-un’ – has minor strop and complete re-plan, demoting himself the full monty, so after routine grumbles Ben & Foxy march out to open up the innings. Ben’s contribution is short but productively sweet – 13 from 5 balls – whereas Foxy settles into his usual scratch, nurdle and nudge routine, aimed at delivering the innings beyond 50 with more than 5 wickets intact – actually 84 for 7 at his departure in the 17th over for 31. Butty then takes on the mantle, making a season’s best of 41 in 20 or so overs. The innings becalms a little in the middle but some lower order biffing from Matt Mann and the Walker Brothers takes us to a respectable 185 from the allotted 35 overs.

No tea in deference to more guzzling later, so in a jiffy we are out in the field ready to defend our total. Wardy reckons he started with a maiden – don’t we all? – but the scorebook can’t vouch for that. Nor for Scratchy’s opener, but no need, how could we ever forget 23 runs from just 6 ‘balls’ – 4x4s, a 6 and a 1 to keep the bowling. Plus a drop, a sitter on the fence by Wardy, some lame excuse proffered about birds flying out of trees etc etc. Clearly Coton’s Logan Snr has momentarily forgotten the corn-field rule! Scratchy’s second one not much of an improvement, 0-37 from two not impressing skeeper at all; luckily however another local bye-rule kicks in at this point as Logan hits the mandatory retire at 50 mark in just four overs, and the ragged looking Badgers’ attack has a welcome opportunity to regroup. A second string is much needed, and Greggy and Rob do the job admirably, their 10 overs yielding just 28 runs with two wickets bringing the game back into balance, Rob particularly relishing re-engagement with old foes. Then the Walker Brothers chip in with 2-17 off seven overs of pure pies, and Badgers are now back firmly as favourites. Only the grand faux-pas of claiming nine wickets and returning Logan to the crease looms, but Butty sees this one off throwing down the stumps for a run-out but failing to remove the bails. It takes years of experience to master that one. The game is thus secured, with Coton falling 40 or so short, seven down from their 35 overs. Ben snares two good catches in the slips despite his bandaged hand plus a clean-bowled to claim ‘best-in-field’ prize for the afternoon and skeeper somehow manages to avoid any byes. In all, a very enjoyable, well-played game in which 20 batted and 16 bowled in a lovely place on a lovely afternoon.

Only to be bettered by tea and a Timothy Taylor’s back at the pub! This idea of tea has its attractions! And so say all of us……. However, in that quintessentially Badgers’ way, we manage to remember that we have booked dinner back at the hotel in Chester for nine, so at 8.40ish love them and leave them, and head back to the city (30 mins away). In and out ablutions, and we are ready for the repast, after a minor reorganisation of the furniture. Dinner has novelty value as starters arrive simultaneous with diners, mains are chosen somehow and whites and reds flow. Thank goodness there is no port, as I’m sure it would have gone the wrong way! At the end of the meal the Chair made a mercifully brief speech to thank Rob and Katy for their efforts, and he welcomed our guest Badger Simon Walker and his wife Emma, and also thanked Foxy our overseas Badger and Stella for making the trip from Spain. Allan also thanked all those present for committing to the tour early in the season and sticking with it. Glasses were then raised to our absent Badgers Keith and Eileen, with best wishes to Eileen for a speedy recovery.

Afters are a little blurred but involve some sort of pool game which the most abstemious person amongst us (anonymous to avoid blushes) wins without breaking into a glow. Not sure anyone else knew the rules! My bed meets me sometime after midnight, so I cannot relate first hand thereafter, save to say that Guy’s reputation is significantly enhanced come the next morning. That however is for your next chronicler!

Statistical Notes: On a slightly oddball note Allan equalled his best score since the 2000 season, when he made an unbeaten 44 in the sunshine at Ewhurst, for the fourth time in the last six seasons, being bowled on the same figure against Ham last year and twice in 2006, at Ibberton and at Maori-Oxshott. Seems like you enjoy batting in late July Al :)

29th July – Cholmondeley: 116 for 8   Badgers: 117 for 1

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[This report courtesy of Allan Butt]

Months of planning for the first Badgers tour since 2007 and much hard work on the part of Rob Knew and his wife Katy culminated in the arrival in Chester at about three PM of the majority of the touring party. In the minibus hired for the occasion were skipper Mark and wife Dawn, T20 skipper Graham Ward, Patrick Redding, Ben Valentine, Ian Gregg, Matthew Mann, and Rob and Katy, plus baggage and kit. Arriving by car were chairman Allan Butt and wife Susi. Rob was disgruntled at the fact that the minibus had a limiter which restricted it to 62 MPH, but from following it around over the next few days Allan could vouch for the fact that the performance otherwise was adequate despite the heavy load!

After booking in, and a delay whilst Rob navigated Wardy to the nearest Boots for forgotten essentials, the party set off for a late lunch, which had originally been planned for the Cholmondeley Arms, but a late change of plan due to an ongoing refurbishment saw a switch to The Cock at Barton, whence (methinks you mean whither, Al – archaic English Ed.) Simon Fox and wife Stella were guided by telephone. Those who partook of the steakburgers declared that they were among the best they had ever tasted, and the staff could not have been more accommodating.

Suitably fed and watered, we then decamped to Cholmondeley Castle Gardens, after a trek through the woods, the main entrance being closed. Here we met up with Guy Walker (or was it Matt?) with his brother Simon who had kindly agreed to play for us that evening and the following day (and who enjoyed himself so much that he ended up playing on Sunday as well!) In a lovely setting, the ground was overlooked by the early 19th century castle, and partially surrounded by lakes and by fields in which an equestrian event was to take place over the weekend, with competitors walking the course throughout the evening, but of course we were not distracted!

And so to the match, a T20 played in fine weather, with Wardy apparently winning the toss and electing to field. Badgers got off to a fine start when guest Simon Walker behind the stumps took a fine catch off Rob to dismiss opener Adams for a duck. With Guy having bowled two overs at the other end, Wardy then called on the vets, Greggy and Allan weighing in with a wicket apiece and 31 runs in total conceded off their eight overs. Opener Middleton was steadily accumulating runs, and it was not until Mark was brought on that he was finally dismissed for 43, courtesy of a catch by Greggy, his second of the evening. Mark clean bowled two further victims, and Rob returned to claim two more, whilst CCCC batsman Willis held firm and finished on 27 not out. The innings closed with the home side on 116 for 8. Rob had claimed 3 for 15, and Mark 3 for 20.

The only incident to mar the evening thus far from our point of view was an injury to Ben, who whilst going for a catch suffered a double split in the webbing between thumb and forefinger on his left hand. Resisting calls from the home side to take himself off to hospital, Ben returned to the field after being administered to and strapped up by Dawn, and later in the innings managed to hang on to a skier. Of such stern stuff are the Badgers made!

The rest of the evening belonged to Pat. Scratchy opened in determined mood, well supported by Simon Walker, and the two of them put on an opening stand of 100 with Pat finally being bowled for 73 in the 15th over. Wardy joined Simon at the wicket, before Simon finished things off with a six off the second ball of the 18th over, to see Badgers home by nine wickets, Simon ending on 27 not out.

As a somewhat surprising footnote, this was to be the only game on tour where the home side did not impose a rule requiring retirement by a batsman after reaching 50, and the only game where it would not have worked to our advantage.

After suitable socialising and mutual congratulations on an enjoyable game played in the right spirit, the Badgers returned up the A41 and prepared for what we anticipated might be a sterner test the following day by taking ourselves off to the Gate of India restaurant for a curry, although Katy and Susi somewhat dismayed the staff by ordering mushroom omelettes, not fancying a curry at what would normally have been their bedtime.

Statistical Notes: The century opening partnership between Pat and Simon Walker was the first such in over four years, since Pat put on 126 with Richard Ward at Seven Sports in 2007.

24th July – Badgers: 212 all out   Ham: 184 for 8

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but a lack of free time and volunteer contributors means a lack of words

Statistical Notes: The 73 run ninth wicket partnership between Mark and Greggy surpassed the previous best for that wicket – the 63 that Alan Tickner and Mick Willmott put on at Newchapel back in 1988, and which Mark and Ian themselves had tied six years ago at East Horsley – and enabled us to pass 200 batting first for the first time in nearly three years (which is actually only a span of five games!!) It also triggered a really obscure bug in my code that took me some considerable time to find the next time I came to regenerate the personal pages :(

17th July – Wallington: 120 for 6   Badgers: 124 for 3

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but a lack of free time and volunteer contributors means a lack of words

Statistical Notes: The Wallington scorebook has Rob finishing on 14 and Graham on 10, whereas our book has them with 13 and 11 respectively. Having investigated the discrepancy I satisfied myself that our book was correct, so it is the latter values that have been entered into Play-Cricket and thus to the official figures.

Since this ended up as a twenty over thrash, due to the weather, my original take was that it shouldn’t count for the averages (for which there is a precedent in the Vampire Bats game from 1995) but I have been overruled by the committee, so this game will count towards the averages.

3rd July – Old Sutts: 175 all out   Badgers: 178 for 5

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but a lack of free time and volunteer contributors means a lack of words

Statistical Notes: This match was Graham Ward’s 150th (official) game for the club, making him (probably) the twenty-first Badger to play that many times for the club. The caveat arises because information on games played is incomplete prior to 1988 (at the time of writing – we now go back to 1984), being based on the innings count before that, and thus potentially there are two or three others that might have played that many games. One possible would be Dave Bowerman, who has ten seasons for which his number of games played is unknown, but since he tended to play a lot more often than he batted (eg. in 1980 he didn’t even make the batting averages because, despite playing in fifteen games, he only had four innings to his credit) it is quite possible that he amassed considerably more than the 110 games he is shown with in the lifetime statistics. Either way 150 games is an impressive feat of endurance/perseverance, so well done Wardy!?

26th June – South Park Manor: 105 all out   Badgers: 109 for 1

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My apologies for the lack of a report for this game, but a lack of free time and volunteer contributors means a lack of words

Statistical Notes: Darrell duly reached the one hundred wicket plateau off the seventh ball he bowled, a caught and bowled off his second delivery being followed up by a clean bowled to bring up the milestone, becoming the twenty-second Badger to take one hundred wickets. The next seven slots in the list are well within reach, especially with six of them being inactive, but after that it is going to take several more seasons to reach the top ten.

19th June – Tadworth: 201 for 6   Badgers: 115 all out

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[This report courtesy of Darrell Pitts]

Unsurprisingly the Badgers started the game in the field, with Rob and Greggy opening the bowling. Other than some slightly wayward bowling at the left-hander the opening pair were kept from scoring rapidly, and Andy (1-25) and Rako (1-35) were brought on as first change. Shortly afterward Tadworth’s opening batsmen were dismissed, including the left hander treading on his stumps, which caused some confusion amongst the Badgers whose attention was focussed on Jake fielding on the boundary. After the ball was returned to the middle it was a few moments before it was established precisely why the batsman was halfway to the midwicket boundary rather than at the crease.

At the halfway point Tadworth had amassed just 59 runs, and there were hopes of chasing a score of less than 150. However, the wickets brought the Tadworth number four Bydawell (66) to the crease, who immediately set about increasing the scoring rate, causing expensive final overs in Andy and Rako’s spells. He took an even greater liking to Darrell’s bowling, hitting four big sixes over the midwicket/cow corner boundary. This raised the score to almost 150 before Graham took a sharp catch off a wide delivery from Darrell (3-55, from just six overs) to dismiss him before even greater damage was done.

The rest of the Tadworth middle order then took the score to 201 at tea.

Sadly the excellent tea, including a huge variety of homemade cakes, was the highlight, from a Badgers perspective, for the rest of the game. The reply began brightly enough as Steve and Rako, with the help of a number of massive no balls from one of the Tadworth opening bowlers, scored 31 runs from just six overs before Rako was trapped LBW. In standard fashion one wicket begat many, the next three falling for not many and the innings never recovered. Allan (31) had fewer problems with the bowling than the rest of the Badgers batting line up (the descendants of the club’s first president dominating the visitor’s contribution, with only Steve, Darrell and extras making it into double figures) and put together a solid knock. Pat and Greggy, both of whom picked up finger injuries whilst fielding, brought up the tail, but even a fully fit Patrick would have struggled to rescue the Badgers’ innings, which subsided to 115 all out.

Statistical Notes: Darrell’s three wickets leave him two shy of one hundred, a milestone that has been reached by twenty-one other Badgers.

Much to my chagrin, this was the fiftieth limited overs contest (excluding matches of twenty overs or less, which don’t count towards the official averages) that the club has played over the fifty-three seasons, with the vast majority (37) coming in the past decade (and no doubt another one this weekend at South Park Manor). I know that there are those that disagree, but this is not progress of the positive variety in my book, but there you go.

5th June – Horley: 92 for 4   Badgers: did not bat

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Not much to say about this one really, but given some decent weather I am quite sure that this would be a good fixture. Unfortunately the elements were against us and despite the best efforts of both teams – for once the opposition were as keen as possible to play as some of the lunatic fringe of the Badgers, although what their groundsman would have made of it all is another matter – only twenty overs were possible before the rain became so heavy that even said lunatic fringe were moved to suggest an immediate exit from the scene.

Ben and Jake opened proceedings for the visitors and the first over gave the rapidly aging wicket keeper kittens, with the ball sprayed around and the bounce not kind. Fourteen runs later, courtesy of five wides, five byes and a four off the bat, Jake had warmed up nicely by retrieving the ball several times and said keeper was muttering about retirement. Horley’s senior opening bat then proceeded to thump Jake’s first offering straight to, who else but, proud father Mark, cunningly positioned at mid off for just such an eventuality. This was our best moment in the first few overs as the second wicket pair proceeded to smash the bad balls to the far corners and despite some generally tidy stuff from both Jake and first change Scott rattled along at over six an over.

The tenth over might well have been a turning point, with Jake inducing a fatal chasse from the remaining opener, gratefully accepted by a by now more even-keel wickie, and turning it into a maiden for good measure. The home side then declined somewhat from 58 for 1 to 79 for 4, with Darrell spelling Jake and snaring a caught and bowled with his second ball whilst Greggy joined in the fun at the other end, castling the new batsman. By this time the rain had set in in earnest and conditions were becoming unpleasant. Proceedings lasted only another three overs, and even then went on for several balls longer than was sensible as the rain continued to get heavier. Fortunately no harm was done, other than to Darrell’s final figures, and all retired to the bar for an early tea with the vain hope that the weather might relent at some point, which it never did.

Statistical Notes: There was a short discussion after the game as to when we last had a match abandoned in flight, rather than being called off in advance, and we did eventually arrive at the correct answer – Surrey Seamers back in May 2006 – touching on most of the other examples in the past decade along the way.

For the record this game will count towards the averages, since that has been the convention for games that got started over the past twenty-five years (at least) and the match was slated to be a thirty-five over contest. There was some speculation whilst we were waiting for the weather to relent before the start as to how many overs would be needed for a limited overs game to count towards the averages, since historically twenty over games have been excluded. To the best of my knowledge the shortest limited overs contests that have counted have been thirty-five overs (specifically Seven Sports, who always insisted on that strange figure) but I am quite prepared to be proven wrong. For myself I’d set thirty overs as the minimum, but perhaps I need to do some research and then let the AGM decide on some official metrics for such things (and other statistical figures, which was something that I wanted to bring up at the last meeting but my inability to attend scuppered that idea).

29th May – Badgers: 175 for 6 dec.   Roehampton: 137 for 8

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[This report courtesy of Andy Iwanoczko]

Squally conditions dominated for the start of the impromptu fixture. As the Badgers turned up, the only sign of a clubhouse was a shipping container, which was in fact just a storeroom for Roehampton cricketing paraphernalia, including some plastic roadwork fencing and some hand-crafted sightscreens of little use to any batsman where the bowler is taller than about five foot six.

Having engineered a situation whereby the Badger’s bat first earlier in the week, and with young Daniel suggesting that there was causation as opposed to simple correlation between fielding first and losing matches, the opening honours were given to DazUltra (aka Darrell) and the late inclusion: Shinkansen (aka Sahil). Brandishing a brand new set of dental train tracks, the Shinkansen (aka Sahil), set off at a blistering pace, and combined with a series of sundries saw the total reach 15 without loss – perhaps the best Badgers’ start of the season to date!

On about 5, with the pre-wash complete, and enzymes working to maximum effect DazUltra (aka Darrell) was back in the pav. You could see the disappointment. He wished that he’d only committed to a rinse and spin, but now all he could do was watch as the remainder of the two hour long 60 degree white wash cycle ticked over. Two-Dinners (aka Andy) came in, and in an attempt to be more assertive scooped one and was dropped at mid on, before playing on for a meagre two just a couple of overs later. Rossi (aka Ben) then shacked up with Shinkansen (aka Sahil), and the third wicket partnership ensured a decent base was made.

Unhinged in quick succession, the relatively three-ply interior door of Shinkansen (aka Sahil) and Rossi (aka Ben) was replaced by a dulux-glossed, solid oak exterior door in the form of Shane (aka Graham) and Skip (aka Mark). The pair showed an array of strokes and in a flurry of fours and sixes when Skip (aka Mark), suffering another boundary-rope catch, fell just short of his 50, and a partnership 100. Shane (aka Graham) was lucky to have escaped a run-out cry where several of the Badgers on the boundary wondered whether Stato (aka Steve) had seen that the bat may not have been grounded.

Deck-Chair (aka Allan) entered the fray late in the session and was pushed for a considerable number of ones, twos and threes. There was certainly no time for resting on one’s towel. On what the Badgers thought was the final ball, but actually enacted a declaration, Deck-Chair (aka Allan) was bowled, attempting a tonk. Badgers finished up with about 175 on the board.

With the distance to the clubhouse a short drive away, we were all pretty famished after having to make the journey on foot. And to our surprise, the teas served were of the highest order. The samosas in particular were well received, and the cart horse (aka Rob) gave a handful a go. Two-Dinners Andy, not to be outdone, got six under his belt, but even he was no match for the Dark Horse at Dawn who grazed no fewer than eight, with at least a half pint of chilli sauce in what can only be described as a condiment bonanza.

Out to the field Badgers took, and the squall turned to sunshine. It was clear to everyone though, that the typically bustling Cart-Horse (aka Rob) was more bus than bustling. Perhaps those jam and clotted cream scones were a clever Roehampton ploy to give their opening batsmen a chance. For the first few overs, the Route-Master (aka Rob) was all over the road and runs spilled. Perhaps due to his new tracks, the Shinkansen (aka Sahil) at the other end was not only the quickest train on paper, but delivered his speed with more accuracy than his net sessions would have reckoned. (I am really not sure which game Andy was watching here, as Sahil did not open the bowling but was introduced as first change in the fourteenth over – Historical Accuracy Ed.)

Shinkansen (aka Sahil) got the early reward. Despite the Route-Master (aka Rob) steadying himself Roehampton got to 50 for no further loss, and were doing so at a reasonable rate. That’s where things changed however. In a flurry of rattling skittles immediately following a catch at point by Two-Dinners (aka Andy), Roehampton were reduced to 57 for 5. Trevor (aka Ian), brought on to replace the Shinkansen (aka Sahil), was in the mix of wicket-takers that also included the Route-Master (aka Rob). By the time the orange cordial invaded the pitch, the balance had shifted to the side of the Badgers.

The Route-Master (aka Rob) was put out of service in a need for modernisation and the Bendi-Bus (aka Ben) was brought in to see if he could add to his season’s total. He was unlucky early with an edge dropped by Two-Dinners (aka Andy) , still adjusting in the slips, but the batsmen were in disarray and in the calamity Shane (aka Graham) flung the spilled supper to Bendi (aka Ben) who removed the bails for a comfortable run-out. The non-striker was gone, but the Badgers needed rid of the man on strike.

Two more wickets fell in the countdown from 20 to 10 overs remaining, Bendi (aka Ben) again in the spoils, and perhaps the Shinkansen (aka Sahil) bowled the other (you can check the results and do the mental arithmetic). He certainly came back into service for the return journey.

The game was tense, and the batsman previously dropped seemed both resolute in his place at the crease and happy to strike the ball, even though by this stage a Roehampton win was miles off. In contrast, the No.10 batsman seemed happy to block out and despite a late charge from Skip (aka Mark) and some threatening fielding, the Badgers were unable to displace either of the two. In the end, the match ended in a draw with Roehampton about 50 short.

Overall, the first up fixture with Roehampton was excellent. The Badgers showed a string of positives including: an emerging match winning partnership from Shane (aka Graham) and Skip (aka Mark); the Route-Master (aka Rob) bouncing back from punishment early to take three for about five runs in his four final overs; Bendi-Bus (aka Ben) again giving himself plenty of opportunities and making two of them count; Shinkansen (aka Sahil) bowling with precision and pace; a tighter than usual fielding display from the Badgers, with considerable improvement from young Daniel in his commitment to chase balls down at the boundary and minimise those getting past him.

Two-Dinners (aka Andy) would repeat the fixture for the teas alone, but it is safe to say that for the matching of the sides and the atmosphere within which it was played, this is one that the Badgers are likely to try to retain.

Shane (aka Graham) on the other hand would rather a synthetic jam tart than a clotted cream and jammed scone. Take no notice Roehampton – he’s on his own.

Statistical Notes: Mark plundered the nine runs he needed to reach 7000 lifetime with his first three scoring shots on Sunday, and he and Graham came up just two short of extending the Skipper’s record of century partnerships.

22nd May – Dormansland: 193 for 7 dec.   Badgers: 129 all out

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[This report courtesy of Simon Fox]

A squally afternoon probably best describes our day out in the farthest corner of the Surrey countryside. There were dark clouds interspersed with blue skies and a lusty westerly wind. But at least on the weather front we emerged just about unscathed, apart from one quick downpour which came and went in the space of an average Rako innings, and out of the wind but upstream of Stats it was pleasantly warm in the spring sunshine.

On the cricket field however the afternoon left more scars. A last minute re-shuffle of the pack left us with 10½ fit and willing, Jake taking the place of our indisposed antipodean chronicler, Scott Conway making his debut appearance and your humble scribe gracing the field for the first time in the year of the rabbit. Skipper walked out to the middle and back, and lo and behold, Badgers took to the field. Skip counted his bowlers – of which there were at least eight pretenders – doubled the result, took the cube root, took away the number he first thought of and then proceeded to open the bowling himself with Greggy awarded uphill, into the wind and the rest.

Dormansland’s openers were youngsters in the new T20 mould, oblivious of the time-honoured tradition of blocking out the first few overs as scything shots were attempted willy-nilly until, with the score on 20, Skip popped in a straight one that got its just reward. Proceedings thereon in were more traditional, although leg-stump balls were regularly dispatched without any dint of respect. Greggy kept his line and length where they should be and was eventually rewarded with a sharp c&b, ending with 1 for 29 from nine. Skip meanwhile was the beneficiary of a most unusual event for the Badgers: a slip catch, courtesy of Rob Knew, who had been craftily moved into the cordon at the expense of another who shall not here be named! 2 for 29 a small step towards Skip’s holy grail … the bowling cup!

Scott and Rob were given first-change duties, proceeding symmetrically through seven overs each but allowing 90 between them for the one prize of Dormansland’s No. 4 Phillips who had batted both sensibly and attractively until on 68 the lure of the reverse sweep brought his downfall – he clearly hadn’t reckoned on the substantial width of Badgers’ defence behind the stumps! Chairman, Jake and Valentino brought up the rear, Chair benefitting from two more catches by Greggy, and Jake picking up a wicket too, having seen two pearlers let go at square leg – super-anonymity duly respected. 193 for 7 off 38 overs was not a bad return, given the juicy lower-side boundary, with Chair’s 2 for 13 from five the pick of the pitchers.

A wholesome repast momentarily took minds off the matter in hand, but the order was then announced and Valentino and The Shark strode out to the affray… And quite soon afterwards strode back, along with Stats, Guy and Rob, as the innings slumped to 30 for 5 in just ten overs. Dormansland’s opening bowler Wise was the main culprit although Stuart Hellier also took his customary cup of Badger blood. Skip and Chair rescued the innings with responsibility befitting the Club’s two principal officers, Chair in particular doing his utmost to blunt the scorer’s pencil. The score moved on to 91 with 14 overs remaining when an outstanding piece of fielding changed the balance of the game for good. Chair took a perfectly valid single to deep cover, only to see the one-stump target flattened by a dart-like throw. Very next ball, at the other end, Skip gave Hellier Jnr at first slip a bit of practice and we were back in the mire. The last three wickets brought us another 30 or so runs but there was an inevitability about proceedings now. Scott and Greggy played teen cameocitas; Jake held out for seven overs, until he forgot which way the off-break turns; and no. 11 was wildly irresponsible in hitting a dolly back to the bowler.

129 all out with four overs left was the sum total, a loss by 64 runs. Skip’s 38 was the pick with Chair’s 20 next best, but the rest of us did not put up enough of a fight. Rumour has it that we have yet to reach a score of 50 with more than five wickets intact this season, and we are clearly not going to challenge unless we can kick this habit. But Badgers have a proud history and will be back, no doubting.

Facts, figures and averages aside, this was a very enjoyable match played in the same good spirit that has blessed this fixture over the 50 years it has been played. All Badgers have fond memories of Dormansland, thus its designation as the first of our Old Brocks outings for the season. It was great to welcome Roy, Gill, Paula, Dave, Richard and Anne, and we hope to see them again along with others at our next outing at Old Sutts.

Statistical Notes: There was discussion between the various greybeards on both sides after the game about whether this year was the fiftieth anniversary of the first fixture (which took place in August 1962) or whether next year would be, but all were in agreement that we should try to come up with something special for next season’s fixture. Man of the match awards for both sides were mooted as one idea but if anyone has any others please pass them to a committee member for consideration.

In amongst the carnage that was our innings, Mark came up just nine short of reaching 7000 lifetime runs, but continues to rack up the runs at an impressive rate, especially given the fact that he is often left to fight a rearguard action amongst the debris of the top order.

If you were looking to identify what ails the team during its current losing streak you need look no further than two particular statistics. Firstly, we have yet to bowl our opposition out, and thus are always chasing at least a par total each week. Secondly, the highest partnership among the first five wickets is just 29 and none of the top four have managed to get beyond 21. Simon’s comment about the first five wickets not taking us past 50 is not quite right, but the actual figure is not much better (73) and the supporting cast need to get our act together sufficiently to provide some more extensive (and consistent) support to Mark and Pat.

15th May – Stoke D'Abernon: 211 for 7 dec.   Badgers: 200 all out

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[This report courtesy of Allan Butt]

On a cool and overcast afternoon, Badgers took to the field with their hard core of regulars, including the two youngsters Jake Gordon and Daniel Ward, Skipper having won the toss and chosen to field as usual. The strip was at the top of the square, furthest from the pavilion, and with the boundary on the pavilion side having been brought in some way, the boundaries on both sides were relatively short and the outfield was fast if somewhat lumpy in places. It was apparent that any shot piercing the inner ring was likely to go for four, and that the fielding would be important. Unfortunately, this was a day when the Badgers were not at their best in that respect, with powerful drives from the Stoke batsmen seeming to follow the two youngsters around on the boundary, and with a split lip for Aussie Andy and a sore knee for Jake attesting to the somewhat uneven bounce. Three dropped catches at critical moments did not help either.

Rob Knew opened proceedings with a tidy over, and then Allan Butt found himself in the unusual position of seeing three boundaries hit off his first over, a result of overpitching. Rob then bowled opener Frost for a duck in his second over, and Allan immediately got his revenge by bowling Subba Row in his second, reducing Stoke to 13 for 2.

That proved to be the last success for the Badgers for a while, as Parrett and Stoke captain Raimondo put together a stand of 150 for the third wicket. Mark juggled his bowlers around, nobody bowling more than five overs, and with runs coming at a consistent rate of around six an over, until Jake had Parrett stumped by Pittsy for 62. Jake has fond memories of this ground, having taken four wickets in the equivalent fixture last year.

Runs continued to flow, mostly from the bat of Raimondo, but the introduction of Ben Valentine resulted in him conceding 22 off 4 overs, 8 of them wides, but also producing two corkers to remove two of the Stoke batsmen clean bowled. Shortly after, Raimondo retired, having made 107 off 92 balls including 18 fours and the only six of the match.

Mark, with his eye on the bowling cup (something which, somewhat surprisingly, he has never won) came on himself once the danger had passed, and bowled one over for one run and one wicket, a smart one-handed take by Steve behind the stumps. With Greggy taking a wicket at the other end, Stoke then declared on 211 for 7 made off 35.2 overs, the declaration coming some 15 minutes before the scheduled tea break, Stoke having been heard to opine that they wanted more time to bowl Badgers out. This was reinforced by the start of the final 20 overs being deferred until 6pm.

During the tea break, Skipper floated the idea of opening the batting with the two youngsters, but quickly came to his senses, and openers Pittsy and Andy set about the run chase (Andy having been heard to volunteer to open!) Steve was soon out, looping the ball to square leg off what he thought was a freebie above waist high, but which was not called such by the umpires (interesting to note Steve that the Stoke match report refers to this ball as a bouncer/long-hop!) Patrick and Andy started to build a partnership, but Badgers hopes suffered a severe blow when Patrick was next out for 19. Andy was caught for 6 going for an ambitious drive, and Guy Walker also went having hit one four. Allan took some revenge for the mistreatment of his bowling by hitting 3 fours in the first over he faced, the third admittedly a toe-ender which flew between wicketkeeper and first slip, but was out shortly afterwards mistiming a drive to mid-off.

With the score at 61 for 5, Mark and Rob set about the Stoke bowling with some hard hitting and took the score to 102 before Rob was out. Badgers started the last twenty overs on 121 for 6, still needing 91 for victory. Ian and Mark then added 43, the highest partnership of the innings, before Ian was caught, but Ben carried on the attack and things were starting to look promising when Mark, having made 43, was out to a spectacular running catch by Tom Frost on the mid-on boundary off a low hard drive which would probably have gone for six. With the score on 160, Ben already at the crease, and only the two youngsters to come, things were looking bleak for the Badgers.

Jake managed a leg glance for four before being bowled playing across the line, but Daniel was in determined mood and with Ben farming the strike, Badgers crept ever closer, until with three overs remaining and the score on 200, Ben was well caught on the long off boundary. Badgers had batted for 44.2 overs in all, and Ben and Daniel had put on 23 in 9 overs, Daniel’s contribution being nil in the scorebook but impressive in its defiance.

So, Badgers lost by 11 runs, but this was a very enjoyable game played in the right spirit, for which credit goes to both sides. Badgers used nine bowlers and Stoke eight, with Hugh Lunt for Stoke finishing with 5 for 52 off 11 overs. Stoke never tried to intimidate the youngsters, and there was never any question of Badgers playing out for a draw. 142 of the Stoke runs and 144 of the Badgers runs came off boundaries. All bar one of the Badgers wickets fell to catches, whilst Badgers managed only one catch, by the wicketkeeper – thus proving once again the old adage that catches win matches…

Statistical Notes: After the game I was asked whether or not I could find out what was the longest losing streak to start a season and expressed the opinion that, whilst I already had a program that calculated streaks, it might be difficult to work out which streaks were at the beginning of a year. However it turns out not to be as tough as I thought, so I can report that we have a couple of games still to go to match the worst start to a season – six games at the beginning of 1966. That particular streak was cut off primarily by Brian Moore’s 10 for 2, so perhaps all we need is one exceptional individual performance? We also have a similar distance to go to match the worst ever losing streak in club history – seven games from the last two games of 1961 season through early 1962.

Just over eighteen months after passing the 6000 mark, the skipper is just 47 runs shy of 7000 and less than a thousand behind Dave Tickner, who is in second spot for all-time runs scored.

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

8th May – Sutton: 205 for 8   Badgers: 179 for 8

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[This report courtesy of Andy Iwanoczko]

I was both flummoxed and astounded in equal measure by the sole cursory note from the mail-out last week announcing that the match against Broadbridge Heath was lost by 23 runs. This weekly ritual from the Team Sec. can in no way be passed off as a match report… I know that for many of you Larndarners, English isn’t your native tongue, but surely it is not too much to ask to have just one of those partaking on the day string together a few words more or less comprehensible than the standard fare? (I shall refrain from commenting on the number of grammatical corrections that I had to make to that sentence, and instead point out that perhaps some of us have more time on our hands than others – English English Ed.) I was surprised to hear on Sunday past (for example), that Amy was part of a 50 run partnership that saw her amass a staggering total of nowt by way of contribution! For those ex-players sitting behind a 56kbps modem connection, eagerly awaiting another exciting instalment in Badgers drubbing, the quiet on the reportage had them all ringing their ISPs complaining that the wwooow is not working!!

So come Sunday gone, we all rocked up to the Sutton ground, shivering at the thought of last year’s fixture played in single digit temps and and force five winds! Shane brought his 12 tog duvet just in case, unable to find anyone on Betfair to match balmy summer conditions prevailing.

The match started unusually with the Badgers winning the toss and fielding first. The Skip and BV1 took the ball first up. Valentino had Stato on his toes, and on his side the other half of the time. A startling first spell littered with wides and eight ball overs, curiously only gave away four runs from the bat. Skip left his spin in the dressing room and pulled out his quicks again, and was unlucky not to have had an early wicket, sadly dropped in the slips.

The Cart Horse took the reins bustling up the hill and was neither shabby, nor successful. He did however manage to acquire a good bunch of body blows that will make work on Monday tricky. The lads followed, and bowling well, but Sutton were only two down with 100 on the board. The overs trundled on and when at about the 160 mark with about five down and about ten overs to go, it was Skip and the Carts who came back on try to keep the total at a manageable level. Save for the last over bowled by BV1 (which as I recall was a wicket maiden), the pair did well keeping the score at a challenging but obtainable total of 205.

The batting effort was almost entirely numerically symmetrical. Order aside, the figures were as follows: 0/0/3*/4/69/69/4/3/0/0 (where * was a score of 21, whose integers when added, ensure a symmetrical finish). All, with the exception of Stato, Jake and Andy – the latter pair Not Out at the end – were dismissed Bowled. Stato, the strictest in the application of LBW laws, was deemed none other than LBW himself. There were titters of laughter at the irony around the ground – one Suttonian even remarked something akin to “I bet he gets out like that a fair bit”. Stato was seething not dissimilar to a bull at Pamps (Pamplona) when let loose with hoards of knuckle-headed antipodeans.

We can all guess who ended up in bed together on 69 can’t we, but save for that partnership and good displays from Shane (21) and Jake (3), the Badgers looked relatively weak, underlining the notion that pre-season nets is solely a social gathering, and affords the participants no real benefit other than a double dinner and fudge cake combo…

We lost our third in as many by 26. Against a medium-strong Americano of Sutton, the Badgers were a surprisingly well-rounded decaf: Better than you might have expected in comparison, though in retrospect, the £2.60 you spent, feels a bit of a sting.

Statistical Notes: Mark’s three wickets took him past Dave Tickner into fifth place on the all-time list of wicket takers for the Badgers (not fourth as I originally intimated in the previous statistical notes) and within twelve of Allan Butt, inactive on the day and thus not able to add to his tally. The sixth wicket partnership of 91 is only the seventh best such partnership in club history, and twenty runs shy of the best for that wicket.

1st May – Broadbridge: 173 for 9   Badgers: 150 all out

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The state of the spectators, huddled into blankets and any other coverings they could find, attests to the fact that this was not the warmest afternoon to be playing cricket but that made for pleasant enough playing conditions. The team demographics were interesting this week, with the Badgers forced to field three very juniors plus the more usual mix of adults of all ages, whilst ten of the opposition were apparently aged between 14 and 18, with only one senior player who would have fit snugly into the middle of the ages of the Badgers eight.

The home side insisted on a forty overs contest, although in the end that probably made little difference to the shape of the game or the end result, and the visitors got off to a solid start with Mark Gordon and Ian Gregg (bowlers eight and nine last week) keeping things tight from the get go and dismissing the openers between them inside the first four overs. Numbers three and four were both big powerful lads, as evidenced by the fact that their 115 run partnership consisted almost entirely of fours and singles, and riding the odd bit of luck they saw off the opening pair then Guy Walker, Daniel Ward and Jake Gordon – although all bowled well enough. The eventual breakthrough came when Ben Valentine (3-31) joined the attack and induced a false stroke from Bolitho (52) that saw Jake take a neat catch.

That wicket completely changed the complexion of the innings, which up to that point had been rattling along at five an over. Nine year old Amy Gordon was also introduced into the attack at this juncture and provided two tidy overs before being replaced by Allan Butt (2-19), 62 years her senior, who snared Booker (55) with the second ball of what would turn out to be a very niggardly six over spell. Ben added another in the very next over courtesy of a fantastic diving parry by Jake at square leg, which then looped neatly into the lap of (who else but) his old man. The batting side struggled to recover from these blows, losing three more wickets over the closing nine overs and scoring at just 3.3 per over after the third wicket fell, before finishing on 173 for 8 at the end of their forty overs.

The Badgers innings got off to a horrible start, with a steady procession of top order batsmen returning to the hutch with single figures to their name despite some fairly wayward bowling at one end. The fifth wicket fell in the tenth over with just 34 on the board but that created an unusual situation with Mark coming to the crease to join his daughter in the first such partnership in club history. The pair added 52 over the course of the next ten overs, of which Amy was sadly unable to provide any from her bat despite playing very nicely. When she was eventually dismissed the visitors needed 88 from a few balls shy of twenty overs but were never quite able to keep up with the run rate, although Mark (73) and Guy (23 no.) gave it their best shot. The eventual total of 150 all out, off the very last ball of the innings, was probably a fair reflection on the performances of the day.

Statistical Notes: All of last week’s flagged up milestones came to pass, with Mark taking his three hundredth wicket the over before his 300th catch and Allan later notching up twice as many runs as he needed to get to 2000. This makes Al only the fifth Badger to get at least 200 wickets and 2000 runs, whilst Mark is the fourth to reach 300 and 3000 (and the only one ever to take 300 catches, including the club’s wicket keepers). The three players ahead of the pair of them – Alan Tickner, Brian Moore and Dave Tickner – have 108 seasons of service to the club between them!!

Mark needs two more wickets to pass Dave into fifth place on the all-time wicket taking list, and is only fifteen behind Allan, but then there is another sixty odd to reach number three and a rather large gap to the top two which requires Mark to more than triple his current total. On a rather more mundane note, Pat played his one hundredth innings for the club, the 25th Badger to do so, but undoubtedly none of the other 24 scored as many runs as Pat’s 4274 in their first 100 knocks,

24th April – Beechwood: 156 for 4 dec.   Badgers: 115 all out

View the scorecard of this game

[It remains my intention to post a one or two paragraph summary of each game when I extract the scorecard data and hopefully that will prove sufficient for those games when there are no volunteer report writers]

Summary: A beautiful sunny day in the glorious surroundings of Otford saw the Badgers toil a little in the field after a decent start and then fail ingloriously to make a decent fist of chasing down a fairly modest total. It does not bode well for the new season that we started the game with only six adult club members on the field – two guests, two juniors and Amy, subbing for your correspondent who was snarled up in the queue for the Dartford crossing, making up the eleven. My late arrival meant I missed Tom Wortley taking a catch off the very first ball of his first ever game for the club. I can’t really comment on the opening pair of Bill and Ben, since I only saw part of each spell, but both snagged a wicket and kept the home side in check. Jake and Andy bowled tidily as first change, although the latter was eventually befuddled by a change of field placings by the brain’s trust. Allan and Tom then wrested some control with neither giving away runs and both taking a wicket, Tom’s coming courtesy of a googly (or something that wasn’t a leg break) which yours truly was delighted to see hit the top of leg peg because I had completely failed to read it and it would almost certainly have gone for byes!?

At 89 for 4 after thirty overs the home side looked to be struggling but a well-judged 50 from their skipper saw them to a reasonable total of 156 despite decent enough spells from Daniel and Greggy and the eventual use of all ten available Badgers in a bowling capacity. Our reply got off to a mixed start, with Wardy departing in the first over and Ben clattering a pair of fours and sixes to the short mid-wicket boundary at the other end. Andy and Allan were then forced to entrench somewhat to cope with tight bowling from the opening bowler, who eventually got Ben as well as Graham, and the first change leggie. Batting at five, Bill gave the visitors some hope with a nice mixture of watchful defence and unrestrained assault and battery (to the tune of four sixes) but the wickets fell around him and when he was seventh out, with more than fifty still required from the final eleven overs, the innings subsided quite quickly to 115 all out, of which the leggie had bagged a half dozen. All in all a pleasant game played in the right spirit (barring one minor aberration – alluded to near the end of the home side’s report on the match, see below) but we were well beaten in the end.

Statistical Notes: Allan came up just four runs short of his 2000 for the club and Mark made his 350th appearance (in games that count towards the averages) although he was unable to snag the single catch or wicket that would take him on to 300 of either.

Ten different players bowled in this game, the first time that that has happened since the 1999 tour game at Heythrop Park.

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