The sun shone on the virtuous as eight Badgers turned up for the opening game of the season. Rhodri has been too busy on the stump to use a three line whip but will have to consider it depending on the shape of the Welsh Assembly next week.
The Badgers batted first and Chris sporting a new flat cap (where J.S. Lowry meets Dickie Bird) and Craig with snazzy footwear set the anniversary season’s momentum on track. This did not slow until the Badgers were 4 for 4. Dave and Phil are saving themselves for next week. Steve and Rhodri then began to steady the ship as a couple of overs passed without a wicket. Rhodri was bowled trying to clear the roof of the rugby club as Steve started scoring more forcefully. John joined Steve at the wicket and was bullied into running singles much too early in the season. With his last gasp John played across a straight one and departed to the decompression chamber. Steve carried on in impressive form, not once being troubled by a hugely varied attack. He is very fit but needs a bit of bulking up – a season with the Badgers should do the trick. He ended up with 36 runs - over half the paltry total of 67 in 18 overs. Craig returned to the wicket as the Badgers were short of numbers and began to remind us of the energy and run getting we have missed.
The Badgers bowling performance was much better than their batting being well supported in the field, especially by some outstanding work by Steve, Craig and Alyn. Some have wintered better than others and the training pig may be required unless Rhodri tidies up his line. An entertaining lesson not yet achieved by our resident keeper was given by the Gowerton glove man. Losing sight of a top edge which sent the ball almost vertically off the bat he pirouetted several times before seeing it land beside him - Chris was observing jealously.
Gowerton eventually reached the required total in the sixteenth over losing three wickets in the process. The successful bowlers were Phil, Dave and John. John not surprisingly, now leads the bowling averages and will take some catching. Needless to say the game was played in good spirit and good humour and the tea lived up to its usual generous standard. Alyn showed he has not lost his touch as he picked his own number from the raffle draw.
Two games next week so let's all be greedy.
A fine warm evening greeted the Badgers on their first home game of their celebration year. The outfield is a little bumpy after a long wet winter and the wicket has the familiar consistency of an over liquored Christmas pudding. Disappointingly, we were again short of numbers - from a playing pool of over twenty only eight managed it to dry land. In his dingy dungeon Sullivan is developing a phone app which enables cardiologists to perform stent procedures while standing at the non strikers end. This might help.
Alex managed to persuade his younger son Jake to play and a passing Harpist was pressed in to service to eventually bring the numbers up to ten.
The Badgers batted first with Gareth and Alyn opening the batting. It was pretty hard given the conditions to score quickly as there was no pace on the ball and the outfield was sticky and anything aerial plugged. Nevertheless, the opening pair carried on manfully gathering runs as well as could be expected. Impatience was the main wicket taker as Gareth, Alyn and John perished playing one expansive shot too many. The Chase father and son team did not last very long as Alex was run out by the Harpist and Jake was bowled trying to push things along. To make up for it Graham, our press ganged guest, swung lustily together with Paul and put on useful runs towards the end of the innings. 72 runs was the final total which was a reasonable effort in the circumstances.
The Badgers bowling has not yet hit the dizzy heights we might have hoped for this year. Simon opened with Rhodri and the trend continued. Simon, having eventually found his way home, has now to find where the stumps are. He will remind Alyn, our best fielder, of a dropped hard chance at short cover but of not much else. Rhodri maintained his training session with Chris bowling a testing range of line. Typically, it was Jake our able deputy who made the breakthrough removing the opening batsman with a perfectly delivered line and length delivery with his first ball. Well done Jake - an oasis of success. Paul, nurtured in the brutalist school, came on and woke the batsmen with a selection of 'unintended' beamers. He literally threatened to take wickets and should do so when the wicket flattens out in late September. Alex wheeled away manfully as did our collared Harpist but Jake was certainly the pick of the attack. The opposition were always in control of the chase, indeed they have some regular league players, but the Badgers gave them a game.
Hopefully, next week we will have a full strength team and have something to celebrate on the field rather than off it.
The traditional Badgers early season charity game held at St Fagan’s Cricket club ground against the cardiologists was held on Sunday May 22nd 2016.
Despite some heavy rain the day before resulting in the cancellation of nearly all cricket in South Wales on Saturday the weather relented to present a bright breezy Sunday and the game was on. There were a number of Badger absentees including the skipper who found some domestic excuse to avoid driving the bus. John was therefore pressed into this role and to add insult to injury was temporarily returned to duty as vice captain having been sacked two years earlier under suspicious circumstances and was the Badger captain on the field for the day.
Numbers were a little short but Elliot and Dave Williams made guest appearances so that eleven players could eventually take the field for the Badgers as the Cardiologists batted first. The main pitch was waterlogged so the game was moved to the adjoining field with an artificial strip where the outfield was pretty dry except for one boggy patch at deep mid on where Alyn would occasionally paddle.
Phil and Dave Bratley opened the bowling confusing the batsmen with their normal 57 varieties with the occasional shock ball. Indeed, Dave bowled their threatening opener with one that hit the edge of the strip turned sharply and bounced into the stumps off his pads. However, it is apparently not expected for a batsman to `walk’ after being bowled and he remained at the crease. In like vein, the scorebook was more mysterious than a tired medics prescription pad. Somehow, the Cardiologists reached 135 off 22 overs as the Badgers fielded for 25. The highlights of the bowling were impressive spells from the chairman and Paul with mean contributions from Steve and Tony and a significant wicket by John, bowling the menacing Zia. We await the final forensic reports from the pathology lab and Lord’s.
The Badgers reply got off to a tremendous start with Tony hitting every other ball for four and Steve, thankfully returned from the long grass, keeping up the pace with more studied application and retiring for an undefeated 32. Chris, Paul and Alyn kept things going with rapid contributions albeit after an odd break for tea after ten overs. The final total of 120 off 22 felt like a pretty good effort.
The second innings followed a similar pattern with the highlight from the Cardiologists being an impressive 33 not out by Rito. One of life’s greatest imponderables is why does Rito not replicate this form when playing for the Badgers rather than against them. Peter and Paul again bowled well and Tony rounded off a man of the match performance by a good spell followed by a smart catch at short third man. John gave up trying to control the leg side fielders and Peter took up station under the shade of a large tree on the boundary. Once the league cricketer ringers had bullied the tired Badger attack the run chase was always going to be too challenging. Everyone contributed with Dave Bratley and John getting off to a sound start but attempts at acceleration brought wickets. After a long drive from Stroud to guest for the Badgers Dave Williams bagged a pair for his pains. Woody Woodpecker behind the stumps got on everyones’s nerves removing the bails on every delivery (Chris would never do that). Dave Bratley, John, Elliot and Chris all reached double figures.
However, these fixtures are enjoyed more for their off field activities as Rito’s irrepressible enthusiasm and hospitality knows no bounds. His eccentric organisation of the cricket is more than matched by the generosity demonstrated by the magnificent feast he provides. A Badger 50 still waits in the wings.
It was a perfect evening for cricket: the sun was shining, a light breeze drifted off the sea, the pitchwas closely cropped and the outfield newly mown.
The Harpists who have emerged from the ashes of Craig y Nos are an old foe of the Badgers and games between them have often been very close with the result held in the balance to the last ball. Not so tonight! Just when you thought it was safe to dip your toe in the water again nightmare images reappear as the cackling demons of Aberystwyth return like horned devils mocking reports of their demise. To bury a stake fully into a vampire’s chest requires courage and a strong stomach but to falter at that final moment invites the horror back tenfold.
The auguries were good as fourteen playing Badgers arrived at Underhill. Eleven regular players were complemented by three welcome guests who were looking to join the club: Gareth Stillwell, Anthony Coles and Mark Labett. The Harpists batted first and got off to a cautious start under a contrasting examination by Paul and John. Paul bowled particularly well, softening the openers up for John to have one of them caught by Gareth off a straight forward top edge. Not a difficult catch but one taken with confident aplomb.
At fourteen for one after four overs John and Paul were taken off the field for a rub down allowing others to take their place. The attack rather lost its way as the Harpist batsmen started to hit out after their top scorer had a lucky escape. After spooning a top edge almost vertically the batsman, having given up the ghost, turned to make his way off the field only to see Chris, clearly hampered by his large keepers gloves, spill the chance. The fielding Badgers in the vicinity, to show solidarity with their colleague, immediately performed a collective tableau recalling Edvard Munch’s celebrated work. The Badgers, always culturally aware, have shown their new interest in fine art for this celebratory year. Steve Lisle has seen it all before.
Gareth bowled superbly and deserved more than his one wicket. There was a wicket apiece for Dave Bratley and guest players Anthony (aided by a superb stumping by someone) and Mark. However, the Harpists reached 131 for five which was at least thirty runs too many on this Underhill pitch. Nineteen runs in wides and no balls tells its own sorry tale.
Dave Smith on his first outing of the season and Mark opened the Badgers reply. Mark, despite his calling, couldn’t find an answer to a decent Harpist attack. He managed to wear himself out running a couple of twos but was then bowled trying to avoid running another by attempting a mighty heave over mid wicket. Hopefully, he will join us again when recovered. Dave got himself caught for only eight runs but still managed to be top scorer. The run rate after 5 overs was two and stubbornly remained there till the end. Anthony and Alyn showed some last minute resistance when the game was up as the Badgers lowest score was averted. Forty two was a sorry score as too many played like millionaires for a paupers reward.
A full side and some application on the field next week should see us better Freddy Krueger’s eleven at Elm Street.
Blistering sunshine at Costa Del Underhill and a wicket returned to its natural position in the middle of the field promised a delightful even of leather on willow, and heavy traffic ensured neither team started with eleven (even with the support of the Blyth dynasty), as is customary for Brynmill Badgers CC.
The skipper won the toss and elected to bat on a slow, green wicket, opening with big hitters Phil and Chris. Indeed, some big hits were made, but, as is the Badgers problem this season, boundaries were hard to come by, forcing a lot of quick(ish) singles and twos. Chris decided his health was more suited to umpiring, and got a taste of his own medicine being caught behind. With Peter and Gareth showing little to no resistance, Phil soldiered on at the other end, supported by a characteristic flash and dash innings by the captain (including the only four of the innings) and John Blyth (our fourth debutant in two weeks) at least trying to show some batting technique. Yet the wickets tumbled again, with only two Badgers reaching double figures, and Phil nearly top-scoring, only to be pipped at the post by the extras.
A special mention to Iain Sullivan, who masterfully reached 0 not out on his welcome return to the starting line-up. A score of 72 for 7 seemed a very difficult target to defend, especially without our leading wicket-taker this year, M.C.Nulty, but the Badgers love a challenge, setting themselves an almighty one on a weekly basis.
Iain might have moaned about opening the bowling, after months without cricket and having faced at least one ball while batting, but he showed that class is permanent. He was one of a number of the bowling attack who deserved a wicket, but did manage to keep the Pennard opening pair to beatable run rate, with Steve Long at the other end, unplayable at times, and finally getting his reward with the final ball of his spell.
John Blyth and Gareth were the first change bowlers, slowing the run rate nearly to negative figures at one stage, conceding 13 runs from their six overs. We hope that John plays again soon, as he was also more than unfortunate not to take a debut wicket. But, the best was yet to come. Enter the Chair, Peter Blyth, who was desperate for a good performance in front of the two other Blyths on the field, and two vice-presidents having turned up to support. Although he missed out on a hat-trick, Peter did return figures of 3 overs, 1 maiden, 5 wickets for 4 runs! (Dave Harries reckons this is the first five-for since Charlie Mason!) Congratulations to Peter on this impressive feat.
He was also ably supported by Anthony Coles who, after heading a ball for four earlier in the innings, maintained his strong partnership with Chris, earning his second stumping in as many matches.
There was now huge pressure on the final pair of bowlers, with 11 required from the last two batsmen. Eventually, after bowling four dot balls to start the last over, the skipper frustrated the opposition into a more than risky quick single, and with both batsmen at the non-striker’s end, Rhodri must have been distracted by a Vote Leave poster, as, after bowling straighter than a Jamie Roberts sidestep, he threw the ball back towards the wicket-keeper, only to narrowly miss third man. Thus, Pennard were victorious by one wicket and with only one ball to spare.
An excellent game of cricket, all would agree, and most importantly, played in the ‘Badgers spirit’. It would be nice to win, though…
What a great game of cricket played in the right spirit on a hot evening in Murton! Although the Badgers have still to find the cigar in this celebratory year this was a good tight contest which went the distance with everyone playing a part.
For once numbers were good despite Chris being on revolutionary duty and eleven (paid up?)Badgers took the field. Always a good competitive side the Hedgehogs batting line up looked threatening. However, a pretty sound bowling and fielding performance never let them fully off the leash. John, who is getting slower than he looks struck first managing to hold on to a return catch in his bosoms and was briefly leading wicket taker for the season. Rhodri produced a stonker to get rid of the other dangerous opening batsman before Michelle Blyth came on to claim the limelight with another stellar performance taking 2 for eleven. Ian Sullivan, unused to sunlight, decided not to help him out by ignoring a chance at point. He was clearly saving himself for a rock steady catch on the boundary at cow corner off Steve Long when the chase was on. Great stuff!
Rito and Gareth bowled well in the engine room with Gareth taking a smart return catch for his wicket. Dave Smith deputised for Che Price behind the stumps. Daringly, he stood up to the wicket as Dave Bratley served up a tempting rare steak and chips which the batsman went for like a starving Labrador only to find it was the lentil inspired vegetarian option that went straight through him and the bails were off in a trice. Dave will never be able to replicate the style and sheer entertainment provided by our regular glove man but he is an able stand in.
The Hedgehogs finished on 140 for 7 which seemed a par score on the day. The Badgers started their reply in familiar fashion as Steve Long and Alyn both grabbed a blodger in short order. Then a welcome return to form by Smiffy who escaped from his Bashstreet crew to do some bashing of his own. He made a terrific 57 and put the Badgers back on course after the shaky start. He must have been like Richard Burton in his youth as he can pull anything. Rito and Iago both flattered to deceive one bowled by hubris the other by lethargy. Steve Lisle joined Dave and really upped the tempo scoring a rapid 22 and had he stayed a little longer would surely have won the game. Gareth too put his foot down and after a great effort was bowled going for the miracle blow. Rhodri, on the site of some previous heroics could not get hold of the bowling this time and it was left to John and Dave Bratley to get the fourteen runs needed off the last over. They managed four and John reverted to type by running out Dave who was goading him into a second run.
Although the game was up and the Badgers lost by ten runs it was a good and enjoyable contest and victory is beckoning on the horizon. The Hedgehogs had their day but at least the Badgers have a less risky love life.
Rain stopped play…
The Cheshire Cat beamed benignly over proceedings as the March Hare flitted from tree to tree and the White Rabbit scurried between the box garden and the Queen of Hearts’ red pavilion. ‘If only this could be true’ muttered the The Mad Hatter as he placed the teapot on the upturned turtle and put his pads on ‘then surely the mock badgers would be here’.
Alex, whose organisational skills are not immediately apparent, was the shaman responsible for this mass hallucination and quite rightly opened the batting with the recently resurrected Ian Sullivan. The two set off at a sensible pace as the slightly domed pitch quickly shed the morning’s rain and began to dry out. The lush outfield, however, remained resolutely challenging as boundaries, despite the slope, were hard to come by. The fielding was pretty sharp too as the opposition included a worrying number of young and nimble players. An opening stand of 23 was a solid platform to build on as, unusually, a succession of Badgers Ian, Phil, Chris, Dave and Steve all reached double figures with Steve and Dave giving the middle of the innings some real momentum. All the Badger batsmen contributed - some in a more entertaining manner than others. Rito, resplendent in immaculate whites and gleaming blue helmet ran a couple of runs while Chris watched unmoved at the striker’s end and managed to run himself out. More characteristically, John tried the same and having made his ground decided to trip over his own feet and swallow dive a further ten feet hurling his bat air born in front of him. Rhodri, selflessly did not bat as he tried unsuccessfully to score the book as fairly as possible as extras threatened to top score. Gareth remained in the sick bay.
A score of 125 for 8 was a decent score given the conditions but it seemed eminently gettable.
However, the enchanted atmosphere had so intoxicated each and every Badger that they took to the field with special powers. That well known opening attack of MacNulty & Lisle tore into the opening overs with a canny mixture of youthful and senile intent. John, off his extended run of four paces struck first. Having questioned his captain’s sanity of placing Alex at first slip John slipped in a well disguised quicker one which the batsman lobbed gently off a top edge straight into his hands to supply the answer. Chris looked on in awe. Steve then induced a sharp uppish drive which Dave took confidently at mid off making it look much easier than it really was. From then on in wickets fell fairly regularly with eight bowlers being successful even Gareth was stirred into effective action. Phil removed the most dangerous batsman with his slower ball as the run rate started to climb. Rhodri bowled at his miserly best taking 1 for 1. There were some spectacular catches made notably by Dave, Steve and Ian. Even the ground fielding was alert and the chasing enthusiastic with Alyn putting in his usual Herculean effort. Chris took a couple of good catches behind the stumps much to his astonishment. Having witnessed the elegant dives by John at the crease and Ian in the field Chris joined the party by launching himself in a body slam at the wicket in an attempted stumping as the batsman watched bemused standing well within his ground. Will, our honorary Badger, standing as umpire at square leg chuckled and gave not out.
Dave and Mike, the travelling support, looked on in incredulous delight. Dave had lost his voice but I think we all know what he meant as the Badgers eventually bowled out the Cound Centurions for 96 runs. It was a special moment for Dave in the year of the Badgers fortieth celebratory year that a game played in such a magnificent, generous spirit should end in such a sweet victory. This game will forever symbolise what he started those many years ago.
The Badgers, of course, owe a huge debt of gratitude to the opposition who so faithfully embraced our ethos and played with great humour and innocent joy.
Serendipity is the only word that comes close to describing the manner in which this tour came about but for all who experienced the result of that happy accident will never think it enough.
The staggering generosity of our hosts David & Nancy Waller and family remains an experience that has quite humbled and overwhelmed the touring party. Your match reporter has so far failed to find a dictionary big enough to express the largesse that was heaped upon us. Needless to say, the final chapter of our book on recent tours will describe the unforgettable tour to Cound and will hopefully be a fitting tribute. Once the lawyers have passed the more salacious allegations we hope to publish at the end of the year to sign off the celebrations.
It must have been with great relief that David and Nancy waved us off from the steps of their lovely home. Maybe the refrain of the weekend, pinched from the Republic of Ireland’s football supporters sung to the Swedish opposition, was not far from their lips. ‘ Go home to your sexy wives, go home to your sexy wives.’
Match report to follow...
It was the middle of July as the two sides gathered on a dank murky evening in Mumbles. Bizarrely, on an unpromising evening the Badgers had a surplus of players and the opposition could only muster seven.
Rhodri & Gareth were with Bonnie Tyler even though most fans had already returned from supporting Wales in their heroic European adventure so John and Steve Long shared the captaincy duties - one from a chair at the boundary edge the other on the field.
The Badgers batted first and lent the opposition sufficient players to make up for their shortage in the field. The Underhill pitch reinforced its reputation for gloop as the batsmen found it well nigh impossible to get the ball away. Alyn, Craig, Tony and Alex strived manfully to get the innings going but it was slow progress despite some typically muscular shots from Alyn.
Inevitably, wickets fell fairly rapidly as the lobbed deliveries stuck in the surface and rolled on to the stumps or desperate thrashes presented easy catches to the fielders. Steve, Paul, Iago,Phil and Anthony tried their best to add momentum but it was a thankless task. Lewis on debut hung around for a while. The run rate leapt above 2 an over as Dave Bratley saw the innings home on 63 off 20 overs.
As soon as the Badgers innings was over the fine mist turned to a persistent drizzle which gradually got heavier as Mumbles went in to bat. Anthony seems to be our go to wet weather bowler who managed to frustrate the batsmen with well disguised inertia as the match descended further into the swamp. Craig reminded us of his skill in the field he will be vying for Alyn's crown shortly. Paul tested the umpire's mettle coming in off his short run as did Lewis who eventually found a straight one to gain a wicket on debut. The scorebook became a soggy mess and all entries must be viewed as suspicious. However, six Mumbles batsmen somehow managed to reach their target as the rain poured and a cold breeze set in.
The two sides retired to the pub for some comfort where at least for once we did not have 'sausage for tea'.
Match report to follow...
The Ballad of Bidder’s Bum.
Thirteen Badgers turned up on a sultry evening in Sketty Lane for this encounter with the Law Society Cricket Club. In the past this contest has been very one sided as the opposition have fielded too many regular league players making the game a pretty dire affair. However, a more appropriately balanced side presented themselves in what was a close and consequently happier occasion.
This was the most recent close encounter of a season of close encounters with more often than not the Badgers failing for one reason or another to get over the finishing line. The story of this game gives us an insight of what might be going wrong.
The Badgers batted first with Gareth and Phil opening the innings. Gareth started to hit the ball straight and hard but just when he was finding some timing got a little too greedy and did not quite get to the pitch of one that turned past his whirling bat and into the stumps. Phil then began to find his old form and managed to pepper the legside boundary despite the five or six men detailed to stop him. He and Dave Bratley eschewed the easy, comfortable singles in favour of exciting and risky ones. When Dave departed Steve Long increased the rate with first Phil and then Tony Bidder. The rate was climbing steadily as Steve got a little bolder. Like Gareth, Steve played straight to one that turned and just as he was getting going. The ball before he was bowled was hit hard and straight and would have surely reached the boundary had it not struck Tony the non striker on the backside and prevented a run.
However, Tony made amends by scoring a rapid 18 which was followed by a characteristically frenetic innings by Rhodri. Iago finished things off with some style, eventually running two for a blow that he was expecting to clear the ropes. Anthony and Steve Lisle generously did not trouble the scorers.
A reasonable score of 110 on a slow wicket was a competitive total but the Badgers needed to bowl well. Steve Lisle and Iago opened the attack and made sure that the opposition struggled to get going. Steve was unfortunate in that John was at mid on when a straight forward chance was shelled as too was Steve Long John again being the culprit at short third man this time. The same batsman was eventually caught by Steve Lisle with ironically John being the bowler. Rhodri had yelled in desperation for Steve to take the catch as the bowler threatened to move in for his hatrick. Gareth bowled his usual tidy spell and got a well deserved wicket superbly taken by Anthony at deep mid on. Rhodri, who is somehow back to bowling as well as ever had a wicket maiden and was as close as anyone to winning the game for the Badgers as opposition batsmen charged for the winning post. The Law Society eventually got there with three balls to spare but it had been a hugely enjoyable contest.
Analysis from Chris and the porcine coaching team searching for those `marginal gains’ offered the following; suitable forfeits should be forthcoming for:-
- The missing medical sector, Paul stuck in his elegant doghouse,
- Craig confined to his bunker and the vice captain for being awol.
- John requires his prosthetic claws to be replaced
- Phil & Dave might practise quick singles using a veggie burger on a string
- Umpires, vice presidents or not, who do not give the plumbest of plumby, plumb L.B.W.s can be replaced by an app.
- The club should purchase a Hula Hoop for Tony so he can improve gyrations. The runs lost to protuberance and the consequent fall of wickets may have been the difference between the two sides.
The Badgers were again short of numbers despite the popular fixture held at Gowerton on a breezy but warm evening. Excuses for absence included childbirth this time whatever next !
The Badgers batted first and against probably the best bowling attack of the season found runs hard to come by despite a short boundary on the pavilion side. The vets were slightly less vet than usual including a BFG Wales under nineteen player who was handy with both bat and ball.
There were good runs from Rito, John and Steve Lisle who provided much needed late impetus ably supported by the chairman towards the end of the innings. The Gowerton attack backed up by some rare excellent ground fielding restricted the Badgers to 78 runs which was rather below par for a twenty over innings.
Steve Long was skipper for the day and marshalled his troops well on the field as the Gowerton batsmen did not run away with things as might have been expected. All the Badgers bowled well with Rito and Iago being the pick. Rito passed the bat regularly and when he can pitch the ball consistently on a length will be a real handful. Gowerton, however, reached their target without too many alarms and a couple of overs to spare although Chris again entertained us in his inimitable way. The bowler was again Steve Lisle who seems to specialise in having batsmen dropped off dolly chances. He is currently consulting John Cleese’s therapist.
The Badger score book is now full so the bowling figures are not immediately available. It should be noted however, that Peter Blyth did not add to his tally.
A full complement of players is expected next week.
Match report to follow...
Match report to follow...
Match report to follow...
Match report to follow...
Match report to follow...
Mumbles All Stars
All Star Charity 11
MATCH REPORTS 2016
Underhill Park, Mumbles, Swansea
CAPTAIN - Dave Smith 07941 255846
VICE CAPTAIN - Simon Jones 07590 677504
Guildhall Pitches - 3.30-4.30pm - 635411