It was not so much the Golden but Bermudan Triangle as the good ship victory sailed off to be enveloped in the gathering gloom, co-ordinates unknown, destined to drift rudderless with the phantoms of that mysterious sea.
Short on numbers to give a certain symmetry to the season the Badgers batted first against an unorganised but excited team who largely had not heard of Biju their patron and arrived with no stumps or match ball. However, with borrowed kit, they started off well with an accurate seam attack that put huge effort into every delivery. Their endeavors were quickly rewarded as Phil, Peter, Chris and Rito all departed in short order and the Badgers were 10 for 4. Meanwhile Dave was overseeing matters at the non strikers end but slowly getting his eye in. Alyn, the man of the moment entered the fray and began with a muscular four through mid on off his first ball. However, he could not continue the momentum established over the last few games and became the fifth victim after the addition of only another single. This brought captain and vice captain together at the crease and as a combined show of authority they set about showing how things should be done. Gareth climbed into the bowling and cleared the rope a couple of times in a rapid 27. Dave had already upped the pace and scored freely as the overs ticked by. Gareth was eventually out the fifth of the first five wickets to be clean bowled. John came to the wicket in the last over and in the absence of the resident specialist, Dave Bratley, demonstrated the art of the diamond duck. These days when the tanker gets up a head of steam there is no turning back. This allowed Tony some exercise running for Dave's final flurry as he carried his bat for a splendid 39.
The Badgers' bowling and fielding has shown a huge improvement this year and a total of 92 off eighteen overs looked like a reasonable target to defend especially as the pitch showed signs of variable bounce and the light was fading. Simon, in natty shorts, and Rito opened the bowling and gave nothing away save a couple of wides when extra effort was put in. Peter and Gareth continued in like vein as wickets at last started to fall. Alyn did his bit too as his Heinz 57 spread confusion. The fielding was pretty smart too with Simon and Alyn particularly prominent. John bowled tightly and had a couple of half chances as the batsmen tried scampering for unrealistic singles. Dave, selflessly, took on the challenge of bowling the last over. After a couple of singles were conceded the game was suddenly over as the opposition claimed the target had been reached and the win was their's. Colin, the Badger supporter of the year, could not believe what he witnessed through the gloom. It was not just Simon's shorts and the orange jumpsuits worn by some of the opposition but the arithmetic. The scorebook is enough to give Poirot a nasty turn. Suffice to say the Badgers had a losing win according to the Lucknow /Pradesh method.
Demob happy, the ten Badgers retired to the Patti Raj for curry and beer. The recovering Rhodri came to lend moral support but could not stay in case he laughed (Alex pointed out that Peter's jokes were no laughing matter). It has been a memorable season with performances both on and off the pitch being entertaining for all kinds of reasons. Dave deserves great dollops of praise for his captaincy and Chris for leading us astray. After the highs and lows of the year have faded the kaleidoscope of sensations of the tour will remain. There will always be Lodi.
Underhill Park, Mumbles, Swansea
CAPTAIN - Dave Smith 07941 255846
VICE CAPTAIN - Simon Jones 07590 677504
Guildhall Pitches - 3.30-4.30pm - 635411