A fine evening in Underhill Park saw the Badgers take on the mercurial eleven from the Evening Post.
Following the snap election that provided neither crackle nor pop the Badgers returned to the comfort of their natural lethargy. At the appointed time for start of play a sample of four players had arrived. Consequently, an exasperated vice captain agreed to a game reduced to 18 overs and had to bat first.
The innings was opened by the Bratley boys who went off at such a pace that John was still searching for his box when the first wicket fell. From then on in a sensible sedate pace was set as Iago tried to test the fitness of his puffing companion. He rather surprisingly got bowled just as he started showing some intent. Alex then gave the innings some momentum hitting the ball hard and inelegantly and after John failed his bleep test was joined by Steve in the best partnership of the innings. Both top scored on 14. The Underhill surface is not the batsman's friend and it is a bit of a lottery when trying to push the pace. Simon scored 50% more runs than last time and Alyn perished run out at the third attempt when going for it. Craig took one for the team coming in in the last over with a strike rate of 200/100balls. The chairman entered the fray with three balls remaining and to ensure the Badgers batted for all their allotted overs stylishly defended his wicket for two balls before being bowled by the third. The gnashing vice captain was left stranded on 5 not out.
A target of 67 looked a good 30 runs short and the chameleon Underhill surface tends to favour the chasing side. However, the Badger bowling proved to be up for the task and was the meanest it has ever been. Craig is finding his form at last and took a good wicket as did Steve Long and Iago. John also chipped in late after being violated by a middle order swinger who took one liberty too many. Gareth, however, donned the crusader's cape and bowled with an accuracy and control rarely seen in a Badger attack. His first of two wickets was the inevitable culmination of an over to a well set batsman that probed and tested with subtle variations in line and length that completely undid the opener who was trying desperately to score off him. A magnificent wicket maiden that deserves special recognition (Flintoff to Ponting). The ground fielding was adequate but there are still certain sections where the concept of the long barrier is an alien one. Craig has set the bar pretty high in the field and having uncharacteristically missed a half chance and rattled his change in the process clung on to a real stonker left handed at short cover. With a bit of luck this game could have been won. Unfortunately, the skipper was on call saving himself for the challenges of leading his men on a campaign in foreign fields. Every Badger will be envigorated by his return and follow his example on and off the field wherever that path may lead.
Underhill Park, Mumbles, Swansea
CAPTAIN - Dave Smith 07941 255846
VICE CAPTAIN - Simon Jones 07590 677504
Guildhall Pitches - 3.30-4.30pm - 635411