Extra! Extra! Read all about it Badgers triumphant at Underhill. The news of Alyn Ridler's ‘man of the match’ performance has gone viral. Bloggers blog and tweeters tweet to spread the gospel of a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable game in the gloom and drizzle that could not dampen the badger spirit.
Gareth stood in for the skipper who was stuck in the abysmal end of term traffic and won the toss. His decision to bat first was telling a product of great cricketing wisdom or the fact we were as usual still waiting for a full complement of players. John and Alyn opened with a watery sun still peeping out through the darkening skies. The start was solid if not spectacular as the spongy pitch and lush outfield made quick runs awkward to come by. John perished fairly quickly trying to go over the top as Alyn began to find his touch. As Dave Bratley, Simon and Rhodri joined Alyn in a supporting role the run rate was reasonable and momentum maintained. Everyone chipped but boundaries continued to be as rare as hen's teeth only Simon and Alyn having the muscle to find one a piece. In the last few overs Dave came in to give a final flurry to the total as Alyn's team mates counted down towards a long awaited 50. Exasperatingly, it would not come as the rain began to fall more heavily and the ball soften. Shots that would normally have yielded twos or even fours were giving reluctant singles. Alyn eventually carried his bat for 48 and left the field to justifiable acclaim - a proper Badger innings by a proper Badger!
The total of 102 for 4 seemed perhaps a little slim even in the now dismal conditions. However, the Badger fielding and bowling performances of late have been well above par. The plucky Harpists began their innings in very busy fashion deftly finding some gaps and pushing for irritating singles. However, they were never allowed to get away with things as Gareth and Ian bowled tidily despite a now soggy ball and wet run ups. The momentum was surprisingly further contained when the pace was taken off the ball with the introduction of John and Steve Long into the attack. There were several chances and near things until the first breakthrough was made. In the absence of our resident acrobat Craig, Steve Lisle has began to threaten his supremacy in the field. Steve Long dropped a little short and the left handed opener pulled hard to square leg where Steve realising he might have to turn and chase the ball took off and dived full length to his left managing to pluck the ball cleanly out of the air and hang on as he hit the ground. Craig will be scratching his head. From then on in wickets began to fall regularly as the bowling was naggingly accurate and the batsmen became more desperate. Dave Bratley continued his profitable season claiming two more wickets - both of them bowled. It is not his straight arm we are worried about now but his bent one! Gareth returned for a second short spell and also grabbed two. Steve Lisle was asked to bowl the penultimate over when the game was very much in the balance with the harpists needing about a run a ball. He took a crucial wicket that severely dented the opposition morale. Significantly, the scorebook shows a possibly unique dismissal `Caught Price bowled Lisle'. As a further great comfort to Chris the Harpist keeper had earlier experienced a Herschelle Gibbs moment.
The skipper who managed the field superbly despite some chuntering from deep mid wicket took on the burden of bowling the last over when nine runs were required. His nerve and his line held as two wickets fell in successive balls and the match was won. He had earlier taken a third wicket which was brilliantly caught at deep mid on by Alyn to secure his `man of the match accolade'.
A great win which reflected a general improvement all round with everyone contributing in one way or another. The skipper is off on a well deserved holiday returning to Italy in search of more Machiavellian strategies to implement on his return.
At the debrief in the Mumbles Ale House food was brought in from the chip shop up the road bizarrely cooked by Gareth late of the Newton Inn. Isn't life strange.
Underhill Park, Mumbles, Swansea
CAPTAIN - Dave Smith 07941 255846
VICE CAPTAIN - Simon Jones 07590 677504
Guildhall Pitches - 3.30-4.30pm - 635411