A hot summer evening presented perfect playing conditions for a new contest in the Badger calendar. A Badger challenge to a select Chairman Invitation XI.
Peter Blyth was honorary captain for the day and the on-field duties were conducted by Dave, who returns having been sorely missed the week before.
The Badgers batted first. The opening pair of Dylan, seconded from the jeunesse d’oree de Mayals, and Craig promised haymaking in the sunshine. However, such promises are seldom kept and Craig, who is never less than in a hurry, was seduced by a lollipop in the slot. His eyes were on the distant boundary long before they were on the ball and was bowled heaving across an unerring line. Rito, in full regalia with batting tiara and cufflinks then joined Dylan at the crease for a rollicking but short lived partnership. Dylan was smartly caught and bowled with a ton of runs still to bank for a rapid 12. Rito carried on serenely hitting the ball sharply but missing the gaps. He was joined by Chris who has struggled to find his form this season, but this surely was his day. Two balls later he was still struggling failing in due deference to send back a charging Rito and was run out by some distance. Simon came in and annoyingly resumed his sparkling recent form. His eye was clearer than in Alicante and he middled the ball from the off. Rito managed to get himself bowled as the Chairman’s XI brought on their best. An accurate left arm quickish bowler can take time to adjust to, but Rito decided that this was not the case. He completed his innings on 13 which should have been so much more. Simon bludgeoned his way to the retiring target of 30 off 9 scoring shots, Rito reached 13 off 11. Peter Blyth came to the crease to steady the ship, a calming influence amongst the mayhem. However, he introduced the potential for more as he brought a runner with him. Rito looked on enviously considering possible stratagems. The skipper got a good one and was out lbw without troubling the scorers, which was a bit of payback for them. Iago joined the chairman at the crease and proceeded to test the always fraught relationship of batsman and runner (Craig) at the other end. Peter collected more sharp singles than he is accustomed to take and might consider extending his injury time. Iago produced a sumptuous cover drive, perfect in timing and technique. That it only went for one demonstrated his current form – one moment a millionaire the next all fur coat and no knickers. Iago was bowled for 7, and the chairman demonstrating Newton’s laws of motion was stumped for 9. Alyn perished in the final assault and Alex was marooned on 1, as was John disguised as Ian Sullivan. The Badgers reached 78 for 8 although it felt like more.
The Invitation XI openers immediately showed a belligerent intent going hard at the ball. Iago and Rito opened the Badger attack. And kept their nerve. It was in Rito’s second over that in an episode of historic irony that the champagne moment occurred. Rito, weary of the batsman’s refusal to get out, decided to change the line of his attack. Adopting the imperious commands of Dave Rees in his pomp he reset the field. Dylan, who was fielding on the rope at midwicket was brought in a precise number of yards to the useful saving three position. Rito bowled a devastating long hop that the batsman middled and sent unerringly at chest height to the relocated Dylan who simply had to take a fine catch or a heavy bruise. Thankfully it was the former. At first change John was punished by both batsmen and fielders while Sully was meaner but without his normal penetration. Dylan followed and immediately stopped the other opener in his tracks with a quick straight one. Alyn whose bowling is slowly returning to productive form kept the pressure on. Whatever runs he concedes is more than made up for by his ferocious fielding. Dave Bratley and Alex gave nothing away but in the end there was nothing left to defend.
Commendably Ayush arrived for a run out on the field for half a dozen overs, showing more commitment than others to the cause. Dave Harris and Nick Rogers turned out in support.
A traditional fixture awaits against the Gowerton Vets. Its about time we beat them as well as eating their food.
Underhill Park, Mumbles, Swansea
CAPTAIN - Dave Smith 07941 255846
VICE CAPTAIN - Simon Jones 07590 677504
Guildhall Pitches - 3.30-4.30pm - 635411