An astonishing 80-run onslaught from new boy Stuart Owen allowed the Badgers to level the South London Ashes at one game all. Trailing the King’s Road after the 40-over defeat earlier in the season, this must-win game never looked in doubt once Owen had lit up Wandsworth Common with his 38-ball heroics. Described before the match simply as ‘Jim’s cousin who can play a little bit’, his aggressive gum-chewing and decision to use Robin’s stupidly heavy bat should have been a warning to the King’s Road bowlers that they were in line for some humpty.
Arriving at the crease after Hamblin and Cornish had laid a solid platform at the top of the order, he proceeded to bludgeon ten fours and five sixes on his merry journey into Badger folklore. Pausing only to watch Cornish and Glover engage in some sledging/flirting, he rocket-propelled the Badger total to 176/5 from their 20 overs.
This left the King’s Road with a mountain to climb – a mountain guarded by the double-headed serpent of Robin ‘Bam Bam’ Mackrell and Paul ‘Pegasus’ Cole. After bowling a first ball which went for about seventeen wides, Bam Bam went on to fire down 23 miserly deliveries, including two maidens and a series of chuckles as the ball beat the bat time and time again. Taking advantage of the pressure created by his bowling partner, Pegasus swooped in to take the wickets of the top four batsmen. A combination of skillful slower balls and drunken-dancing-spider celebrations were too much for Road’s top order, who were unable to get their innings off to the flyer that they so desperately needed. Two further wickets for Hirst were enough to close the door on any lingering King’s Road hopes and they eventually finished on 159/7.
As the gloom settled in on a ridiculously late finish (about 9:45pm), all thoughts turned to the match that will decide this year’s South London Ashes – THE SUPERTEST.