2014 was a dark year in the annals of badgering history; King’s Road Cricket and Social Club completed the unthinkable. They cast off the shackles of mediocrity, danced toe to toe with the people’s champions and stunned the nation with one of the great sporting shocks of our time.
They won the South London Ashes.
Since that fateful summer, this ragtag outfit hasn’t missed a chance to lord it over their handsome rivals, broadcasting their triumph to anyone who’ll listen and hosting a series of ‘sexy’ parties, admission to which is secured by possession of a day-glow orange polo-shirt.
However, 2016 heralded the opportunity for a bright new dawn:
- June’s T20 game – Badger win
- July’s Supertest – Match drawn
So arrived August’s 40-over affair. The Badgers knew that a win or a tie would bring the Ashes back to their rightful home. On the other hand, a King’s Road victory would allow them to keep their sticky tangerine hands on the urn for an unthinkable third consecutive year and, most likely, bring with it an apocalyptic scenario involving the earth being overrun by hordes of luminous orange demons summoned from the bowels of carroty hell.
This could not be allowed to happen.
“Come on guys! It’s time to start upping the run-rate!” bellowed Morse, before half the players had even arrived at the ground.
In the absence of Captain Shone, it was down to VC Lee to take the reins of the shiny Badger steed. Having completed his usual pre-match routine in his pottery studio, sculpting nude statues of Lionel Ritchie, he got off to the best possible start, winning the toss and electing to bat.
“For f%ck’s sake guys! We’re not scoring quickly enough!!” roared Morse, as the captains shook hands and the openers walked to the crease.
The game began and the Badger top three of Warman, Lee and Jinks set about constructing a solid foundation, adhering to Cloke’s three Ps (Porky’s, Porky’s II and Porky’s Revenge).
81/1 off 20 overs became 105/1 off 23 and, when Jinks finally holed out to long on, the Badgers were well-placed to push on to a big score. The Hammer Phase had begun and, when Lee was also prised from the crease, Cornish strode to the middle to join his compatriot Morse. The crowd held their breath, small children fled in panic and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo warned visitors at Waratah National Park to look out for high-velocity cricket balls coming their way.
That’s right. It was double Aussie time.
Boundary followed boundary and sweary argument followed sweary argument as the two men produced some punishing, exhilarating and ultimately brilliant batting. The Inspector finished on 91 from 61 balls and Ritchie made 68 from 33 as the vegemite brothers returned to the sidelines undefeated and with the score on 291/3.
By this time, the imaginary engraver was already halfway through his imaginary work on the imaginary trophy. The King’s Road batsmen gamely came back out to play but the tango tears smearing their lucozade cheeks belied the fact that they knew the game was already up.
However, something strange began to happen. For every run that the King’s Road scored, the Badger bowlers matched them in a bizarre ‘extras’ giveaway special. Wides, no balls, byes, leg byes – all were gratefully accepted by the batsmen. Incredibly, Wotsit Wanderers were keeping up with the required run-rate.
Captain Lee desperately craved reliability but where would he find it? He looked around at his loyal comrades. Teachers, engineers, IT specialists, recruitment consultants, whatever it is that Rory does, civil servants and Australians. No. None fit the bill. He knew what was required. He needed the armed forces. He needed Dewi the Destroyer.
Combining military might with special forces precision, he claimed three crucial wickets and swung the momentum back into black and white hands. Runs continued to flow but the Badgers simply had too much for the faltering Pumpkin Brigade. A wicket apiece for Thomas, Mcluskey and Jinks continued the steady batsman exodus and a rampant Cornish also joined the fun, helping himself to a whopping four wickets (but frankly he’s had far too much praise already).
King’s Road were eventually bowled out for 202, including a triumphant tally of 73 extras – yet another total that the Badgers won that day. A 2-0 series win meant the dark times were over. The good ship Cricket had been steered through the troubled waters out and out the other side. The South London Ashes were safely back in Badger paws.
(Admittedly, I wasn't actually there but I’m pretty sure that some of the above is accurate).