The first game of each season is often accompanied by bags of mixed emotions—the eagerness for willow on leather is offset by worries of ring rust or indeed, the volatility of the English weather.
As the intrepid duo of Lee and Cornish set off from Clapham Junction, thoughts were largely revolved around the quality of the sausage rolls procured in the station and whether the 'award-winning handmade' sausage roll was worth the premium over the standard edition. Shortly after arriving at East Croydon, they were joined by Hamblin who was still affectionately holding onto Jessica, his cricket bat. Rumour has it that he not let go of her since Cyprus tour.
Upon reaching Addiscombe Cricket Club, the three set about inspecting the facilities. The first thing which really caught their eye was the comfortable-looking clubhouse with a fully stocked bar. The Australian in the group was drawn to the glistening beer taps like a fly to a light and suggested a pre-game refreshment (probably Fosters). Lee and Hamblin, prioritizing cricket over beer, decided to inspect the wicket first.
The outfield looked amazing. Not a hole or hillock in sight. The grass was green, lush and freshly mown. The wicket looked perfect—as flat as the salt plains of Bolivia and not a blemish in sight. It was only then that they realised that they had travelled to the wrong cricket ground. Fortunately, the chairman of Addiscombe Cricket Club was kindly on hand to provide them with a lift to the correct cricket pitch.
The Badgers, batting first, got off to a shakey start with Cloke, Lee and Barker all succumbing to a bit of ring rust and leaving the batting side precariously on 34/3 after ~11 overs. Not even the arrival of Jinks nor the sunshine could stop a collapse from happening and the Badgers were soon 49/5.
Captain Foord, not expecting to bat and putting himself low down the order, was forced to extract himself from his incredibly short shorts and put on a set of whites. When he had finally managed to get out of his shorts, he strode out to the middle with the Badgers on 73/7 off 23 overs.
Like all good Captains, he set about steadying the ship hitting boundaries for fun. The Badgers eventually reached 158 all out due to a 66-run contribution from the Badgers former youngest-player-of-the-team.
The skilled fingers of the Badgers really came into their own during the bowling with Cadey (6 overs, 20 runs, 4 wickets) and Jinksy (6 overs, 24 runs, 3 wickets) spinning Addiscombe into submission. The scorecard also suggests that Cadey took 4 catches but I don't really remember this so it probably didn't happen. Or that I drank too much beer afterwards ...
The Badgers had managed to carve out a win thanks largely to the Foordy's contribution with the bat. After the game, they were allowed to return to the clubhouse where many beers and much banter was enjoyed by all. Marvellous.