The Badgers went into this game grateful just to take to the field after the fiasco of the Merton experience last year! No double bookings this year – the Badgers were the only opposition to turn up this time – and glorious sunshine for once in this wet and cold English summer, as the Badgers tried to chalk up their 6th win in 7 games under new captain supremo, Shone. The stage was set.
It was debatable as to whether the double booked game last season was the fault of Merton, but the Badgers batsmen played in such a punishing and merciless manner, it was obvious what their verdict was – there was thirst for revenge fuelling their fire.
Some have, perhaps cruelly, criticised Cloke for his slow scoring, but the Badgers stalwart silenced his doubters with a fabulous knock of 64 off just 75 balls, which set the tone for the innings. Ably supported by his opening partner, Lee, who chalked up 72, the Badgers were off to a flyer. Then, Cornish came to the crease…
I believe one of the reasons Cornish has been so successful in his relatively short Badgers career so far, is his clear focus when he comes to the crease. He keeps it simple. His mind doesn’t wander. All he aims to do in his innings is hit a house. And, he managed it this time round – nearly destroying the roof of an unfortunate neighbour on not one, but two occasions! This was a Cornish pasting of epic proportions, with an unbeaten 68 off 29 balls, which included 8 fours and 3 sixes. He also found a partner in crime in the unlikely form of McLuskey, who looked assured at the crease, notching a second consecutive score over 20, this time a red inker. He may not have scored as quickly as Cornish, but then again nobody does, and perhaps taking inspiration from the Aussie trailblazer, it was great to see him unleashing some destructive pull shots of his own in the final over to bring the total up to a massive 255-3.
Despite Merton’s leftie captain looking very impressive in reply, he couldn’t find any of his men (and, in one case, boy!) to hang around with him, with tight bowling from Blake, Cade and Cole building constant pressure, and wickets falling at regular intervals. Cole finished with a season’s best 4-22, which included the captain, who top scored with 75. Then, as is his wont, McLuskey mopped up the tail and staked his claim for best Badgers bowling strike rate of the season, with 2-3 off 2 overs to compliment his heroics with the bat. It was almost as if he was showing off. In the end, Merton finished 98 runs short. Hopefully Merton will have learnt their lesson and will never double book the Badgers again!