The weather was perfect, and both teams nearly turned up on time... the scene was set for another classic badgers encounter. So, after successfully dealing with a bunch of dangerous looking 10-year-olds who had invaded the playing area, captains Thorpe and Barber met in the middle for the toss. The Punjab captain was successful, and the Badgers were put in to field.
The Badgers got off to the perfect start as the middle stump of Punjab's opening batsman went tumbling off the first ball. A diamond duck for the hapless Griffin. Another wicket fell in the second over with Rich Hubbard taking a stunning reaction-catch off the bowling of Jan Marchant. Punjab only managed to resist for 2 more overs, before wickets tumbled in the 5th, 6th and 7th and Tim Barber's team were reduced to 23 for 5. The Badgers began to scent the possibility of a low total to chase, and when an inspired Gilmour took a further 3 wickets in an over to take his personal tally to 6, Punjab were teetering on the verge of total disaster on 35 for 8.
The two punjab batsmen who found themselves at the crease, Taylor and Hartley, clearly had other ideas, and set about putting together some semblance of an innings. They took to Marchant (now bowling leg breaks) in particular, swatting 10 off the next over and successfully managed to see off the danger-man Gilmour. Taylor in particular was clearly enjoying himself, as he hit several balls straight back down the ground, and it wasn't until the 19th over, that badgers captain Thorpe finally ended the innings, taking out both Taylor and Hartley in the same over.
Punjab were finally all out for 76 off 19 overs and the Badgers celebrated another successful effort in the field. Particular credit must go to Tom Gilmour setting a new club record 6 wickets in an innings - becoming the first ever badger to take a '5 for' and finishing on figures of 8-1-16-6.
However, the game was now on. 76 runs seemed a great deal further away than 35 had done a few short overs previously. The rearguard action of Punjab's lower order had taken the wind out of the Badger's sails slightly and game was not quite in the bag yet - was is possible that the badgers could suffer yet another batting collapse?
The innings started brightly, with 12 runs coming from the first two overs, before the first wicket fell. Pinch hitter Marchant was caught behind off the bowling of Horner, and the notoriously fragile batting line up wobbled. Next in was captain, and highest run scorer for the club, Andy Thorpe, and together with the in form opener, Cloke, continued steadily as the total passed 20 at the end of the fourth over.
Then the second wobble, as Thorpe was adjudged out lbw by umpire Blaiklock for a mere 4. Into the breech stepped badgers stalwart Rich Hubbard, and set about his task of steadying the innings. However, punjab's wily captain, Barber, decided to ring the changes in the bowling attack, and new bowler, Griffin, saw off first Hubbard and then Dickinson in quick succession, and it was the Badger's turn to stare down the barrel of a humiliating defeat. Now 4 wickets down and still needing the best part of 50 runs for victory. Surely the batting could not fail again?
What happened next is the stuff of legend.
Oliver 'the third chuckle brother' Blaiklock came to the crease, and together with the opener, Cloke, put together a partnership that will live forever in the annals of Badger history. Both batsmen had obviously been working on their defensive technique, as they occupied the crease for a full 15 overs, and watched the Punjab bowling attack fall apart. Time and again the red leather came down the pitch only to be prodded away - the batsman point blankly refusing to risk more than the occasional single. The bowlers were not mentally prepared for this attritional, boycottian attitude, and started to bleed extras. Pathananban and Freeman giving away 17 wides and 3 no balls in six overs between them. It wasn't until the 25th over as the scores drew level that Barber was finally able to dislodge Cloke, who's patience finally failed as he played what could only be described as an agricultural swipe, to put an end to the partnership which had added in excess of 40 runs from 15 overs.
The opener had done his job, however, and a few balls later Blaiklock hit the winning run to seal a memorable victory. Cloke finished on a total of 12 from 70 balls, with Blaiklock 9 not out from 35.