The Badgers arrived at Southbank’s lush Dulwich ground with the morning’s rain having just cleared, and on strolling out to the middle found a pitch which bore a strong resemblance to corrugated iron, only greener. Given this, and with the squad eager to adopt the patented “bowl first, beer second” method so popular at Southbank, Rexy was wished all the best for the toss - unfortunately he lost and we were inserted.
Any early fears about the pitch seemed valid when Foord (filling in for the tardy Justin, whose car wouldn’t start) chopped on early to one which kept low, but it behaved fairly well over the day, especially given the time of year. Cloke and Steve saw off most of a probing spell from both openers, before Justin finally arrived and “kept driving” - taking a few chances to score a quickfire fifty, his first for the Badgers.
That derring-do infected Shone, who also played his shots in making 39, and he was joined by Alex in equally positive mood as the Southbank change bowlers were steadily milked (what a mental image) for 5 to 6 runs an over. Jim applied the cherry on top of a well-constructed innings with a violent 29, which left us with what felt a very competitive 214.
After tea, the Rhino continued that form with a consistent but luckless opening spell. Sam made the breakthrough at the other end, and along with Kieran continued to keep it tight. Southbank were only one down at drinks but well behind the asking rate, and couldn’t kick on afterwards either as Alex bowled a tight spell. He was unlucky not to get a wicket, but only had himself to blame, dropping two tough caught and bowled chances (though he later redeemed himself with a leaping catch at cover).
As Southbank upped the ante, Kieran and Karl secured their first Badger wickets, before Foord made an unexpected and impressive return to bowling, delivering an unplayable spell of away swing which ensured that victory was never in doubt.
Justin was Badger of the Match for his 54 and, though he celebrated the right way by buying his first Badgers jug, had to make a hasty exit and was last seen pushing his car in the direction of Islington.