With Captain Shone still in Rio de Janeiro fixing seams of a different kind as Team GB's tailor, it was up to Josh Lee to continue the Badgers' winning form. To date, Josh's notable captaincy credentials included:
- Captaining the Badgers against the Flying Ducksmen*
- 134 hours on Don Bradman cricket**
* although this was recorded as a loss, the Badgers only had 10 men so it was not really a game
** as at 23/08/2016
The Old Wimbledonians, steeped in decades of history, were a new opposition for the Badgers and little was known about them other than the fact that they had played the Battersea Beavers earlier in the season. As such, the Badgers were keen to prove that they were the premier team in Battersea and the rest were simply imitation products.
Before winning the toss and choosing to bat, Josh was asked by the opposition captain "What's your team like today?" to which he responded "We have a very strong batting side today - we bat all the way down". Little did he know that the Wimbledonians were about to open the bowling with Viv Richards (Viv at the nursery end and Richards at the pavilion end).
Cloke and Jinks began the proceedings with textbook patience only playing the ball when needed but it wasn't long before Clokey edged a ball to the slips. Stew McCluskey, promoted up the order, smashed a four off the first ball proving that the samurai cut of 2012 in Capannelle was not a one-off but he too succumbed to the bowling of Viv.
Having waited patiently in the shadows like a coiled up cobra, Jinks sprang forward and took control scoring a few fours before a moment of indecision resulted in the ball popping up to mid off.
Suddenly, the Badgers were presented with an Aussie extravaganza at the crease. Historically, this had always ended in an explosive run out but could two wrongs finally make a right? As it turned out, the antipodes managed to put on a partnership of 34 before Cornish, spurred on by his personal batting coach Cornish Sr., mistimed a shot and was bowled by Viv. At this point, the Badgers were 72/4 off 15.
After this, wickets tumbled faster than Simone Biles across a gym floor and 3 overs later, the Badgers were 7 wickets down at 96/7 off 18.
Josh, with his annual hamstring tear occurring ahead of schedule (i.e. pre-tour), hobbled to the crease to join Bam Bam. The block party began in earnest as they worked hard to survive several overs of Wimbledonian spin with Josh finally being teased out of his crease with a chicken nugget for a stumping with the score at 146/8 off 34.
Robin was eventually out on 46 runs and, after an exciting last wicket stand from Henry and Shires, the Badgers ended on 180 runs.
Taking inspiration from the legendary Brendon McCullum, Captain Josh set a field which in Don Bradman cricket was also known as 'Ultra Aggressive 3' (Ultra Aggressive 1 and 2 were deemed inappropriate for the situation).
Unfortunately, despite two early wickets, the Wimbledonians got off to a fast start and, after 8 overs, had reached 56/2. An industrial-sized pack of Immodium was required to stop the leaking runs so the captain turned to the spin twins: Rory and Ben Cornish. Cornish's batting coach had gone home by this point enabling him to show his extreme disdain for batting (sorry Mr. Cornish) by taking a wicket maiden in his first over and a maiden in the next. Rory was similarly economical and after 16 overs of spin, the Wimbledonians were on 101/5 off 24 overs.
Realising that spinning was winning, Josh and Jinks were brought on to continue working the ball with their magic fingers. Eventually, the Wimbledonians were all bowled out for 146.
The fielding effort was strong with Cloke and juggling Jinks taking sensational catches. There should also be a special mention for Morse who, although he failed to take catches fielding at silly mid off, saved certain boundaries with athletic 1-handed stops.
Catches win matches and spinning is winning.