Run-machine Martin Cloke proved the scourge of Southbank once again with a majestic 79 not out. Having faced the first ball of the Badger innings, he carried his bat and hit the winning runs to lead the Badgers to 9-wicket victory.
On a sweltering summer’s day, the Badgers suffered an early disappointment, being asked to change behind closed doors rather than undressing at pitch-side. It transpired that previous complaints from the neighbouring houses, presumably from those forced to stomach Allyn’s bare torso all day, had led to a blanket veto on Badger skin being on show.
Undeterred by this attack on their freedom of bodily expression, the Badgers took their fury out on the Southbank batsmen. A magnificent one-handed catch down the leg-side from Jinks set the ball rolling and there was no let-up for the rest of the innings – Southbank eventually bowled out for 174.
Faced by the modest total, openers Cloke and Lee were able to play their natural textbook/grinding/blocking/accumulating/seeing-off-the-new-ball/sensible/slow/impressive/professional/untroubled/imperious game (depending on your viewpoint). Whatever your choice of adjective, their excellent opening stand of 125 runs all but won the game for the Badgers, with both men reaching their half-centuries to great acclaim from the crowd and an impromptu piece of break-dancing from Jinks.
Despite the lack tension in the finish to the game, those who stayed for post-match drinks were treated to a pint-downing competition extraordinaire. Reigning champion Paul Cole, who earlier proclaimed, “If I don't grunt, there’s a chance I’m not ripping it hard enough,” found himself dethroned by young upstart Charlie Walker, whose own pint-downing expertise is available to view on Dailymotion.com. All customers to Paul’s cricket shop can expect to receive a free ‘challenge’, as he works himself back into drinking shape for the inevitable rematch.