Fresh from a thrilling three run victory in Thursdays T20, the Badgers headed off to somewhere called North London to take on Octopus CC.

I’d like to say we were full of optimism and brio but, if truth be told, a barrage of pre-match WhatsApps and off-field incidents had sent the team into a spin. Was Ben, our Australian hope and saviour, suddenly too ill to play? Had Matt Collins, his potential replacement, really chosen a day out at Ikea over a day out with the Badgers? Should he be removed from all WhatsApp groups immediately? Did the vague instructions on the parking sign on a hill near Alexandra Park mean we could park for free on Sunday? And if it did (we all thought it did) why did Hash put his car into first and drive off?

So, undersubscribed and with nowhere to park, Hash proceeded to demonstrate the skillset that made him a one star general in Afghanistan. The parking was easy, he finally listened to the rest of us, and simply reversed into the vacant bay. But the extra player required Hash hammering his contact list with a series of phone calls before he hit on someone who had a son.

“A son?”

A moment of anticipation hung like a cloud in the car.

“Can he get to Ally Pally by 1pm?”

He could! We were at full strength AND parked. What a time to be a Badger.

But hang on, who’s this strolling along in an Australian shirt and a pair of sunnies? It’s not Ben is it? It can’t be, the last we heard he was having heat strokes and ice packs on his forehead. Besides, someone’s son is on the way. He could be your son, giving up his Sunday at short notice. He could be my son.* But there’s no mistaking that swagger, ill or not. Ben was indeed resurrected, even though he still looked crucified.

We went from undersubscribed to oversubscribed to optimally subscribed in the blink of an eye whilst our captain, Sam Allwood, sat in the back of the car with a copy of John Le Carre’s Call for the Dead on his lap – probably the only time a Le Carre novel seemed more straightforward than life itself.

With the son stood down (thank you if you're reading this**) the Badgers took to the field and sent Octopus into bat. Allwood and Hash opened the bowling and, straight away, chances came and, unfortunately, went – Matt Adams on debut particularly unlucky to find himself underneath two that seemed to stay in the air for an eternity. Hash then took matters into his own hands (that skillset once again) and steamed in with his best “f*ck fielders” expression before bowling their opener. Peach, our other Australian hope and saviour, entered the attack and quickly dismissed the other opener, a terrific catch taken by Steve Thomas at first slip that saw the fielders whisper to themselves – “maybe we shouldn’t be f*cked after all?”.

Peach and Fitzgerald operated economically until drinks, going at around three an over and keeping the batsmen guessing. But whatever the Octopuses drank, and I’m not saying it was performance enhancing, they were a different team after the interval. Fitzgerald went for more in his final two than his previous six and Cornish was being hit around the ground like a scene in a Ben Cornish Superhero film where good Ben Cornish had to bowl against evil Ben Cornish. In amongst the carnage, Matt Adams bowled a very decent spell on debut and took his first Badger wicket but the boundaries kept coming – their number four finishing on129 off 100 balls and rubbing it in further by telling us he got a duck last week. Yeah, thanks mate.

They ended on 227 for four, but looking at our stellar batting lineup we felt it was ours to win.

It’s hard then to explain what happened next as talented batsman after talented batsman got out to a cocktail of impatience, poor fortune, and innocuous bowling. Two of the top order played on, three offered up catching practice to balls that stuck in the pitch and before you knew it the tailenders were prematurely padding up. Purcell and Peach showed their true form by accumulating 40 and 34 respectively but even that was ruined by Fitzgerald attempting a convoluted washing powder joke about Purcell being bold and going aerial. A low point for all involved.

With a hundred runs short, the last wicket fell, and the Badgers were down and out in Ally Pally. Allwood collected the team, reminded them they’re better than this and the results will come. We nodded in agreement whilst, on a TV in the background, Klopp was exiting stage left as the curtain came down on his final season. For the Badgers though, we look forward. Our season is only just beginning and, as the German once said – “If you want to win big, you have to be willing to lose big and permit holders Mon-Fri 10:00-14:00 generally means you can park free on a Sunday”

Well, we lost big and didn’t get a parking ticket, so we’re very much looking forward to the big win next Sunday where we’re back in our beloved South London.

*Hang on, I don’t have children.


Sunday 19th May 2024 Octopus CC Octopus CC vs Badgers Battersea Badgers

Octopus CC 227 for 4 (40 overs)

  • Unknown 129 (100)
  • Unknown 34 (31)
  • Unknown 29 (71)
  • Peach 2/36 (8)

Battersea Badgers 127 for 10 (27.4 overs)

  • Purcell 40 (49)
  • Peach 34 (29)
  • Unknown 3/18 (4)
  • Unknown 2/16 (5)
  • Unknown 2/20 (3.4)
  • Unknown 2/25 (5)
Full scorecard
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