An all-round team performance, with Blake shining with the ball and Lee the bat, saw the Badgers victorious by 49 runs. The margin of victory does not though reflect a spirited Believers performance that saw the match ebb and flow.
Captain Shone won the toss and chose to bat, sending in Cloke and Dollimore to face the wily Believers swing bowling. A well-crafted 49 partnership from 13 overs (strike rate 63 percent) got the Badgers going. This was followed up with free hitting from Cornish and Shone taking the Badgers to 89-3. Looking to move on, the Badgers were stymied by some low bounce and quick wickets fell taking them to 90-5.
This brought Lee and Thorpe together at the crease, who first steadied and then propelled the good ship Badger forward. Their 85 run partnership was invaluable in setting up the Badgers with a defendable total. Lee top scoring on 42 and Thorpe’s 32 proving an important contribution. With the Badgers looking for quick scoring from the tail and wickets falling, Captain Shone decisively called the declaration after 42 overs. The Believers set 180 to win from approximately 38 overs (but it being a timed game no one was really sure).
Lee was asked by the Skip to take the new cherry (rumours are he can also sing the theme tune). This got the Badgers going but also the Believers who started quickly out of the blocks and were well above the required rate. However, Blake was not going to take this and some quick, aggressive bowling saw him regularly taking wickets, including bowling the key wicket of the Believers No 3. Blake finishing on a Badger career best of 4-37, unbelievably his first four-fer for the Badgers and completely justifying his Badger of the Match award.
At 5.30pm, with 20 overs left in the match, the game was finely poised with the Believers needing 100 runs with 5 wickets remaining. With two set batsman in it was beginning to look ominous but the baby faced assassin Thomas was on hand to take a crucial wicket through a stumping that Cornish took an age to make.
Some sharp catching around the bat, particularly a stretching dive from the long limbed Cole, saw off the remaining wickets in relatively short order.
As John Stuart Mills said, one person with a belief is equal to 99 who have only interests. With 4 wins now in a row over the Believers, its beginning to feel 11 Badgers are more than equal to 11 who are Believers.