Skipper Pete Jinks added yet another victory to his tally for the season in game that did its best not to happen at all. The planned opposition pulled out and Badger numbers were culled on the morning of the game in a suspected food-poisoning-based attack. However, a change of venue, some new recruits and Norman Foster's CC came to the rescue.
The Foster openers were clearly members of the wham-bam-thanks-for-the-cheque IPL generation. Inspired by the Gayle and Sehwag school of batting they each swung their [St Mary's] axe looking to find the ropes at every opportunity. The scoreboard attendants found it hard to keep pace with the clean hitting and it became clear wickets would be needed if the Badgers were going to contain the architects' boundary-lust. Foord was the man to do just that, forcing the Foster number one to fend a ball to Dollimore at short extra cover. The next over an in form Bam-Bam removed the other set batsman and the game was back under control. It wasn't long before Mackrell struck again, this time thanks to a "Latch[-mere] catch" by Foord deep on the cover boundary. A change of bowling at the other end and Dolli didn't dilly-dally, removing Foster's number four to leave the home team's batting line up look wobblier than the Millennium Bridge. The tail needed to wag to post a defendable total and unfortunately it didn't. Some tight fielding led to two run outs, Cole bowled well to pick up two and the innings was finished off by the mysterious debutant Tamim Al Hasan.
Tea was a strange affair with both sides bringing their own and sitting twenty yards apart. Foster had the genius idea of take away curry (sadly not a gherkin in sight), whilst the badgers' effort was nothing short of piss-poor and the team will be looking for marked improvement in this area of their game.
The badgers had 35 overs to chase down 120 on a pitch with very short boundaries. Simplez? Well that's never the Badger way. Lee fell in the 4th over for a 10 ball duck, Marchant decided to just swing at everything, missed one and was bowled for 9 to leave the two Petes, Jinks and Warman, to attempt to build an innings. After a partnership lasting 38 deliveries the pair managed an impressive 8 runs off the bat before Warman swung, missed and got bowled. 11 overs gone, 21 runs on the board and three of the top four back on the sidelines. This was looking like a vintage badger batting performance. Blake added some much needed impetus to the innings but it was the man from Dubai who took the game by the scruff of the neck and got the badgers over the line. There were no colossal Sambrook's maximums that would've cleared The Index building in his home town, just a sage [Gateshead] innings of 36 off 58. The other badger batsman did their best to throw the game away despite Dolli's efforts and when Mackrell fell leaving the Badgers 3 runs short with only one wicket in hand Foster went all out attack to try and sneak out the last man, Cole, and clinch and unlikely victory. However, with men all round the bat grinning at him and appealing vigorously for two of the most dot-like dot balls you're likely to see Cole got angry, turned green, ripped his shirt off, snarled something that sounded like 'Hulk!', and smashed the next ball for four through a vacant mid-wicket. Game won. Foster headed off home, Dolli headed back to Dubai (probably via Stanstead Airport), and the rest of the side celebrated with beers and curry.