Dulwich Sports Ground, Turney Rd
7th May 2016
Weather superb (24 and with a freshening breeze later).
The badgers won the toss and chose to bowl.
Jim lost the toss and we were put in yes, but it seemed like it might not be a bad decision as our closest games have been with Badgers chasing under scoreboard pressure. Didn’t look so flash when I was dropped at gully on 0 and even less so when Mark was beaten by a full swinging delivery by Foord (b 0). So we should have been 0-2 but a series of flashing drives by Dollin off Dollimore brought 18 in an over and Jim started hitting cover drives and Southbank settled down to a steadyish 4 an over. Badgers first change brought Hamblin who bowled well and Mcloskey who didn’t. As can be the way of things Mcloskey’s unconventional left arm arounds got the reward - first Jim yorking himself off a dipping ball (13), and then Brims thrashed the ball hard but straight to wide long on - Foord not moving or making a mistake (8). I was trying to shift gears but picked the wrong bowler to do it off and in chasing a wide one could only top edge my cross batted drive to deep point - Cloke taking a safe catch (b Hamblin 34). By drinks SBCC had wobbled our way to 81-4, and when Ben somehow played on to the fairly innocuous off breaks of skipper Shone (12), we looked like being well short of par at 89-5.
But Fran came in at 7 and settled things, partnering with 'golden boots' Dave Dawkins, and the partnership of the match rescued our innings. Fran played in his usual hunched style and worked the ball well into gaps, and as ever he ran like a demon. Dave was short of confidence early but as the partnership wore on he started to flow more - punching into gaps, especially on the off, and remaining solid on defence. He even found the rope regularly (a pleasant change from last year). Fran was the dominant partner though- stepping seamlessly through the gears and playing his trademark shots flicked behind square leg as well as very powerful shots down the ground. He ran like a madman turning ones into twos and Dave into a beetroot coloured object as the afternoon sun bore down. Even the return of the opening bowlers could not curb the rate. The partnership was only broken when Dave unluckily went to work Hamblin to leg and the ball ricocheted off his thigh guard onto the stumps (for a SBCC PB of 34). The partnership was 101 (based on a bit of scorebook analysis), and had changed the game back in our favour. Fran was not content till we had got to 220 (seeking ten an over off the last 3) and aided by Tim he kept at the Badgers. The last over was typical of his innings. Entitled to be tired he hit 3 2s off the first 3 balls when none of them had gone much past the inner ring of fielders. Alas this may have contributed to his wicket when he played and missed and then missed a full toss from Foord (b 88). 2 wides off the last ball and a dot to follow led Southbank to a score of 217-7 and enough to bowl on with a good attack- Suresh 0* and Tim 1*.
Battersea Badgers bowling
Foord, 8 overs, 1 maiden 32-2
Dollimore, 8 overs, 1 maiden, 46-0
Hamblin, 8 overs, 1 maiden, 35-2
McCluskey, 4 overs, 18-2
Shone, 5 overs, 34-1
Thomas, 7 overs, 44-0
After tea our defence started well with Tim bowling a tight line and Will mixing his usual variations of pace (especially his very effective off cutter). He got the first break through - the cutter cramping Lee who chopped his cut in a looping fashion to Ben at gully who took a fine catch one handed diving to his right and just inches from the turf (4). Will had the next too when he bowled an absolute peach to Cloke- a ball that shaped away as it climbed off the pitch and was well snaffled by Fran (5). Will then pinged Cornish in the mid riff area (but not the nice area) and things seemed to be going South Bank’s way. Cornish should have run out his partner Jinks (saved only by a slightly too high throw from Ben) and the pressure seemed to be telling. But the blow to Cornish seemed to energise him and at the same time Will strained his own groin injury and dropped to bowling just off breaks. Cornish started to climb into the bowlers and no one seemed able to stop him. Matt Porter came on at the Mushie Punjabi memorial and was thrashed out of the attack- brutish straight driving him down the ground and over his head (he was lucky some low ones did not go through his head).
Imperious he may have been with his shots, less sure was he with his running - succeeding where he had failed earlier by hitting the ball straight to Tim at short mid wicket and calling through Jinks who was left well short by Tim‘s direct hit (28). Not that it seemed to matter as Cornish went on stealing the game planting six after six off Will. Suresh kept a modicum of control bowling well with air and turn and slowing if not stopping the assault. Ben replaced Will and saw his first ball hooked long over the spectators for six but then his next blow found our own axe man- Brim’s leap at mid wicket managed to pluck the ball one handed from the air and then his leap landed safely just inches inside the rope (Cornish 74 off 37 balls).
After this assault all sides recovered their breath and rehydrated Badgers 129-4 at drinks.
After drinks Suresh carried on tying things up from the MP memorial and was unlucky not to get a wicket when new man McCluskey popped a leading edge obligingly up in front of him but the ball was lost by the keeper and it landed annoyingly 2 yards from the stumps. Matt Porter came back on at the Pavilion end and Thorpe tried to work to leg but inside edged onto his stumps (4) and then next ball Skipper Shone shuffled unwisely across his stumps and was lbw first ball and SBCC were roaring back into contention. Matt then got a lovely strangle down the leg (annoyingly neither given nor walking involved). Next ball he got the batsman to flash at a wide one and Fran held on to ensure there was no further debate - Mccluskey 11. Badgers now 137-7.
Cornish’s assault had given the Badgers the luxury of time and they also bat deep and they used both to dig in and rebuild. Dollimore focussed on defence and was very solid in this. Hamblin was the more aggressive of the two and added regular fours and sixes to his impeccable defence. Neither gave much in the way of chances and started copying Fran’s example and regularly stole singles. Tim came back at the MP memorial after Suresh’s spell and Hamblin brought up his 50 with a pair of fours through the covers. It seemed the game was heading away again but then Tim’s threatening line delivered- Hamblin went to off drive and was beautifully bowled (52). Badgers 202-8 and still a ways from the line. Dollimore was undeterred and had seen his side home in last year’s taut affair at Greenwich park (last ball thriller) and he kept chipping away at the runs. Foord provided admirable support with a stout defence (worthy of a better batting position than ten) and the Badgers crept to the target. Ben replaced Matt and with 4 to get Dollimore edged to slips but it flew low and to my right and I just got my finger tip to it and it fell through for a cursed two. Two to get and Brims replaced the bolwed out Tim and first ball got a nick from Foord - 216-9. High drama as men crowd the bat and Brims bowls two down leg. Again he bowls a third down leg and nervous number 11 Thomas works it past the despairing Mark at leg slip and the Badgers were home by a wicket. Again. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Another cracking game against excellent opposition who were still on the terrace drinking when we left (in my case to fall asleep on the sofa as is about as traditional as losing to Badgers in a close fought encounter). We’ll hopefully play them again later in the year where we give them the thumping they so richly deserve notwithstanding all their niceness.
South Bank CC bowling
Williams,8 overs, 36-1
Elliot, 7 overs, 59-2
Porter, 8 overs, 1 wicket maiden, 53-3
Suresh, 8 overs, 1 maiden, 39-0
Hayes, 5 overs, 25-1
Brims, 0.4, 2-1