There was an air of an end-of-season fare as Calmore Sports won a low scoring, close affair over Old Tauntonians and Romsey at Loperwood Park, leaving them fourth in the final table having won 9 of their 15 matches during a season that promised much but fell short in the end.
OTs and Romsey won the toss and, on what seemed a green sluggish wicket that had been left uncovered all week, invited the home side to bat first.
Calmore lost Michael Donovan cheaply to the medium pace of Danny Mogg, chipping the ball to mid-off but that brought in the clubs’ leading 2014 run scorer Ben Johns to join Mark Lavelle. Run scoring was not easy, especially for Johns as the ball struggled to come onto the bat and many singles were taken as the boundary seemed to be way ‘out of bounds’. However, in 18 overs, the pair had compiled 74 valuable runs.
Johns was finally bowled by fellow Hampshire Colt Pete Newman for 25, completing 549 runs for the 2014 Southern League season – the fifth best for the club in a SEPCL season (behind Michael Wallace 660 in 2010, Paul Draper 605 in 1999, Paul Draper 574 in 1995 and Paul Draper 561 in 2000).
Mark Lavelle became the third wicket to fall after his 84-ball vigil ended with 36 to his name – closing the campaign with 482 runs – the 10th highest in the club’s history too.
Ben Perry arrived at the crease and watched as many of his colleagues were tumbling, none of them reaching more than 5 runs. When 9 wickets were down and the 50 overs up, he has scrapped his way to a very useful 41 not out, courtesy of an inning which lasted 97 balls and contained only two boundaries but, at one stage, had collected 25 singles in a row.
The final tally of 159 did not seem too much, but the Calmore bowlers had other ideas.
Dan Croft and Matt Maiden were their usual mean selves as they opened up in the OTR reply and it was Maiden who broke the opening stand as King fell without scoring, then having Pete Newman edging to wicket-keeper Darren Vann. The dangerous Will Edwards was trapped by Mark Lavelle leg before for 25, giving the left-arm spinner that one wicket he needed to take him to 32 wickets for the season, going past James Hibberd’s Calmore SEPCL record tally of 31 in 2002.
It has been quite a season for Mark – certainly boosted by his six-month spell last winter playing in Australia learning his game and building up a confidence in his cricketing ability.
The visitors brought about a recovery and after Rob Newman and Gus Flack had shared a fourth-wicket stand of 48, the game seemed to be heading their way but first Newman was bowled by Mike West for a well built half-century and then Flack fell for 34 smacking 2 fours and three big sixes before he went to West as well.
Calmore were back in the game.
West then took another couple of wickets to finish with 4 for 22 and then up stepped young Tom Pattison, who cleaned up the tail with three wickets for just five runs and Calmore edged to victory by just 9 runs.
Croft completed his 10 over spell with five maidens and conceding a miserly 19 while Maiden finished his 10 overs for just 38.
A fuller report on the season as a whole will follow during the week with thoughts as to how Calmore can progress into next season and beyond.