After a week of wet weather the 1st XI boarded the mini-bus again and made their way to the picturesque Ripsley Park to face one of three unbeaten teams in Division 1 Liphook & Ripsley.
Upon arrival, Ripsley Park had just been hit by a substantial downpour which led to a delayed toss and start. For the 2nd week running skipper Lavelle lost the toss and Calmore were asked to bat first in favourable bowling conditions. Goodrich and Lavelle opened up for Calmore and battled hard in the first 10 overs against some accurate Liphook bowling that gave nothing away, sadly after doing the hard work, the out of form Lavelle (8) fell in the 12th over with the score 21/1. The in form Ben Johns joined Goodrich and the pair began to tick the score on slowly with conditions still suiting the bowlers, and it was Goodrich (20) who was next man out at 40/2. Ben Perry came to the crease and started in a positive manor and by drinks Perry and Johns had crept us to 55/2 at 25 overs – a score affected by the slowness of the outfield due to the wet weather.
With a platform set and the ball now moving less, Perry and Johns began to accelerate through the gears after drinks and the pair had the run rate increasing over by over and by the 36th over the score had reached 106 before Johns was dismissed for a workmanlike 36 in a partnership of 66 with Perry. Overseas Jack Rutter strode to the crease and immediately started positively, looking to get on top of the spinners early and put the pressure on the Liphook fielders, Perry continued to be positive but this was to be his undoing as he was well caught for an important innings of 41 for the team and at 136/4 with 7 overs left it was set up for Calmore to push up to the 175 target set at drinks. Rutter carried on punishing any loose deliveries and although wickets began to fall around him regularly as the middle order attempted to keep pushing the score on in the last 5 overs, Rutter reached his maiden 1st XI half century in the last over of the innings with a huge 6 into the leg side and finished 51* with his big hitting at the death pushing us on to 182/8 at the close of our innings, a score perhaps around par considering we had the worst of the conditions, and a top effort by the batting unit who put together partnerships throughout the innings.
Early wickets were always going to be key if Calmore were to get the result from the game and the soon to be departing Steve Wright (2/20) and experienced Allan Hurst (1/17) delivered this with aplomb, as Wright picked up 2 early wickets and Hurst 1 to reduce Liphook to 23/3 off 8 overs, this brought Liphook danger man Suman Ganguly to the crease, a player who in previous years has won the game on his own against us. The next 12 overs were fairly low key as runs were still hard to come by due to accurate bowling from Wright and Hurst then latterly West and Rose, but it was an inspired piece of fielding that brought the breakthrough as a diving one handed stop by Johns at cover saw the batsmen stranded at one end, and despite throwing it to the wrong end Rose had the calmness to throw to Pegler who duly ran out Ray and reduced Liphook to 50/4 off 20 overs. A big chance then went begging as West drew Ganguly into a false shot, unfortunately Blake couldn’t hold on to the chance.
Ganguly and Rouse then started to build a partnership and finding the boundary at ease, piling the pressure back on to the Calmore bowlers and fielders, and it wasn’t until the 35th over with Liphook requiring 57 to win that the 5th wicket fell as Ganguly (60) was finally dismissed superbly caught by Ben Perry on the boundary edge. This dismissal opened a door for Calmore and its an opportunity they took with both hands, as spin duo Lavelle (2/30) & Rutter (3/39) began to run through the Liphook middle order and in the space of 5 overs had Liphook 146/8, the game now on a knife edge as injured opener Nicklin came in at 10. With Liphook only needing 37 for victory in 9 overs, the game was set to go to the wire. Rutter then dismissed Nicklin, and despite a little bit of resistance from the Liphook number 11, Mike West came on and cleaned bowled him to give Calmore a deserved 20 run victory, a great team performance with bat, ball and in the field bringing us home!
That makes it 2 wins out of 3 for the 1st XI so far, a great start to the season, with both wins so far being great team performances, next up for the 1st XI is the visit of 2nd placed Bournemouth at Loperwood Park, a team still with their 100% record in tact.