After the previous week’s disappointing loss at home to South Wilts 2s, the 1st XI looked to return to winning ways at home to Tichborne Park, who were level on points and joint 2nd in the final Division 2 promotion spot at the start of the day.
Newly appointed Tichborne captain and overseas Justin Reid won the toss and chose to bat on what looked a good batting track at Loperwood Park. Paul Proudley took the new ball along with the experienced Allan Hurst and despite the pair bowling well early on, the attacking nature of The Park’s openers Reid & Cheyney saw the scoreboard tick along nicely from the very first over. In playing their shots, this was to create opportunities and it was Proudley who struck, taking a neat catch of his own bowling to dismiss the dangerous Reid for 15. Proudley (3/36) then struck twice dismissing Bristow (0) caught neatly by Rose and remaining opener Cheyney (37) LBW to leave Tichborne 62/3 off 11 overs and the innings well in the balance.
Mike West and the energetic Liam Newton were introduced into the attack and both bowled superbly, limiting the opposition of any chance to free their arms, Newton (1/31) eventually lured the dangerous Tom Allam into a false shot only to see the opportunity go begging as Johns mistimed his jump at backwards point, thankfully for Johns a quick bouncer an over later from Newton saw the end to Allam (25) who could only glove the delivery to Cook behind the stumps. West (2/20) at the other end was doing a brilliant containment job for the side, giving the batsmen no opportunity to score any runs and deservedly got the two breakthroughs he richly deserved dismissing Primmer (6) & Skinner (23) both caught brilliantly by Rose and Perry respectively and leaving Tichborne reeling at 116/6.
This soon became 118/8 as spin twins Lavelle and Rose came into the attack, with skipper Lavelle getting two quick breakthroughs as Will Allam (4) caught superbly by Cook and Berry (0) caught not quite so technically sound by Hardy at mid-off. Doug Butler the former Tichborne opener then came in at number 10 and showed what a good track it was as he found the boundary at ease and cleared the ropes twice as Tichborne crept towards 150. Rose got himself a wicket dismissing Prevett (1) caught move convincingly this time by Hardy and at 139/9 Calmore had hoped to deny Tichborne of that extra batting bonus point. The last pair managed to get the opposition to 153 and the extra point before Lavelle (3/18) juggled a catch of his own bowling before grasping hold to dismiss Butler for a swashbuckling 32, a top effort from all of the Calmore bowlers and fielders as Tichborne were somewhat below a par total.
A solid start from openers Hardy and Lavelle was needed but not delivered as skipper Lavelle (0) was on his way back in the very first over, edging to 2nd slip off the bowling of Tom Allam (1/31). Thankfully, Ben Johns has looked back to near his best of late and on arrival looked solid at the crease from ball one. The pair began to chip off the runs and ticked along nicely to the 10 over mark where we reached 41, sadly Hardy (18) looking to attack, could only find the outside edge off the bowling of Reid (1/33) to leave Calmore two down. Aussie Ben Moss joined Johns, and started to build a partnership to get us into a winning position, both Ben’s knuckled down superbly and at the half way stage, had put us into a strong position at 90/2. The 49 run partnership was to end here however, as Moss using his feet to the spin of Butler (1/33), misjudged the line and was neatly stumped for a well-constructed 27.
Ben Perry in at 5, gave himself time to get set, and with Johns again edged Calmore closer to the winning total. Perry (5) was to fall with the score on 119 nicking spinner Berry to keeper Prevett who snared his 3rd victim. The experience of James Rose, who has seen many of these situations before, was the man to guide Calmore home, and despite losing Johns who battled superbly to a match winning knock of 51 before being stumped off the bowling of Berry (2/24), Rose and keeper Cook settled any jittering Calmore nerves on the pavilion as they ticked off the last 36 runs required with ease as Rose finished 25* and Cook 11* to secure the 1st XI a vital maximum points victory.
Calmore are now 18 points ahead of nearest rivals Tichborne, and only 8 points behind Trojans in 1st place as they move into a season defining couple of weeks travelling to 4th placed Hambledon next week before hosting season long leaders Trojans Saturday week.