After two Saturday’s without a single game being completed in Hampshire, Loperwood Park recovered remarkably well from Saturday’s deluge and was deemed playable to host the 1st XI’s SPL T20 Plate Quarter Final against Division 3 side Fair Oak.
Jimmy Manning recently promoted to captain the T20 side and give usual captain Mark Lavelle the chance to have a well earned break away from the rigours of the role, won the toss and chose to bat first. A rather circumspect start to the innings saw openers Cook and Taylor play with caution early on, with Cook (2) being hard done by with a decision going against him in the 3rd over to leave us 9/1. The in form Ben Johns came to the crease and him and Matt Taylor who have enjoyed many a successful partnership throughout their young years set about building a platform for the middle order to fire later in the innings. Johns was seeing the majority of the strike and began to score quickly including a sumptuous 6 over extra cover as the run rate slowly crept up, and at the half way stage, Calmore were set fair at 50/1 on a wicket that was tricky to score on against the new ball.
With a score of 120+ being the aim, Johns (34) & Taylor (17) fell in quick succession and at 60/3 off 12, Fair Oak were in control. However, this brought skipper Manning & overseas Jack Rutter to the crease and the pair began to launch the ball to all parts of Loperwood Park, with Manning clearing the ropes and the car park on 4 occasions & Rutter hitting 2 maximums the score raced past 120 and with 3 overs left a score of 150 was now more than achievable. Pushing for runs in the last over, Manning (42 off 26) & Rutter (38 off 23) both fell and it was left up to West and Lavelle to finish off the innings with the pair getting the score to 150/5 off 20 overs.
Lavelle and Croft took the new ball and inside the 6 over power play ripped through the top order of Fair Oak, with Croft in particular causing the damage, supported by ‘Keeper Cook who took a couple of excellent stumping’s as Fair Oak were reduced to 43/5 off 8 overs with Lavelle (1/27) & Croft (4/16) finishing their spells. With the damage done, the Fair Oak batsman continued to fall at regular intervals as Mike West managed to pick up a wicket in the 4 balls he managed to bowl before pulling up injured, and being replaced by Ben Perry in the attack. It was left to Rutter (3/10) & Perry (1/9) to finish the job as Fair Oak were shot out for 64 inside 15 overs to give Calmore a huge 86 run victory margin. We now move into the Semi Finals which are due to take place on 20th August – teams left in the competition are: Calmore Sports, Ventnor, Burridge & Lymington or New Milton. With the final being played at The Ageas Bowl in September, our boys are now only one step away, in what has already been a highly successful season for the 1st XI in both league and cup. Into the final straight of the season now with plenty to play for!