Good morning Friday!  The weekend is just around the corner and the commencement of the second half of the season in the normal world.  Never a good time as it means the cricket season is coming to its end – apart from the fact that, this season, the season hasn’t even started.  Pressure continues to build from all around to #GetTheGameOn but, as yet, still to no avail.  It is time to continue our look back on matches from the memory bank and today is 3rd July.

Having gone on a run of five successive wins going all the way back to week number two of the 2010 season and also having thumped Trojans by 152 runs the previous week, Darren Vann’s captaincy tenure was going swimmingly having joined in the winter and taken over the first XI reigns.  That winning run would come to a grinding halt at Romsey Sports Centre in SPCL Division 3 against Old Tauntonians and Romsey.  We chose to bat first but soon slipped to 33-3 before Paul Cass (30) was joined by his captain and they together pulled the innings around.  Vann went on to top score with 42, sharing stands of 41 with Cass and 57 with Pegler which allowed some late order battling from Mark Lavelle (21*), Michael Cook (10) and Paul Proudley (12*) to post 174-8 in the end as Max Smith took 3-40 for the hosts.  If we thought 174 was enough, we were sorely mistaken as OT&R destroyed the target in just 32.2 overs with Nick Destefano leading the way with 55, Charles Forward’s 35 being ended with a run out and Colin Morris a brisk 38 meant they wasted no time in wrapping up the seven wicket win, our two wickets taken aside from the run out were from Michael Wallace’s 2-44.

Back at Loperwood, the 2s were tackling IBM South Hants in Regional 1 South in a game where Luke Johnson could legitimately describe himself as an all-rounder!  Skipper Dave Brandes won the toss and chose to bat first and at 66-6, was probably getting questionable glances from his father who had rushed off to get his pads on.  He would have to wait a while as Paul Henry and Johnson joined forces to salvage things.  Their stand of 65 was vital in the cause and when Henry went for an 80-ball 56, ‘Magic’ continued to blitz a 49-ball 54 which guided us to a competitive 180-8.  He would then take his pads off and return to the field to drive a huge hole in the IBM mainframe to reduce them to 18-3 and the damage was done.  He went on to 3-26 and with Mark Gardner (2-25) helped to hold the visitors to 151-9 to record a 29-run success.

The 3s suffered a heavy eight-wicket loss to a decidedly strong Totton and Eling 3s in Regional 3 South-West.  Callum Holloway (2-32) removed both openers Kevin Gardner and Joe Perris before Dave Blake drove through the middle order, being the pick of the bowlers with 3-34.  Adam Hargreaves’ robust 38 did lift the total to something to bowl at with 139 on the board.  We did grab a couple of early wickets as Allan Provins and Sam Dempster removed Matthews and Moore but Sam Metcalfe (70*) and Nick Jenkin (42*) combine to take the visitors to an eight-wicket win with 13 overs to spare.

Our 1st XI match against St Cross Symondians in SPCL Division 2 in 2004 was abandoned without a ball bowled but the 3s game in Regional 3 South West away at Lymington 4s survived and we would pull off a three wicket win and we could play a little game – who scored more runs in this game, Gunner Pete or 13-year-old Mark?  The home side would get off to a good start and reach 103-2 without too many alarms.  That was until Martin Perris (4-23) and Adam Hargreaves (4-33) got together and their relative safety become 150 all out, Mark Gannaway resisting with 40.  Our reply was based, early on, around Mark’s 29 but when he went at 59-4, there was some concern in the camp.  Gunner Pete and Paul Bowring would hold hard with a stand of 64 and take us close before both went – Pete for 33 (well done if you answered Pete for the earlier quiz!!) and PB 44.  Paul Sealey sealed the win with 15 not out.

This has definitely been the day that our readers from Old Tauntonians and Romsey have been waiting for.  For the majority of these editions, we have won games against them.  But today, we have two OT&R victories to balance the books (a little!).  This 1999 Southern League game brought to an end a run of four wins on the bounce – seems that they are something of winning run breakers – as Ian Tulk’s side took a five wicket win back up the A326.  Paul Draper, leading the Calmore side, hit 57 and Tom Pegler 35 as we reached 195-5 with a late burst from Pete Clark (21*) and Chris Garrett (18) as Nick Wood returned 4-40.  The visitors lost Mark Miller early but Charles Forward (57 – before he was run out again!!) and Roger Miller (42) put on 113 and then former Goa first-class player Peter-John Rodrigues made 29 which led OT&R to the comfortable win with three overs left in the bank.  And the OT&R captains contribution – a fresh air game!  Didn’t bat, didn’t bowl and no catches!

Meanwhile, Clive Surry 2s were up in Donovan country with an away game against Whitchurch in County 2 and they would secure an impressive 76 run win.  James Challis hit 61 and had good support from Tim Lumsden (21) and Kevin Marshall (24) as we totalled 166-8 which was well beyond the home side once Roy Walton (3-15) had bowled three of their top five to leave them reeling at 5-4.  They did recover but only to 90 all out with Sean Eckton taking 2-21 and captain Surry cleaning up the tail with a couple of wickets in his three balls – the other went for 4!

Woody and Gragy ….. here it is!  We are down at Bolton’s Bench for the County One game against Lyndhurst and Deanery in 1993.  The home side chose to bat first and were removed for 133 with Dominic Newman taking 5-45 while the other four bowlers all took a wicket each.  Our reply crashed to 49-6 despite Simon Williams’ 21 and Tom Pegler with 13 as Hanus (3-42) and Parrott (4-21) made their way through our batting line up.  At 94-9, the groundsman was ready to clear up, the bar opened, the crowd packed up ready to go home and the car was revving as Graeme Lyon walked out to join his good mate Keith Woodhall at the crease with 40 still needed for victory.  What followed was sheer poetry!  Gragy made 5 not out but Woody remained resolute with an undefeatable 47 as they took us over the line for a one wicket win.  The legend of this partnership lives on 27 years later!  “This is the greatest day of my cricketing life,” said Woody.  “I still have the newspaper cutting at home.  Although I did say to Gragy that I was going to get a 50 here but he hit the winning runs with a four leaving me on 47.  Ba***rd!  But we drank their place dry, they wanted to go home but we said you aren’t going anywhere!!!!  What a day that was – 27 years ago, bloody hell!!!”

The first XI won by one wicket and the 3s had a close tussle at home to Burley in Combination West as well, winning by two wickets.  A couple of wickets each for Paul Grinham and Nigel Hill restricted the visitors to 158-8 before Dan Pearcey (22) and Terry Chilcott (26) got our reply off to a good start.  Martin Donovan – who was listed in the scorebook as Jason – hit 37 to leave Burley with Too Many Broken Hearts!  Tufty Taylor (18*) and Phil Murphy (13*) joined forces and would secure the win in the final over.  Whatever happened to Phil Murphy?  Or even Jason Donovan?

Having watched it rain for the last two weeks, it was good to get back to playing in County One in 1982 although we would come unstuck at home to Longparish by 5 wickets.  Terry Chilcott made 37 and Baz Oram 21 not out at the end to take us to a lowly 130-7 – remember this was only the second year of cricket at Loperwood.  Ray Hurst bowled with his traditional aplomb taking 2-23 in 14 overs and Billy Sims 2-28 kept them tied down by the managed to get to the target with seven balls left.

It was a Monday night in 1972 when we played in the Semi-Final of the Sydney Wyatt Knock-Out and a local derby, played at Hythe, against Langley Manor.  A superb bowling display restricted Langley to just 61-9 in their 18 overs with Wilmot top scoring with 18 as Ben Lyon (3-8), Tufty Taylor (2-21) and Michael Newman’s impressive 4-2-8-1 held them up.  We didn’t start well at 12-2 but Lyon (33*) was joined by Terry Chilcott (22*) and they would safely see us into the Final, which was just 11 days away at Bolton’s Bench against Rydal.  Would we secure more silverware?

Today’s closer comes from 1976 and a game that lasted just 15 balls.  Did it rain?  Bad light?  No, it was that short because two players were becoming in-patients at Southampton General A&E!  It is a County Two game at the King George V Playing Fields against Liphook.  The visitors batted first and our opening bowlers were Tufty Taylor and Ray Hurst.  In the first over of the game, Finzel got a nasty ball from Tufty which lifted off a length and crashed straight into the batsman’s head.  He was forced to retire hurt without scoring.  Heaton came in and cracked a couple of fours.  Ray’s over went for one.  Then Tufty returned and third ball into a particularly pacey spell, Strong received a short pitched ball which didn’t get up, clonked him on the head, he toppled backwards and trod on his stumps.  Liphook were 9-1 and four players down as a second car headed for the hospital.  It was decided to abandon the game – probably for everyone’s own well being!