Five days to go before we are permitted to play cricket again.  The excitement mounts.  That light at the end of the tunnel is finally beaming brightly but we just have to wait a little longer for what kind of cricket we are going to see.  Won’t be long now though.  In the meantime, it’s 6th July and we have memories to jog!

We will start today with the continuation of a good season in SPCL Division Two in 2013 and a big win over Tichborne Park at Loperwood Park which would give us our eighth win from ten and surprisingly for a game against the mid-Hampshire men, Mark Lavelle didn’t bowl!  In fairness, he wasn’t needed once the visitors won the toss, chose to bat first and were rumbled for just 80 in 31.2 overs thanks to an impressive opening from Paul Proudley (2-13) and then a stellar showing from the slow left-arm of Elijah Turriff-Smith who bowled his 10 overs and took 3-14.  Mike West (2-21) and James Rose (2-7) supported him well with Martin Cheyney’s 26 the only score of note.  Things didn’t start that well as we chased the meagre total with a few nerve jangling at 22-3 and 46-4 but Tom Pegler and West both hit five fours to safely see us over the line in only 16.2 overs.

The 2s game at Highfield in County 3 South saw over 500 runs scored but, unfortunately for us, we would fall just six runs shy in a fine chase which could have gone either way.  The home side rattled up 256-9 in their 45 overs with opener Francis Batt cracking 72 and five other batsman scoring between 20 and 30 as they used the flat Hardmoor Playing Field surface to their advantage although Steve Brandes (3-33) did his best to stem the tide after Tom Houlder and Storm Anning had gone at over seven an over.  Mark Hardy anchored the reply with 59 off 94 balls while Mike Cotton smashed 71 in 73 balls.  But at 201-7, it looked like we probably wouldn’t close.  George Woodhall found a willing assistant in Brandes as they would add 49 in quick time but the target was just out of reach despite George’s 46 from 48 ball and Steve 26 in just 16.

This match for the 3s, away at Fareham and Crofton 3s, is a strange one in Regional 2 South as one more player could have seen us victory as Nigel Hill’s 10 men lost by just three runs in an epic chase.  The hosts batted first and posted 228-9 with captain Don Rugge making 70 not out despite Jason King’s 4-41 opening the bowling and a tidy spell from Adam Hargreaves (1-24 in 10).  Allan Provins (2-52) and Nigel Hill (2-16) all helped the cause and gave us a chance in chasing the target down.  That hope looked decidedly distant when Glen Kinchington, Jack Nicholson and Hargreaves – our top three – were all removed without scoring to leave us 3-3.  It needed something special and with two of the club’s biggest hitters at the crease, we got it.  Dave Rose smashed 62 and Nigel Hill 92 which brought us firmly back into the contest with a stand of 107.  Dave went but Nigel found a willing partner in Jason King and they would add a further 70 for the sixth wicket.  Sadly, Nigel succumbed eight short of a deserved century but King went on and with Sam Woodward at his side, took us close.  With an over left, we needed just four to win – but opening bowler Peter Briggs would bowl Jason and leave us just short.

In 2002, it was another of those joyous time games but this one will live long in the memory as a talented Western Australian, who was born in New Zealand and rarely failed against us in his three years with Bashley (Rydal), would compile his best league score for the Foresters.  Luke Ronchi had already made his Western Australia debut and was destined for great things – 4 Tests, 85 ODIs, 33 T20Int, IPL contracts amongst many others and a sensational ODI innings of 170 in just 99 balls in 2015 for his home Black Caps to name but a few of his career highlights.  His brilliant 144, the highest of his six SL/SPCL centuries for the club certainly marked him out as something special.  He would help his side to 273-4 declared (Chris Sketchley 42, Andrew Sexton 44*) with James Hibberd’s figures of 2-47 in 17.1 overs the standout while Christoph Bothma returned 2-91.  Jeremy Goode did at least stand up with 67 but the rest were blown away by Whiting (2-38) and Nash (4-27) as we were bowled out for 180.  And if things couldn’t get any worse – we were deducted a match point for a slow over rate!  However, it would be Ronchi’s innings that those at Bashley that day will remember.

We have to swing all the way back to 1991 for our next league action and it was a home game with United Services (Portsmouth) in the Southern League.  Having won four of our first five games, this would be a second defeat on the bounce after coming unstuck at Hungerford the previous week.  Not that Dominic Newman could be blamed for his loss as his 5-22 in 15 overs destroyed the US top order and reduced them to 66-5.  They were let off the hook as Gareth Braithwaite (31*), Andy Taylor (27) and Kelson Brooks (26*) all dug in and pushed them to 158-6 in their 48 overs – certainly chasable.  Our reply started very badly – Budd (2) and ducks for Draper, Parsons and Garrett left us 4-4.  Graham Cooper (33) and Keith Woodhall (16) helped salvage the wreckage and Tom Pegler (40) and Newman (26) did their bit too but the damage had already been done and we would slide to 133 all out and a 25 runs defeat.  We wouldn’t win another game that season.

The round of games in 1985 were something of a struggle as only one of the four sides managed to return a victory.  So we will keep it brief!  The 1s were at Longparish in County One and would sink to a nine-wicket loss as Nick Holland’s 31 and Paul Sealey with 18 were the only standout scores in our 113 all out as Jon Hibberd took 4-16 and John Heagren 3-39.  Heagren (34*) and Keylock (53*) made short order of the chase as Billy Sims (1-16) was the only wicket-taker.

It was a home game for the 2s in South West One against Southampton Travellers.  John Ennew’s 33 coupled with Tony Archer (32) and Pete Tudberry (24*) helped us to reach 144-6 in our 42 but it wouldn’t quite be enough despite Ron Merritt bowling unchanged for 3-57 in 19.2 overs but the visitors would get home by three wickets.  And the 4s would stumble to a 65-run loss at Redbridge School against Cadnam 2s.  Phil Wilkins (3-23) and Paul Stainer (2-39) would help hold Cadnam to 147-7 but Gavin Hopgood’s 26 and Peter Brookes with 25 didn’t hold the visitors up too long as we dropped to 82 all out, M. Harper taking 5-21.

Our only success this day came in the 3rd XI game at Lamb’s Corner in New Forest 2 as we would beat Cadnam by 72 runs.  The innings was based around Mark Hardy’s 47 with contributions from Gerry Connolly (15), Richard Bailey (17) and Kenny Barrett (17) would allow us to post 155 all out as Bull (3-26) and Whetren (5-52) took the home sides’ wickets.  A sustained attack of Tony O’Connor (4-24), Bailey (3-25) and Steve Thomas (3-6) would hustle them out for just 83 to give us a comfortable win.

Time to add a little bit more silverware to our collection as this next one comes from 1979 where we would lift the Sydney Wyatt Knock Out with a 12 run win over Ellingham at Bolton’s Bench in Lyndhurst.  The backbone of the innings was Terry Chilcott’s unbeaten 46 which contained four of the six boundaries we hit in our 106-7.  Jimmy Gill (11) and Ben Lyon (7) hit the other two.  Ellingham would hit more boundaries – 7 in total – but would fall short despite John Mandeville’s 40 not out and N. Wilson with 22 as Michael Newman (2-18) and, in fact, all of the bowlers, went at less than five an over as they stuttered to 94-5 to give us the win … and the trophy!

A year earlier, in 1978, we were in the semi-final of the Romsey Advertiser Knock-Out on neutral ground at Minstead where we would take on Ashby, a side we have mentioned previously as something of an ‘all-star XI’.  The stars weren’t out on show for this game as they were downed by 37 runs which put us into the final a couple of weeks later against British American Tobacco (BAT to you and me!).  Ben Lyon’s 42 and Terry Chilcott with 26 were key to our 102-4 before Peter ‘Tufty’ Taylor ripped through the top order with 4-12 before Lyon (2-5) and Chilcott (2-17) returned with the ball to skittle them for just 65.

Let’s finish today’s edition with this one from our first league season of 1974.  The 1st XI game against Ordnance Survey at the Civil Service Ground just off Malmesbury Road in Shirley was abandoned without a ball bowled but the 2s match at Beaulieu in Forest One did go ahead with another of those great low scoring games that have been so prevalent in these over the weeks.  Beaulieu were bowled out for 57 in 37.2 overs as Frank Stuttard (3-11) and Keith Bell (2-15) set about the home side while the innings was closed with Maurice Geary bowling eight balls and taking three wickets without conceding.  We would knock them off in 28.1 overs, five down, with Eddie Smith making 29 and Paul Hoskins 16.