We are just two days away from cricket being back at Loperwood Park.  It has been a long road back but the destination is just around the corner and we will see action on our ground.  Well done to everyone who has helped get the ground ready.  Rain might have ruined the start of the Test match at the Ageas yesterday – let’s hope it doesn’t affect us this coming weekend.  We have seen plenty of rain in these editions – but none today on 9th July.

Today’s starter actually comes from our first completed game for three weeks.  Having been thrashed by Trojans, the next couple of weeks were ruined by the weather so it was good to finally get back to playing with this trip down the A326 to Fawley and we would return with a comfortable 121 run victory in SPCL Division 2 in 2016 – it would be the last time we would meet the Watersiders in league competition to date.  On batting first, our innings was based around two partnerships – 81 between Tam Goodrich and Ben Johns and 58 compiled by the Ben’s Moss and Perry.  Goodrich made 52, Johns 46 while Moss also hit 46 and Perry 43 not out as we closed with 212-9 – no other batsman reached double figures.  Fawley got off to a brisk start with Andy Parratt smashing 37 out of the 43 on the board when he was dismissed (which bowler got smashed for 30 off four overs?!).  Once he went and the opening bowler was removed, the hosts collapsed to Mike West’s 3-13, James Rose 2-15 but especially Mark Lavelle’s 4-9 in 6.3 overs which ravaged Fawley for just 91.

Michael Cook’s 50 for the 2s at home to Gosport Borough 2s in County 3 South wasn’t enough to prevent a disappointing four wicket defeat.  Liam Newton with 22 and George Woodhall’s 21 were the source of our 156 all out but the visitors knocked them off with more than 11 overs to spare despite Allan Hurst’s 3-42.  And while I am on defeats, I will mention the 4s trip to Broughton which resulted in a 262 run loss but credit goes to the XI who travelled.  Darryl McMahon took 2-43 and Ben Lonsdale 2-39 as the bowlers took a pasting while Ian McCrindle top scored with 18 and Max Bailey 13 as we were bowled out for 67.

There was another win on this day in 2016 and that was down the Old Ground where Paul Galbraith’s 3s thrashed Parley 3s by 10 wickets thanks to a scintillating bowling display from Tom Pattison, who returned figures of 7-4-9-5 as the visitors were removed for just 60 as Mike Cotton (2-26) and Daniel Croft (2-5) finished the job.  We only needed 13.2 overs to knock the runs off as Roy Walton hit 34 not out and Mark Hardy 14*.

With five wins from our opening eight games, our SPCL Division 3 season in 2011 was progressing moderately well.  Our next opponents were a side challenging at the top of the table in Sarisbury Athletic and it would the visitors who would take the spoils by 36 runs.  Peter Hammond with 50 and a couple of 21s from Mark Miller and James Ingram were key to their 180 all out as Paul Proudley took 3-31, James Rose 2-32 and Allan Hurst 2-22.   Ingram’s 3-22 and Dave Banks with 4-34 cut us down to size with Mike West’s 32 leading the way ahead of Tom Pegler with 27 and Brenton Allan’s 20 but we would be bowled out for 144.

2005.  We lost – again!  We only won one game and that’s been and gone.  This defeat was a 45-run one away at Old Tauntonians and Romsey with Charles Forward hitting his traditional ton with 104 and Max Smith 57 as they racked up 261-7 – Peter Clark’s 3-38 the pick of the bowlers.  Mark Boston did his best with a superb 93 but received little support aside from Paul Cass’ 29 as Smith claimed 6-48 and Mike Trodd 3-38 which sent us to 216 all out and our eighth defeat on the spin.  It wouldn’t end there!

There was some cheer in the club as the 3s beat Trojans 3s by 117 runs as Dave Wilson cracked 65, Kevin Gardner 64 and Nick Coe 47 as we closed at 240-7.  Trojans were bowled out for 123 – unfortunately, the bowling figures were not recorded this time out.

In the recent past, we have seen tales of silverware being lifted in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s in the Southampton Parks and the Romsey Advertiser.  Today on a Friday night in 1999, we would go on the hunt for more as we were in the Final of the New Forest President’s Trophy against Bashley (Rydal) at Pylewell Park’s picturesque Manor House ground.  Clive Surry’s side batted first and posted 101-5 in their 18 overs as James Hibberd led the way with an unbeaten 32 and Tim Lumsden hit 23.  I wouldn’t like say the difference in the two sides was the quality of the overseas players – ours a blocker from Melbourne and theirs a future international star for Australia and New Zealand but Luke Ronchi did thrash 55 from 36 balls as they overhauled the target with four overs remaining just two down.  Love ya TJ!

With just one defeat all season in 1994, Steve Brandes’ side were on course for a return to the Southern League ranks and they took another big step forward with an excellent six wicket win at home to Alton in County One.  The visitors were bowled out for 144 with Stokes making 84 at the top of the order but received very little in the way of backing from his teammates as all the bowlers got in on the act, led by Kevin Marshall’s 3-24 and a couple of wickets each for Lyon, Garrett and Shepherd.  All six of the batsmen used got starts and made double figures as Rob Budd’s 33 and Tom Pegler with 23 broke the back of the chase and we got home in 31.4 overs.

Gary Stinson’s 2s crossed Alton on the way home as they were at Ropley in County 4 but they were on the A31 with a seven wicket defeat to their name.  Our 179-8 was a decent effort with Gavin Hopgood hitting 32, Mark Boston 26 and Billy Sims 23 not out but it was the hefty 35 from 29 balls which boosted the tally.  It wasn’t enough as Coates hit 87 as they raced home by 7 wickets with nearly eight overs left.

A vastly experienced 3s side travelled to the Hampshire-Berkshire border in Regional 3 West to face Kingsclere and a solid all-round display downed the hosts by 122 runs.  Terry Chilcott made 50 and skipper Martin Donovan 32 led the innings while Jason Maidment’s 26 and an unbeaten 23 for Paul Bowring saw the side to 184-7.  Three wickets apiece for Tony O’Connor (3-21), Dave Ransley (3-22) and Dave Morgan (3-11) destroyed them for just 62.

And it was much the same story for the 4s at home to Bashley (Rydal) 4s as Dan Pearcey’s sensational 112 with seven fours and eight sixes received good support from John Ennew (42) and Lee McConaghie (42) as we reached 230-8 and then would knock over the visitors for 70 as Adrian Goddard wheeled away for 4-14, Graham Phelps 3-8 and Ray Hurst 2-14 to seal a mammoth 160 run victory.

The 3s were in the New Forest League in 1988 and their home game with Ellingham 2s today down at the Old Ground and Mark Hardy’s 38 and 16-year-old Paul Draper with 21 were the highlights of our 135 all out.  The visitors were slashed to 42-8 with Dave Ransley’s 3-21 and Adrian Goddard’s impressive 5-20.  They did recover a little and batted their 40 overs through for 98-9.

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  No, it’s Super Steve!  This County One game away at Compton and Shawford in 1983 was heading the same way as three of the previous four.  The home side were bowled out for 138 as Steve Brandes took 4-28 and Peter ‘Tufty’ Taylor 3-31 as M. Jones guided C&S with 59 opening up.  At 53-7 and 85-8, we were a long way away from victory.  But here comes the hero of the hour and with Jimmy Gill (33) compiled 51 for the ninth wicket.  Jimmy went but Mr, President found a willing allay in Taylor and they would knock off the six runs still needed to record a one-wicket victory.  I say they – Tufty hit all six but Steve was 33 not out at the other end!

Meanwhile the 3s were at the magnificent Ashurst ground in the New Forest, just behind the Happy Cheese pub – a ground with a gravel track running through the outfield and ‘elephant traps’ to match those seen at the old Swan Green.  Martin Newman hit 33 and Pete Wakeford 22 as we were bowled out for 114 as Eric Paul and Dave Cornick both took 4-30.  Pete Evans’ 31 and Chris Marlow’s 20 did little to resist Dave Morgan with 5-18, Eric Morgan’s 3-12 while Steve Lock 2-26 rolled the ‘shurst for 80.

Shall we finish with the club winning another trophy?  It was the Sydney Wyatt Knock Out Final at Bolton’s Bench in 1982 when we would meet Hythe and Dibden having beaten Rydal and Burley in previous rounds.  And we would win this game with ease by 42 runs.  Man of the match Martin Newman crashed 37 not out took the attack to the bowlers after Billy Sims had hit 22 as we posted just 89-3 in our 18 overs.  Hythe couldn’t do anything against our potent bowling line-up as Ray Hurst claimed 4-1-3-1, Tufty Taylor 2-13 and Terry Chilcott 2-11 as they struggled to 47-7 in reply.

1999 – Kaine Stanton
1967 – Mark Stanton