It is Friday today.  Friday 12th June 2020.  With the latest news from the ECB, it does seem that cricket as we know it is still some way away.  Time to look back at cricket when it was normal …. well, as normal as you can get when you are Calmore Sports anyway!

Has a dodgy pie and chips ever been such a game changer?  It is SPCL Division 3 in 2010 time and an away clash with Gosport Borough but it had not been an overly comfortable morning for the captain Darren Vann.  He had lost a player to unavailability but was also not feeling his best after an indifferent meal at the Old Farmhouse the night before.  “It led to a bout of sickness for me, so I decided that I would bring Dunny in to keep wicket and push Wallo up to open the batting instead.”

It was either a moment of inspiration, an enforced change due to Darren’s iffy innards or just pure, blind luck but the promotion for the 19-year-old Melburnian Michael Wallace worked a treat – so much so that he went on to set the club record for most runs in a season, which still stands today.  His 115 from 137 balls down at Privett Park was outstanding as he shared in stands of 79 with Mark Archer (36) and 111 with Paul Cass (49) which gave the innings a stability that drove us to our total of 260-5 – Wallace going in the final over to Craig Stares (3-60).  The home side were certainly in the game at 141-3 but when James Rose (3-30) removed Stares (39) and Alex Machin, tidily stumped by Steve Dunn for 70, the game was up and they were bowled out for 221.  But we had found ourselves a new star opener … and he would continue to thrive.

There are times that you just rue the decision you make at the toss.  Nasser Hussain in Brisbane for instance.  Ricky Ponting at Edgbaston.  Steve Brandes at home to Burley in Regional 1 South.  It has to be said that it wasn’t exactly the strongest of 2nd XIs that day but we found ourselves 10-4 in no time and we were facing an uphill battle throughout although Craig Kinchington’s battling 52 along with Dave Rose (28) and Paul Henry (30*) did salvage the wreckage to a point of reaching 143-8 in our 42 overs.  Brandy took 2-48 and took it to the second last over but we still stumbled to a six wicket loss.

Oh good grief!  There are times when I write these articles that even my memory is jolted and cannot believe this is 10 years ago!  I had just moved back to Southampton and was asked – probably pleaded – to play by 3rd XI captain and neighbour Adam Hargreaves to make up the numbers in their away game at Pylewell Park.  Goodness know why, I couldn’t even do my own pads up!  But our trusty XI managed to cling on for a dramatic six run win on the back of a superb 109 from opener Kevin Gardner.  Garth Nicol chipped in with 35 and Paul Bowring a quickfire 45 and we totalled 228-8.  The hosts gave it a good crack with opener Todd making 76 but Martin Perris’ 3-46 coupled with a steady 1-31 from Hargreaves just about ensured we secured the win.

A league trip to Ventnor in 2004 awaited us in SPCL Division Two and, as mentioned the other day, we had not beaten the Islanders in the league as we lost this one by four wickets with just four balls remaining.  Our batsmen all got starts but none went on to make 50 as Mark Boston’s 45 and Paul Cass with 41 top scored and were aided by Pete Clark’s 32 and a late unbeaten 29 from James Rose took us to 234-9 on the undulating Steephill ground.  Two weeks each for Cass, Darren Challis and Pete Clark gave us hope but Neil Westhorpe’s 91 not out saw Ventnor home in the last over.

In 1999, we made the short trip to a side that, maybe surprisingly, we have only played twice in first XI league competition.  In fact, the 3rd XI have played this side as often as the 1sts have in league games and that is Wellow and Plaitford.  This game was a Southern Premier League game in their brief stay.

A strengthened Wellow side – which contained two Calmore men in Paul Cass and Simon D’eath and were led by John Robinson – won the toss and put us in.  Martin Kellaway hit 52 and a couple of 35s from Lee Savident and Nick Holland took us to 225 all out.  Another Southern League veteran, Colin Day, made 66 but he played a lone hand against the spin duo of Mark Boston (4-44) and Paul Draper (4-26) that saw them off for 172.  Our next meeting with them would come 18 years later – in Hampshire Regional 2 in 2017!

Here we go again, Clive!  While the 1s were at Wellow, the 2s welcomed Hartley Wintney in County 2 and thrashed them by 179 runs.  We lost Jimmy Gill early but that brought the skipper Clive Surry to the crease and, alongside “The Melbourne Wall” Tim Lumsden put on 81 for the second wicket before TJ was run out for 55.  But that just allowed Stuart Bailey in and with his captain cracked a stand of 133 which took us up to 245-3 with Stuart hitting 52 but it was Clive’s unbeaten 107 (yep, there’s another red’un) that underpinned the innings.  A blistering new ball spell from Sean Eckton (4-26) and a couple of wickets each for Roy Walton, Steve Brandes and Billy Sims sank the North Hampshire side for just 66.

We wind the clock back to 1976 and a County Two trip to another ‘work’ team that we were so prevalent back in those days.  This time it was Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough – they were much better known as RAE Farnborough.  With five wins from five leading into this game, Terry Chilcott’s side were riding high and it was well founded as they won this game by 6 wickets with ease.  Ray Hurst took 3-31 in 14 overs but Tufty Taylor went wicketless – a rare feat!  However, it was the skipper who did the main damage with 4-39 as the Airmen closed at 151-9.  Ben Lyon’s 75 not out and 32 for Paul Hoskins was enough to see us home with nearly 10 overs to spare.

It was a father and son pairing that were the key to the 2s victory at home to Winterslow in South West 2.  The Wiltshire side were bowled out for 108 as Dave Snellgrove took 4-29 and Pete Wakeford 2-35.  Gary Oliver, who would go on to play for Hampshire Second XI, took 2-12 before his father, Reg, smashed 76 not out along with Frank Stuttard’s 26 which made light work of the target.