Game day!  Saturday!  The 1st XI were due to welcome Portsmouth, the 2s were heading across town to face Sarisbury 2s, the 3s were at Fair Oak 3s and the 4s had a game at the Old Ground with Hythe and Dibden 4s.  Might still do in 2021 if they just keep the same leagues.  It’s June 13th – let’s look back at previous Saturday’s when there was cricket.

This isn’t a pretty one.  There will be days like this unfortunately and, I guess if you are doing a look back, you have to take the rough with the smooth.  And there are two – both on this day – that should have to be held for after the watershed!  The first one is in SPCL Division One just five years ago in 2015 and the home game with Rowledge.  Sorry Lav!

To be fair, our bowlers performed well to restrict the visitors to 175-9 in their 50 overs with only Chris Yates with 86 and Ian Metcalfe’s 24 going past 20 as the openers Paul Proudley (8-3-16-1) and Steve Wright (10-4-14-0) did well up top and the captain returned tidy figures of 1-24.  There were a couple of wickets for Mike West (2-43) and Ben Perry (2-26) and there would have been general air of, ok, we can knock these off.  Darren Vann went for 8 but at 30-1, we were going fine.  Alex Bloomfield took 5-31, Richard Forbes 3-4 and our 30-1 became 49-4 … which swiftly became our lowest team total for 12 years and our lowest in an ‘overs’ match since 1992 as we were removed for just 59.  Lavelle’s 16 at the top of the order the only double figure score.

It rather left a grey cloud over the club which wasn’t brightened with the 2s and the 3s returning from their games either.  The 2s had won three of their opening five games and headed down to Gosport Borough 2s for their next encounter but they got close but still lost by 9 runs.  All six of our bowlers took a wicket with Allan Hurst (3-25), Paul Henry (2-31) and Harry Morgan (2-17) the pick.  Matt Taylor’s steady 41 and a more attacking 26 from Henry set up the chase nicely and the baton was taken by Jack Nicholson with an impressive 52 and Paul Bielby’s 28 but we struggled to get ahead of the rate and ultimately fell short.

The 10-man 3s were back nice and early and probably started the gloom after they were walloped by 10 wickets by Parley 2s, being bowled out for just 52 which Parley knocked off in 16 overs.  Top scorer for us …. wides with 18!  But if you need someone to bring a smile to your face and to dissipate the despair, you can always rely on Nigel Hill, who guided the 4s to a 90-run win at the Old Ground against Locks Heath 4s.  He smashed 126 with 10 fours and 7 sixes and shared in a 140-run opening stand with Callum Kitcher (69) as we made 243-6.  Young Kitcher waded in with 3-19 with the ball and Connor Pengelly 2-36 but Nigel ran through the tail with 3-4 to skittle them for 153.

Just a day after the 3s narrowly upended Pylewell Park 2s in the league, there was a Sunday friendly at the glorious Manor House between the two clubs in 2010 and we would get the better of them again, this time by 131 runs.  Both Luke Gould and Ben Perry retired after reaching their respective centuries – retired out of course – before Joe Perris made 27 to take our total to 273-6.  13-year-old Tom Houlder claimed 2-16 and Paul Henry would have enjoyed his 2-20 as they were removed for 142.

Back in 2009, we were in County One and came up against a side that just loved to change its name!  Antelope, Castle, Antelope and Castle, Eastleigh and then Eastleigh and Otterbourne.  They are now Colden Common, Otterbourne and Sporting Wessex CC – or are they North Stoneham and Eastleigh CC?  But in 2009, they were playing at the Southern Water Sports Ground in Otterbourne and it was a high scoring contest which we managed to get the better of by 3 wickets.  Skipper James Rose put them in but a solid batting display eased them to 269-7 in their 50 with Hammett making 74 and Goodall 85.  We used seven bowlers but only Paul Proudley with 4-38 made a decent impression.  It needed a bedrock and we got it from Mark Archer who made 97 from 117 balls and aided by Paul Cass (37) and Tom Pegler (40) made inroads into the target.  But we slipped to 231-7, still needing 40 before Rose (22*) and Pete Clark (15*) safely sailed us in.

Meanwhile the 2s were beaten at home by Nomansland by 6 wickets despite Darren Challis (27) , Ben Perry (25) and Dave Wilson (24) lifting our total to 154-9 but the Foresters made light work of the chase with Grayer’s 44 and contributions from Matt Sharman (32*), Richard White (29*) and Ian Loveless (29) seeing them home.  And the 3s came back from Boscombe with Custard all over their faces – as their opening batsman Brett Custard hit 73 not out and bowled 10 overs, 2-14 to sink us by 9 wickets.

What was it about Steve Brandes’ captaincy that saw him led the side to so many narrow losses, narrow wins and, in this case in 1992 against South Wilts – another tie!  Having lost to Petersfield and New Milton the previous couple of weeks in the Southern League, a win at home would have been the perfect fillip.  David Parry with 60 and Brian White’s 59 not out – he scored a century against us in 1990 aged 45 and followed it up two years later with more runs – took them to 223-6 in their allocation of 48 overs but we seemed to let them off the hook when they were 158-6.  Kevin Marshall claimed 3-68 in his full 15 over spell.  Paul Draper (85) and Mark Boston (38) gave us a great start and Mike Durand made 44 at number six and we looked to be cruising in at 210-6, needing only 14 more.  Even at 220-7, surely.  Brandes was run out, Graeme Lyon hit a couple of singles but with two balls left and one to win – Alan Walker on strike.  He wasn’t famed for his batting and he chipped one straight back to Neil Prigent and was out – caught and bowled.  Match tied.

Unfortunately, as the seasons progress and these On This Day stories continue, there will be a trend of seeing the wins dry up.  It is almost the Calmore way – start the season well but fade away.  One such season was 1987 as we recorded our fourth win from six starts with this home success over Old Symondian Ramblers but wouldn’t taste winning beers for another two months!  A sensational 112 not out from Terry Chilcott from 119 balls opening up was the basis of our 205-4 although he received good support from Gary Stinson (33) and Nick Holland (22).  Chris Garrett’s 4-26 and Adam Carty with 2-26 reduced the visitors to 46-6 and they were bowled out for 133.  We would then lose our next five!

At least we have three wins in the bank that day though – as the 2s came back from Picket Post with a four-wicket win over Ellingham.  Billy Sims ran through the hosts with 5-17 and Ron Merritt 2-49 as they crashed to 132 all out which wasn’t enough after Jimmy Gill made 46 and there was help from Baz Oram (19) and 17 each for Mark Hardy and Paul Hoskins.  And even the 4th XI managed to win as well – beating Bramshaw 2s by 97 runs.  61 from Denny Lock and 45 from …. hang on a minute, batting at 4 …. Graeme Lyon plus a quickfire Steve Thomas 36 pushed us to 186 before Darren Challis’ 4-18 and a couple of wickets each for Iain Bowring and captain Gavin Hopgood.

If you were wondering where the second ‘X’ rated batting display was … here is comes now!  The 1981 season hadn’t started that well with two defeats and the tie with Lyndhurst.  But maybe, with this being just the second 1st XI home game at the new Loperwood Park ground, there were mitigating circumstances.  The first was the 74 played 74 tie and the next was this match with Longparish, who had a local cricketing legend in their side – Bob Sturt.  And he showed why by slashing through our batting order to take 7-17 in 13.1 overs to send us to our lowest 1st XI score at the time, 46.  Frank Gregory with 11 and Ron Merritt’s 8 contained the only boundaries!  It took Longparish just 15.1 overs to chase the 50 to win.

This low scoring was matched in the 2s as well as they were bundled out for 76 in reply to Mottisfont’s 147, which saw John Robertson take 6-43 but at least the 3s managed to win at Woodgreen in New Forest 3 as Keith Bell claimed 5-22 and Steve Thomas 3-6 as they were bowled out for 50, Graham Love’s 29 not out guiding us to the win.