A beautiful, warm, sunny Tuesday.  Football is on again tonight.  Come on cricket, it must be time for us too!  We would have had a trip to Langley Manor tonight in the Border League, which would have been nice.  As it stands, we just have to contend ourselves with training and a look back at events of the past to keep us going.  And it’s 23rd June today … yes Pra, today is that day!

Let’s go straight back to 2012.  Three of the games played today were low scorers but the other saw another incredible hitting display down at the Old Ground.  Will come to that shortly.  But we just have to start with this one.

We had a double header today with Fair Oak.  The 1s were at home in SPCL Division 3 and the 2s headed to Lapstone Park in County 4 South.  In the first team game, something incredible happened – a new record was set, the best bowling figures in an overs game for Calmore Sports in the Southern League.  But by his own admission, “I bowled like a drain!”.

The visitors won the toss and decided to put us in and we struggled to 155 all out, helped by a bounty of extras, 43 in total, and a much needed 48 from Tom Pegler from 78 balls.  And then it happened.  Paul Proudley zoomed down the hill and produced one of the finest bowling displays seen at Loperwood Park …. oh …. “I bowled someone with a full bunger that, as I let go of it, I shouted ‘oh f**k!!’ and also bowled someone round his legs”.  Paul Cass also pulled off a screamer at slip to remove Joe Lovett and Pra, with his mix of liqorice allsorts, was on his way to the remarkable figures of 10-6-13-7, surpassing Lee Savident’s 7-45 in 1999 against Waterlooville.  Mike West chipped in with 3-6 to hasten Fair Oak’s collapse to 59 all out.  “The following week at Hursley is probably the best I have ever bowled and only picked up 2fa.  It’s a s**t of a game sometimes but when Mother Cricket is looking over you, it’s brilliant!!”.

Fair Oak’s 59 wasn’t the lowest score of the day.  In the 2s game, 87 runs were scored for the loss of 18 wickets in a truly bizarre contest played on what could only be described as an absolute terror track!  Maybe the home side knew something as they won the toss and put us in and watched on as we were knocked over for just 43 in 32.4 overs – Michael Cook’s 16 not out the only double figure score as all the batsmen struggled, especially Tom Perry who was bowled for 0 after facing 23 balls!  But the home side weren’t that confident having seen the state of the pitch at the break and skipper Steve Brandes threw the ball to his quickest bowlers – Luke Johnson and Cookie.  Luke took 3-20 in his 10 overs and Michael 5-21 as the highest score was Nick Bass’ 7 and three lots of 6s, including from David Nevin who hit the second of the two fours in the innings to seal the two-wicket win.

Skipping straight to the 4s and they were hammered by Boscombe by 7 wickets despite Nigel Hill’s lusty 31 down the order but the real fireworks came down at the Old Ground where the 3s were up against Brockenhurst 2s.  And the perpetrator was the unsurprising Dave Rose, who massacred 156 not out with 19 fours and eight sixes in a show of clean, powerful hitting that peppered the swings and the slide in the play park.  It was brutal and with Glen Kinchington’s 33 drove us to 256-6.  The visitors were sent to 9-4 as Martin Donovan took 4-21 and the mantle of destruction was taken up by Adam Hargreaves (3-15) and Allan Provins (3-11) as they struggled to 53 all out in 31 overs – 16 of which were maidens!  Mark Lavelle played in this game too …… 0 off 20 balls because being caught on the boundary and 0-2 in four overs ….. thanks for coming!!

Don’t worry Mark, it’s Hartley Wintney away in 2018 next!  The match in SPCL Division One and our Championship reign had commenced with four wins and two defeats in the opening seven weeks (the wash out at Andover being the other).  The visitors chose to bat first and after slipping to 11-2 recovered to 112-3.  But it was Ben Johns’ run out of the dangerous Jamie Teale for 25 that opened them up and Lavelle charged through with a devastating spell of 7-4-4-5 then sent them tumbling to 134 all out – Daniel Plume making 45.  Michael Cook’s 35-ball 42 at the top of the innings gave the innings great impetus and we romped to victory by five wickets with 23 overs left.

It was a disappointing home defeat for the 2s in County 3 South against Totton and Eling 2s, going down by just five runs but we let the visitors firmly off the hook when they were reduced to 102-7 after former T&E man Jono Maton took 4-37 and James Rose 2-29 but 37 not out from  Sahan Perera and 30 not out from Ciaran Simpkin repaired them to 179-7.  Paul Proudley’s 30 and Ollie Tull 28 gave us a start but we were dropped to 109-7.  A man for a crisis is always Paul Henry and his 33 from 51 balls alongside Storm Anning (14) did their best to bring us back into the game.  But when Henry was bowled by Holzmann in the last over, we were just short.  Simpkin took 3-21 for the visitors … sign him up!  Oh yes, we did!!

Back in 2007, we were in County One and having lost our opening two games, we were on a run of three wins but this game with Alton 2s sandwiched two rained off Saturdays.  This one though would be a game that Gordon Pritchard would remember as he was just one of three players in the 1st XI to score a fifty, take three wickets and take two catches in our history – the others were Kurt Donaldson in 1995 and Mark Lavelle on this day yesterday in 2019.  With rain forecast – and it came later – we won the toss and put Alton in and they scrapped to 134 all out in 45.1 overs with seamer Mark Lavelle taking 2-44 and Michael Cook 2-37 gave way to the Australian Pritchard who took 3-16 in his 12 overs and Pete Clark 3-31.  Losing Dave Brandes early wasn’t a worry as Gordo hit 55 not out with Steve Dunn (37*) before the rains came to give us a nine-wicket win on run rate.

A time game win!!!  An actual time game victory!!!  Here it is …. 2001 …. at home to Bashley (Rydal).  The visitors chose to bat first and made it to 245-6 when they closed their innings after 62 overs, probably thinking they had enough!  Neil Thurgood hit 76 and Andrew Neal 57 not out for Bashley while there was a couple of wickets each for Ollie Green and Mark Boston.  Our replay had a decent start with Paul Draper’s 24 and skipper Tom Pegler 39 but the visitors were dealt a blow when John Whiting limped off midway through his fourth over.  However, a partnership of 154 for the third wicket between Jez Goode (79) and James Hibberd (82) would see us nearly to the target.  They were both dismissed by Neil Taylor but we only needed another eight and Rose knocked them off.

Here comes another of those “how did we lose that” moments, this time from our inaugural Southern League season of 1990.  Having beaten former winners Lymington and Trojans in the previous two weeks, we travelled to Waterlooville with plenty of encouragement.  That encouragement would have been extended when the home side were bowled out for 123 as Kevin Emery took 4-26 and captain Steve Brandes 3-33.  At 9-4 in reply, things weren’t looking good.  Graham Cooper’s 28 and Tom Pegler 48 put on 64 to turn things around and at 107-5, needing only 17 more to win we were in the box seat.  Yeah that!  107-5 became 115 all out as Mark Copping took 5-18 and we would be beaten by 8 runs!

It seems that another side that we didn’t have a great record against was Fareham and there was another instance of it in County One in 1979 as we fell to a 54-run defeat.  We did have a good record against them – just earlier in the season games we didn’t!  This game at KGV wasn’t a classic as Fareham reached 125-9 in their 42 overs with two wickets apiece for Michael Newman, Ray Hurst and Terry Chilcott but they bundled us out for just 71 as Kimber (5-37) and Wyatt (5-33), the only two bowlers employed, did the damage.

Last couple today and it’s the Sydney Wyatt Knockout from 1969 and a second round tie at home to Lymington, an 18-over a side game at the Old Ground (still the current ground then of course!).  Our decision to bat first seemed a flawed one as we soon found ourselves 20-7 against Barrett (2-12), Hobby (3-7) and Allen (3-27).  Michael Newman’s 27 and an important 11 from Ron Merritt meant we were eventually bowled out for 76.  The visitors were in cruise control at 62-2 but the overs were ticking by and all of the bowlers had kept a good grip.  In the last over bowled by Merritt, they needed 3 to win, which became 2 off the first ball.  75-4 became 75-5.  Then 75-6, 75-7 and, with the last ball, Allen was run out – the second of the over – and we would triumph by a single run to go into the semi-finals.

We close this edition with a Border League game from 1987 against Wellow and Plaitford up at Loperwood and a great performance from a player in the opposition, a player who has been around a long time and is liked and revered in equal measure.  Calmore batted first and reached a decent 107-4 thanks to Terry Chilcott’s 33 not out, Bob Wilcocks 20 and Rob Budd 37 not out including four sixes in a late surge.  Wright with 34 got the Wellow reply off to a flyer but it was the strength of Mark Page who clubbed 32 to go with his 3-29 earlier that put the game in serious danger.  It was his run out off the final ball going for the winning run meant the game finished as a tie.