At least today’s forecast wasn’t that thrilling so it could have been an interrupted Saturday afternoon!  We were due to welcome New Milton to Loperwood in SPCL Division One, the 2s were off down the road to Langley Manor 2s, the 3s were away at Southampton Community 2s and the 4s had Twyford 2s down at the Old Ground.  Instead, we still have no cricket – although tentative steps have been announced for more training options.

Today is 6th June and we start with a feeling like no other for the club … a FOURmidable clean sweep of wins across the club!  In fact, there is a slightly better feeling than that – when one of the wins is against your big local rivals on their own patch when playing them for the first time in a league game in 12 years.

Since 1994, Calmore had only beaten BAT Sports twice – by one run in 2000 and, as will be featured later in this story, by one wicket in the famous 1998 season, which also happened to take place on 6th June.  This game, in the 2015 SPCL Division One season against Totton and Eling, was the first since 2003 between the 1st XIs (granted with a different name but still the same club) and, as it transpired, the last season we would meet before this season’s cancelled scheduled contests.

The home side won the toss and put on 90 for the first wicket with Andrew Fletcher making 73 and Tom Arnold 35.  But Mark Lavelle’s run out of the latter stopped them in the tracks and wickets continued to fall against a disciplined bowling attack of Luke Johnson (2-35), Lavelle (2-29) and James Rose (2-50) although Mike West’s 9-3-30-1 is deserving of mention too.  After such a good start, they would have been disappointed with their 194-9 with only skipper Richard Dibden’s 36 making any impression.  However, a superb batting display swept us to victory with 12 overs to spare.  Lavelle, who hit 81 against T&E 2s the previous season, followed it up with a 72-ball 76 with 15 fours and was joined in partnerships by Darren Vann (23) and Ben Johns (29).  When he went, Rose (33*) and Callum Holloway (21*) took up the mantle to lead us to the big 7-wicket win.  It wouldn’t save us from relegation that season … but it was pleasant all the same!

Scoring a fifty is great – especially when that batsman get a jug in at the bar afterwards.  The beer was in full flow after the 2s huge win over Sarisbury Athletic 3s at Loperwood when no fewer than four batsman passed the 50 mark in the innings.  For the record, I have nearly 500 matches in my database of Calmore games and it was the only occasion of four 50+ scores in an innings for or against us.

Batting first, we slipped to 24-2 before Matt Taylor hit 55 and Michael Cook 60.  It was the quickfire 60 off 49 balls by Mitch Parker and a 37-delivery unbeaten 54 by George Woodhall which contained three huge sixes that lifted the total to an imposing 270-6 – George sharing in a stand of 53 with captain Paul Henry of which the latter faced just nine balls for his 8*.  Sarisbury were never in it, especially when they crashed to 37-6 against Daniel Croft’s 4-16 in 10 overs and Harry Morgan’s 2-40.  Keith Hammond’s 40 not out kept the innings going a bit longer before Henry rushed out the tail with 3-19 to complete a 139 run success.

The 3s were down at the Old Ground and Mike Cotton’s men thrashed Fawley 3s by six wickets thanks to Liam Worrow 5-19 and Calum Bailey closing the innings out with 3-24 as the visitors were sunk for 99.  We did drop to 50-4 in reply before Adam Pattison (20*) and Dave Rose (25*) put allayed any fears, easing us to victory in 20 overs.  And the 4s completed the ‘FOUR WINS DAY’ with a thumping seven wicket win at Broughton as Matt Crowe (4-12), Connor Pengelly (3-8) and Jack Stuttard (3-17) shot the home side out for just 52, which we chased down in 11.3 overs as Owen Fee (14) and Kaine Stanton (16*) might light work of the tiny target.

In every sport, you always look back on events across a season and use the word “if” – it is normally reserved for relegated teams or teams that just miss out on something.  In our epic 1998 season, we had already had a one-run win and a last-over two-wicket success but still stood four wins from four – if we hadn’t got over the line, it might not have set up the thrilling finale in August.  And it was the same in this game too.

We hadn’t beaten BAT for five years in the league but, having kicked off the season unbeaten, we were confident heading down Calmore Road.  When Martin Kellaway won the toss and elected to field first – something he rarely did as he won the toss 26 times as Calmore captain and only chose to bowl six times – the home side were kept firmly in check by a good bowling display from the five-man attack.  Captain Simon Preston top scored with 34 not out in 65 balls and was helped by Dave Banks (31), Chris Turner (33), Ian Atkins (25) and James Lysandrides (25) as they reached 186-8 in their 50.  But was the key dismissal Mark Boston running out BAT’s overseas star Eric Wyma without facing a ball?  The wickets were shared around – James Hibberd (2-28) and Steve Brandes and Chris Garrett both 2-41.

A 108-run partnership at the top of the innings from Paul Draper (27 off 87 balls) and Rob Budd set the tone, in particular the latter whose 78 in 64 balls contained 13 fours and he was first out.  But 108-0 became 109-3 and 138-5 as the veteran Terry Rawlins made significant inroads through our batting line-up.  Much was reliant on Gregg Lewis and the tail, but when Lewis fell for 28 at 182-8, we still needed five and then Boston became Rawlins’ seventh victim a run later – he finished with 7-47 in 13 overs.  Mark Turner was entrusted with the final over and Brandes and Graeme Lyon at the crease, everyone on the edge of their seats.  A scampered single with one ball left set off wild scenes of celebration in the Calmore camp – and it was five wins from five, a win at BAT and top of the table!

We return to more recent times and County One in 2009 and we bounced back from the disappointing defeat at Portchester seven days previously with a solid six-wicket win at home to Mudeford.  Not for 20 years had we seen the same fielder/bowler combination claim three wickets in the same innings, but the visitors numbers 2, 3 and 4 all fell “c Rose b Proudley” to leave them 30-4 – Proudley finishing with the impressive figures of 10-6-20-3.  The Foresters recovered to reach 186 with a couple of wickets each for Luke Johnson, Rose and Mark Lavelle.  Despite losing Mark Archer early, Dave Brandes’ brutal 57-ball 70 and Steve Dunn with 35 put together 106 and when both went within eight runs of each other, Tom Pegler with a run-a-ball 38 guided us to the win with 13 overs to spare.

The 2s made light work of beating CBBEA (yes, them again!) in Regional One South by 9 wickets with a superb all-round performance from Darren Challis leading the way.  Challis’ 3-13 in nine overs, joined by Nigel Hill (2-25), Mark Gardner (2-23) and Steve Brandes (2-19) led the hosts to be rolled for 101.  23 overs later and the game was over with Challis’ unbeaten 59, helped by Garth Nicol with 36 setting up the comfortable victory.

Down at the Old Ground, it was a game of two centurions as the 3rd XI welcomed Exbury in Regional 3 SW.  One player that could be described as something of a renowned name in New Forest cricket is Phil Craymer, who scored thousands of runs for Exbury over many years and was always a wicket you wanted when you played them.  On this occasion, we didn’t get it as he carried his bat through the 42 overs for a superb 108 and received good support from the Cornwall’s – Adam with 33 and Scott with 38 as they made 266-7.  Adam Hargreaves was the pick of our bowlers with 3-52.  We didn’t get close, we lost by 85 runs but not before a scintillating innings from Dave Rose, who hit 9 fours and nine sixes in making 127.  It was insane hitting which was brought to an end by old Calmore favourite Tony O’Connor who ended with 3-45 as we were bowled out for 181.

Today’s last one comes from Round 2 of the Sydney Wyatt Knock Out in 1979.  This was a New Forest competition and having already swept aside Ringwood, we had another away match, this time at Bramshaw and they would go the same way, in clinical fashion.  The home side were bundled out for just 37 despite K. Dampier’s 23 at the top of the innings!  Michael Newman with 4-8, Ron Merritt 2-4 and Ray Hurst with remarkable figures in an 18-over game of 3.3-1-2-1 did the damage.  Billy Sims with 12* and Terry Chilcott 17* saw off the chase in comfort and into the quarter-finals.

Oh, and in 1999, the Sunday Second XI played at IBM Hursley again.  We lost by 3 wickets, I got 0 … but we had a great tea!