Calmore Sports are into the last 32 and will represent Hampshire in the National rounds of the Voneus Village Cup after sinking Sparsholt in thrilling fashion at a sundrenched Loperwood Park on Sunday afternoon – thanks to more brilliance from Shawn Johnson and a classy innings from Will Brewster.

A decent sized crowd were enthralled throughout this see-saw contest, which looked to be firmly out of reach when we tottered to 8-2, firmly in control at 149-2 and back in the melting pot two balls later at 149-4!

Visitors Sparsholt won the toss and elected to bat first and, despite some erratic bowling from Yannick de Mezieres Lepervanche that saw him concede 26 from his first three overs, he still managed to remove Dan Sumner at the end of the fourth over after Steve Wright had rushed through Stuart Taylor’s defences for two just four balls into their innings.

Wickets continued to fall, leaving them 105-5 as skipper Mark Lavelle, Mike West and Ben Perry all claimed a scalp.  But the vastly experienced Sparsholt captan David Banks joined ‘Player of the Third Round’ Josh May, who was already closing in on a fine half-century, to put together a crucial 70-run partnership as they ran cleverly between the wickets.

Banks made 33 off 47 balls with just two boundaries while May was seventh man out for an excellent 103-ball 92.  His innings, which featured just four fours and a six, was ended by Jimmy Manning’s accurate throw before Joshua Williams and Jon Sankey made sure the visitors reached a challenging 201-7 from their 40 overs.

The 202 run target looked a long way off when Ben Johns and Sarisbury match-winner Matt Taylor were both back in the pavilion with just eight runs on the board in the third over – Johns unlucky given leg before, Taylor bowled for a single.

It brought Round 2 “Player of the Round” Shawn Johnson to the crease and he showed the Loperwood faithful what he can do, mixing power with finesse and keeping the Sparsholt fielders on their toes while keeping the crowd engrossed.  At the other end, Will Brewster was keeping him very good company, hitting the gaps in the field as the pair put on 141 for the third wicket in 23 overs, leaving Calmore requiring just 53 to win from 88 balls.

Two balls later, it was still 53 to win but both set batsmen gone!  Brewster’s 77-ball stay at the crease was ended by a run out when he was on 61 and then Johnson classy 70-ball 77 – with nine fours and two sixes – closed when he mistimed a sweep off Sumner.

Calmore wouldn’t be Calmore if there wasn’t a bit of drama!

Manning was joined at the crease by 18-year-old Max Bailey and the mixture of experience and youth worked superbly – the elder statesman keeping the young keeper grounded in the heat of the thrilling run chase.  Manning took 33 balls in making 18 but their stand of 33 lowered the blood pressure of most on the ground while young Bailey played some glorious shots – including a four from the first ball of the penultimate over when needing seven to win.

But Bailey’s dismissal – a run out – for 26 meant two were needed from the last seven balls.  Two singles from Ben Perry and the game was won – setting off wild celebrations around the ground as Calmore Sports booked their place in the last 32 of the competition at the first time of asking.

Lavelle couldn’t contain his excitement.  “What a performance!  Absolutely brilliant from Will and Shawn to haul us back into the game but we deserved it and I am absolutely buzzing.

“We were pretty revved up for the game, we knew it would be a tough game with a good Sparsholt side but we had played very well in beating Andover in the league yesterday (Saturday) and came into this game with a lot of confidence.

“We set out to win the county rounds and we have done that.  The lads have been brilliant, they have bought into it, which is exactly what you have to do to do well.  Now we wait and see where the next round takes us.  It would be great to have a home game, of course and have another great crowd like we did today here at Loperwood.”


Wiltshire winners – Goatacre (1st in WEPL Premier 2 Gloucs/Wilts)
Devon & Cornwall winners – Yelverton Bohemians (2nd in Devon Cricket League D Division West)
Somerset & Avon winners – Congresbury (6th in WEPL Bristol & North Somerset)
Glamorgan & Gwent winners – Ynystawe (1st in South Wales Premier Division 2 1st XI)
Gloucestershire winners – Rockhampton (7th in WEPL Gloucestershire)
Oxfordshire winners – Horspath (8th in Home Counties Premier League Division 2)
Berkshire winners – Cookham Dean (4th in Thames Valley Division 1)