You may remember last year that the website produced a tribute, an appreciation to those people who had made that memorable trip to Lord’s 12 months ago happen.

(If you didn’t see it – you can read it again here …

From those humble beginnings in Mr Maton’s Field 108 years ago to the current day, every single person that has featured, in one way or another, has overseen the continuation of cricket for Calmore Sports.

And to think that last year, it was said that this was a once in a lifetime achievement.  We entered the competition for the first time and then, well, went on to win it, defeating Alvanley in that rain-soaked Final.  Wrighty’s bowling spell, Johnser’s catch and then his sensational innings, turning St. John’s Wood into Ben John’s Wood!  The stories, the memories, the tales, the drinking, the blazers, the rain … everything!

All of this taking place on the grandest stage of all in front of players and supporters, old and young.  So many old faces, those who were mentioned in the article, those who had been around our club for generations, all enjoying watching the players of today bring home the biggest prize in our history.

Lo and behold, here we are again.  Once in a lifetime … or once a year?  This is truly a very special group of players, team mates on the field, great mates off it.  They have been willing to put aside many a family commitment to play Saturdays and Sundays almost every week and the reward is another trip to London.

Of course, this trip will be different.  There will be a much more sombre feel around the nations capital, being just 24 hours prior to the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  There will be little fanfair this time, no post match dinner, no festivities around the outer but there is still a trophy to be won.

Our opponents this year are Dumbleton from Gloucestershire, winners of the Worcestershire county group and first time finalists, like we were last year.  And in their ranks, a familiar name.  Holland.  Sons of Nick, who played for Calmore in the last 1980s and again in 1999.  Naturally, he will want his lads to do well but he will also be greeted warmly by those old Calmorians who remember him fondly from his playing days.

What this competition taught us last year was that friendships are made – there is still quite a connection between Calmore and Alvanley – and things are likely to be the same again this.  After all, this isn’t the first time these sides have met – a tour game in 1984 at Loperwood Park precedes us.

All roads lead back to Lord’s on Sunday.  A city preparing for one of its most important days for decades but a small part of it will be ours for the day.

Once more, those wearing the tree and crossed bats, representing our great club from the edge of the New Forest, will wear that badge with pride but wear it on behalf of all of those who have gone before – whether they be players, supporters, administrators, umpires, scorers, friends, family, associates and sponsors – they will all be walking alongside those 10 players fortunate enough to walk down the steps behind their captain, captain for the final time, Mark Lavelle.

The end of an era … or the beginning of a new one?

All the while, in the stands, supporters, old and new.  Members of Calmore Sports teams from yesteryear and players for future years – some of our brilliant Calmore Cougars who have had their tickets purchased for them by the players they will be watching on the park.  A true sign of us being “One Club” for all.

Of course, there are those who can’t be with us this year.  Whether they would have been there in person, virtually or listening in, some sadly won’t be.  As the author of this article – I know of one who will be in heavily in my heart on Sunday and emotions will be running high.

We all hope that, watching down over us, Mr. Louch, Mr. Othen and Mr. Grace – those pioneers from 1913 – rub their eyes and speak out, “Our club is at Lord’s again!!!!!”.  And watch the game with all of those sadly no longer with us.

So, let’s go again Calmore Sports!  One and for all.  Our flag flies once more above the grand old pavilion and, beneath it, on the hallowed green turf, our players, our friends, our mates will be doing their best to become one of the rare clubs to retain this trophy.

Special days like this don’t come around very often.  To be fortunate enough to say we’ve been twice is a rare honour.  So let’s get right behind our team and enjoy the day.

And make it another day to remember forever ‘more!!!