Calmore Sports’ Indoor team closed their inaugural season back in the South Hampshire Indoor Cricket League at Places Leisure (Fleming Park) in Eastleigh as the Cup runners-up after a narrow five-run defeat in the final to Division One side Old Tauntonians and Romsey in the Final.
James Rose’s charges sent Division One runners-up Locks Heath spiriling to defeat in the quarter-final before hammering Division Two title challengers Peartree in the semi. They would eventually come up just short of a sensational victory over near neighbours OT&R – who knocked out the league champions Burridge in their semi-final.
The long Indoor Finals Day started with a slightly nerve jangling eight-run success over one of the competitions’ favourites Locks Heath – who only trailed champions Burridge by the defeat in the league contest at the top of the ladder.
Calmore started poorly when Matt Taylor went for just one but Shawn Johnson struck 28 and Mark Lavelle 41 from just 22 balls which contained a couple of sixes as we put on 136-4 in our 12 overs having chosen to bat first. Mitch Parker boosted the total with an unbeaten 24 and Rose 18 as we were forced to bat with just five players with Jack Austin not quite making it in time to bat.
Our opponents saw both openers retire at 25 as they cruised to 71 in the sixth over but they became unstuck against a relentless Rose (1-27) and Parker’s suffocating 0-25. They were going nowhere as their prolific retirees didn’t get a chance to come back as the required rate raised. 39 extras did help their cause in getting close but an impressive final over from Parker kept them at bay and eight runs short.
Next up, following a trip to a local pub to watch the football and have a drink (or two), were Division Two runners-up Peartree, who won the toss and put Calmore into bat.
And it was an excellent performance all round which brought home the mammoth 80-run victory.
Taylor found his form with an unbeaten 36 while Liam Newton – who came into the side following Lavelle and Johnson’s departures, Josh Ellis was the other to come in – and skipper Rose both retired at 25 as they racked up an imposing 151-3 – Austin scoring 18.
Peartree were well out of the race, especially when Parker bowled the first over and conceded just a side-wall hit single from the last ball and their skipper Harry Parker was well taken by Austin behind the stumps at the end of Newton’s opener.
Totton and Eling’s Hakim Peruzi was sent on his way – quite literally – by Matt Taylor as he mistimed a drive and was taken by James Rose and then Taylor ran out Murkitt. A lot was left to Nick Wheeler, a familiar local face, but he was last to go for 28, stumped by Austin off Rose as they slumped to 71 all out in just 7.1 overs – two wickets each for Taylor and Rose.
And so to the final against the heavily fancied Old Tauntonians and Romsey side who has pulled off an excellent performance in downing former National champions Burridge just a few moments earlier.
OT&R won the toss and elected to bat first and soon found themselves two wickets down as Rose’s throw to Taylor sent captain Max Costley on his way back and then Harry Tulk found the save hands of Newton off Parker for just 10.
However, Calmore’s failings in gifting extras was to prove their undoing – none more so than Josh Ellis’ left-arm seamers lasting just four deliveries before he was removed from the attack for two head-high full tosses! A total of 50 extras – 29 wides and 21 no-balls – helped OT&R to a lofty 163, curtailed by four run-outs. Parker and Rose were the pick of the bowlers again with 1-33 and 0-30 respectively.
The Division Three side set out their task with some vigour as both Taylor and Austin nudged their ways to regular ‘threes’ to retire in excellent time and then was joined by Newton with 25 as well. In fact, the first man dismissed was Parker at 110 at the end of the eighth over and the required rate was continually kept in check.
But the losses of Ellis and Rose to consecutive balls in the ninth – with 40 still needed – hampered the chase but did allow Taylor and Austin back to the crease.
They batted cleverly, take the runs on offer and the Division One side were under the pump and concerned as the batters ran them ragged.
Once again, two crucial wickets fell in quick succession – Austin for 44 from 21 balls and then Newton two balls later to leave Calmore needing 15 to win from the last over and just leading run-scorer Taylor left to finish the job.
Two dots to start the over didn’t help and he took just three ‘threes’ from Tulk’s final over to leave them a narrow five-runs short of a sensational victory.
Calmore v OT & Romsey – Final scorecard
It was a brilliant effort from the team – who were struggling to get a team out earlier in the day. But to finish their first season back in the indoor competition as cup runners-up was a fine return.
The club would like to thank all of the players who took part, especially captain James Rose, this season – well done, you have done the club proud.