15-year-old Eve O’Neill made yet more Calmore Sports history on Saturday when she was rewarded for a stellar season in the clubs’ second team and awarded her 1st XI SPCL debut at Sarisbury Athletic.
The Southern Vipers Academy starlet, who had taken 21 wickets in her 11 games in Ryan Lomax’s Hampshire Division Two side this season, was given her 1st team cap prior to the start by Chairman Pete Lavelle (pictured) becoming the fourth youngest to play in the Calmore SPCL team and, of course, the first female.
And she did not disappoint – when does she?
Calmore won the toss and elected to bat first, which allowed her to watch her teammates total 160-9 in their 50 overs, coming in at number eleven but not facing a ball as she kept Ben Perry (30 not out) company for the final two deliveries of the batting innings.
But after seeing Mark Lavelle (3-16) and Ben Fisher (1-24) reduce the hosts to 39-3, Eve was thrown the ball in the 12th over to bowl at a pair of batters with 520 career Southern League appearances between them – former Paultons and Lymington player Cameron Grierson and the sixth leading run-scorer in SPCL history and one of just six with over 10,000 runs, the prolific Tom Morton.
Just four runs came from her first two overs before she claimed her first wicket with her 14th delivery – the prize scalp of Morton.
He had already edged an earlier delivery just out of reach of Will Brewster at slip but she took his edge once again and skipper Ben Johns made no mistake behind the sticks to remove him for 24 and give Eve her first wicket – the second youngest bowler to take a wicket for the 1sts in the SPCL after Tom Houlder in 2011 at Fair Oak.
She would bowl her full ten over allocation straight through and returning the outstanding figures of 10-1-17-1, all of her runs conceded being fourteen singles and three wides and going for no more than three runs in any single over – her ninth as she tired slightly.
Skipper Ben Johns was thrilled with Eve’s first team debut. “She was absolutely outstanding and keeping wicket to her was a dream because you knew exactly where the ball was going, she bowled with incredible accuracy and didn’t let the batters get on top of her.
“To not concede not only any boundaries but even anything more than a single showed what control she had.”
The season ends with Eve as the second leading league wicket-taker in the club in 2023, only Liam Carty (26) took more than her 23.
We are truly honoured to have such a huge talent at Calmore Sports Club.