Calmore Sports moved into the Hampshire semi-finals of the Voneus National Village Cup with a nailbiting five-wicket victory over former winners Hursley Park – with two more players writing themselves into the annuls of Calmore Sports’ competition history.

The Calmore side featured just two players who returned to Lord’s for a second time in 2022 in former skipper Mark Lavell and wicket-keeper Max Bailey so it was down to the new batch of players to guide the club through, and it was left to the very last ball!

Captain Ryan Lomax won the toss and, maybe a little surprisingly, decided to bowl first and it looked to be the right decision when opener Ollie Spink was run out by a direct hit from Bailey and Kumo Sharma was snapped up well behind the sticks by Jacob Lee off Paul Henry for just 16.

However, Hursley Park captain Tom Flynn was joined by his brother, England Disabilities all-rounder Will, and they set about the rebuilding job with a stand of 64 before the latter tried a shot too many and 13-year-old leg-spinner Abdul Karimi claimed his first wicket when Brad Jewer safely pouched the catch.

Khajit Sharma and Charlie Goodchild offered ideal support to their captain, who climbed into the Calmore Sports bowling with reach his century.  As the innings drew to its conclusion, he was removed for a fine 103 (100 balls, 4 fours, 8 sixes) – the highest score that Calmore had conceded in the four year span of the competition.

Lomax would sweep through the middle order, taking 3-16 in just four overs at the death and Hursley Park’s 204-6 was much less than had looked likely at one stage.

Calmore made a difficult start with Jack Austin run out for just 3 and Brad Jewer (10) and talented youngster Varad Keni (20) all going before the score had reached the half-century mark.

2021 winner Bailey and all-rounder Karimi would build an outstanding partnership of 86 with both playing deft shots all round the wicket.  Bailey was finally removed for 37 but Karimi, showing all of his class would become just the sixth Calmore batter – and by far the youngest – to score a 50 in the competition.

His strokeplay was superb, whether they be drives down the ground, gentle nudges through the covers or pulls around the corner, he was proving to be quite a find for the club.  He did finally fall for an excellent 60 (71 balls, four fours) – Calmore’s tenth highest score in the tournament.

Third XI skipper Sam Dempster would take up the mantle and with 2021 winner leader Lavelle, they whittled down the target.

Seven were needed from the last over but Sharma’s final over yielded only three from the first five deliveries, leaving four needed off the final ball.  Step forward Dempster!  His unbeaten 39 had come off just 24 balls with two fours and two sixes and with Lavelle (14* off 16), they stood between victory or defeat.

The final delivery was short and Dempster tucked in, smearing the ball into the neighbouring field to complete yet another thrilling National Village Cup victory to add to the catalogue that came before!  Dempster closed 45 not out and received a heroes welcome on his return to the pavilion.

Once again, Calmore Sports are on the Lord’s trail – and with these sets of players, they are looking to join the pantheon of Calmore Village legends.