It is the 8th June 1996. A date more renowned for being the opening day of ‘Euro 96’ football tournament … “It’s coming home, it’s coming home etc etc”. But, more sedately, it was also round number five of the Peter Cooper Volkswagen Southern Cricket League season.
Our season hadn’t begun that well with a heavy defeat at Hungerford, a thrashing at home to Lymington and a narrow win over Hambledon along with a washout against Romsey. So, Rob Budd’s side travelled to Five Acres in Lordshill to face one of the all-time great names of local cricket, Old Tauntonians, hoping to get our season back on the rails.
It is a match that lives long in the memory of both clubs and I am really grateful to the captain on the day, Rob Budd, opening batsman Paul Draper and club President Steve Brandes for running though their recollections of this particular game that they all played in. I am also delighted to say that Ian Tulk, who played in the game for Old Tauntonians, has allowed us to view it from their point of view as well. Thank you very much Gents …. enjoy!
PD – I enjoy recalling wins for Calmore and this one was a bit different… We were playing OTs at the picturesque Lordshill Sports Centre. We had many great battles with them on the field of play and then after match drinking sessions.
IT – I remember this game well. In fact, still have nightmares about it. Known as the ‘helicopter game’. Calmore got off to a good start with Willo (Simon Williams) and Drapes (Paul Draper) and I believe were near on 100-1 when I bowled Martin (Kellaway) round his legs and I got Buddy chipping to mid on cheaply which was a real bonus as he always did well against us!
RB – I got one that exploded – honest!
PD – We batted first and had a decent start with Willow and myself and Kellas kept the momentum going
SB – We proceeded serenely to 110-1 before scraping to 168 all out. My major memory of our innings is that, when I came in, Ian Tulk predicted I would try and sweep him – no great surprise!
IT – Calmore collapsed and I remember when Brandy came in, I shouted out “Skip, can I have everyone at backward square, please. He’s only got one shot”. And, yes, shortly after, he was caught at backward square!
SB – I tried to take him on and holed out to Bakes at deep backward square to great hilarity!
RB – I didn’t think we got enough at the infamous ‘road’ that was Lordshill Rec. But Drapes put us in a reasonable position with his 482-ball 48 (great knock to be fair but, shhhhhhhhh don’t tell Drapes!!)
PD – We lost wickets regularly and only got 160ish all out. The wicket was ok and we knew it was going to be a tough match to win with their good batting line up.
IT – Tea time, we were happy as 160 odd at Lordshill, or ‘Hell Park’ as we had named it, was below par as although it was a horrible place to play, the wicket wasn’t that bad!
PD – There were stories floating around at tea that we might be interrupted by a helicopter landing on the pitch with an emergency passenger on board for the nearby hospital. I didn’t take any notice and thought that was a normal OTs wind up.
IT – We lost Sav (Lee Savident) early – he didn’t think he was out – and cruised to 55-1. Then things went tits up!
SB – Stu Tulk and Roger Miller were cruising in response till the helicopter arrived.
PD – They got off to a solid start and we were struggling a little.
RB – They were cruising at 50-1 chasing our meager 160 odd when I had a chat with ‘Gragy’ Lyon – he decided he would take a fall in the outfield – OT’s reluctantly agreed that the air ambulance was the only answer so with OT’s cruising to victory we all plodded off to welcome the said helicopter onto the hallowed turf of Lordshill Rec. With that, Gragy ‘’I was banned by US Portsmouth’’ Lyon jumped up telling the helicopter pilot that he was no longer needed so he carried on with his other less important duties – dropping the Queen off or ferrying a critically ill person to hospital.
PD – An ambulance turned up at the ground and then another and when they all were chatting at the boundary edge we thought something was up. I think OTs were about 50-1 with Tulky and Dodge going nicely.
IT – The general hospital used the outfield to land helicopters when they had a serious incident. The ambulance would be waiting to take the patient up the road to the hospital so we all had to leave the field.
PD – The ambulance crew strolled onto the pitch and told the umpires to stop the game and clear the ground as the wicket was the emergency landing area for the hospital and a patient was being flown in. We cleared the field, took an almighty bollocking from captain Budd for our performance so far and waited around. The rumours were it was a patient with a severe back injury.
IT – I remember well the patient was a lad from the Isle of Wight who they believed had broken his neck! This time it took an age to transport him from the chopper to the ambulance. I can clearly remember us asking how much longer and Martin and Buddy suggesting the game had to be abandoned!!
PD – We waited around for about 20 mins and the helicopter landed. One of the more amusing bits was that they put the patient in the ambulance with the severe back injury and they took the bumpy route off the square!!!
RB – Play finally resumed after quite a long break. And while Roger Miller was waving to the departing helicopter, Brandy sneaked in and ran him out!
PD – After about an hour delay, we were back playing and our spinners started bowling.
IT – We finally got restarted and enter a bloke we had not seen much off before – a left arm spinner called Shepherd.
SB – On the resumption, Buddy introduced Shep and they fell to bits!
RB – We smuggled on one part of the infamous “Spin Triplet”, John Shepherd!
SB – OTs fatally tried to hit him out of the attack – no great surprise with Raps at the crease.
IT – He got a wicket or two and I strolled out to bat with my brother who was 20 odd not out and looking set! Have a look, he said, he is turning it but slowly. Second ball, I ran down the wicket and hit it straight to Brandy at long on who amazingly caught it!
SB – Both Tulky and John Barnard hit him down my throat at mid-off
IT – I got a send off that day too!!
SB – 56-1 became 58-5 and then 68-7! They blamed the Air Ambulance but their batting line-up was always as mercurial as ours and in the end Shep was just too good!
RB – The rest is history as Sheps was unplayable with Kellas behind the stumps.
PD – Shep was a class act, there was no Macko for this game, so this was an important part of the game now. Well, Shep cleaned them up after the break with 6-16 and the rest of us supported him!
IT – Shepherd rolled us over with six for nothing and Calmore won by 60 odd.
RB – 6-16 and OTs had managed to utterly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The helicopter plan had worked!!!
SB – Shep was a great bowler – won us the Hampshire League in 1994!
PD – Shep was our best left arm spinner by some way (sorry Bozzo) and he was unplayable. Turn and bounce from the ginger master and they crashed from 50-1 to just over 100 all out! The helicopter landing break was key in the outcome of the match and turned it in our favour.
RB – A fairly typical day for what was a brilliant Calmore squad………..
PD – Of course, we celebrated accordingly!!!!
IT – I don’t think Clive, Martin and Drapes thought much of us in those days as we called ourselves the Wimbledon of the Southern League so they enjoyed it even more! But, trust me, they got some verbals because they were very good players and that’s who you targetted in those days! Always enjoyed the games though and the beer after or before if you were Graeme Lyon!! He bowled me once after he had drank over half a bottle of scotch – true that!
Will leave the last few words to Ian. “Always enjoyed playing against Calmore and still love watching – thank god, not now at Lordshill but love Loperwood, a great ground, great memories and I introduced Joe, the groundsman at Calmore to the club. It looked a picture last year. Also a decent pint of Foster’s if I remember rightly and always a laugh and a Bacardi with Chick!”
A huge thank you to Ian, Paul, Rob and Steve for giving up their time to recollect a bizarre day on the cricket field – 24 years ago today!