Calmore Sports 3rd XI brought home the clubs’ first silverware of the season after going through the Hampshire Division Five Central season undefeated with win number 11 on Saturday at home to IBM Hursley 2nd XI.
Callum Greasley’s side finished the season with 245 points and a points average of 22.27 in securing the title and promotion in emphatic style with an 86-run victory at the Southampton Sports Centre thanks to half centuries from the captain (55) and Ryan Lomax (51) and yet another four wicket haul from Paul Henry (4-17) and a couple of scalps for Matt Morgan and Eve O’Neill.
It has been a superb season and their promotion is rich reward for their efforts.
Three washouts opened the league away at fellow promoted side Trojans 2s, Sarisbury Athletic 3s and home to Oakmount before they turned in a professional performance to down Hythe and Dibden 3s by 82 runs. Promotion contenders Burridge 3s were downed by 3 wickets before a trip to Fair Oak 3s resulted in a 23 run success.
Another abandonment with Compton and Chandler’s Ford 3s followed in mid June before back to back wins over Old Netley and Highfield 2s by a mammoth 112 runs, that after being 60-7 at one point and saved by Greasley’s outstanding 117* in a stand of 156 with Henry (46*), and then Knowle Village by 5 wickets.
Victories over Knights Valley by 82 runs, Southampton Community by 5 wickets and then the thrashing of Ampfield and North Baddesley by 188 runs with half-centuries from Paul Lock, Greasley and a 19-ball six-strewn barrage from Storm Anning took them to 290-6.
A local derby win over Langley Manor 3s and then a narrow, hard-fought success at Hursley Park 4s meant just eight points were needed from the final game and they were duly secured with the final big success.
With an average of 69.57, Callum Greasley topped the run scoring with 487 at a strike rate of 108.70 while Paul Lock, thoroughly enjoying his cricket in the 3rds collected 300 runs at 37.50. Ryan Lomax (151), Mike Cotton (116), Dom Ducellier (115) and Sam Dempster (114) all crossed the 100 run barrier.
But it was in the bowling where they excelled and the ever reliable Paul Henry securing 37 wickets – not only the most in the league but the most in any of the Hampshire Cricket League divisions – just beating Ryan Gander of Gosport Borough 4s by one wicket. His tally came at an average of just 6.03 runs each as he claimed a wicket every 12 deliveries! Matt Morgan also impressed greatly with 11 wickets – bowling the most maidens in the team with 17 from his 80 overs.
One player who has a great future ahead of her in the game is 13-year-old Eve O’Neill. Her 10 wickets in 44.1 overs in the third XI was an outstanding return as she scared the life out of many batsmen, desperate not to lose their wicket to the talented young spinner, who is already on the Hampshire pathway and showed why with her variety and skill.
The skipper was a proud man to have secured the title and led the side to County Four next year. “It has been a really good year,” he said. “We had a couple of games where there were some sticky moment but, as a whole, we stuck together pretty well through the season.
“We have had a core five or six players who have played most weeks. Enjoying the cricket has been the biggest thing for everyone. I made it pretty certain at the start of the year that I didn’t want to have a season where everyone was moaning about dropped catches etc, everyone just got on with it and we have had some stand out performances.
“Obviously, Paul Henry has taken quite a few wickets – he will remind everyone at the club that he has – and Eve O’Neill has bowled excellently as has Matt Morgan. As a whole, we have had a really good bowling unit and when we have needed to score runs, someone has dug in and got the runs.
“To be able to field a fairly regular side through the year comes down to the club being strong all year, which has really helped and later on in the year, people have made themselves available. Obviously winning each week does help that and everyone wants to keep playing.”