What a spectacular weekend!!!  Five games played, five victories – despite having a multitude of players unavailable due to injury, holidays or the Isle of Wight festival amongst others!  And our fantastic Under 11 Green and Black sides adorned Loperwood against each other too … it truly was a brilliant weekend for our club!

SPCL Division 1
Calmore Sports won by 3 wickets
Portsmouth 145 (Ben Fisher 3/28, Ben Perry 3/28)
Calmore Sports 146/7 (Ben Johns 52)

A fifth win from seven this season has seen the 1st XI leap into second place in the SPCL Division 1 table as they overcame quite some adversity to return home with a three-wicket victory from Portsmouth on a chilly afternoon by the sea at St. Helens … and it was a day for the ‘Ben’s’ to shine.
The game was just four balls old when Calmore were reduced to ten fit men when Allan Hurst, playing in the firsts for the first time in three years, pulled up with a torn hamstring and limped off the field.  The over was completed by Ben Johns, turning his arm over hoping to produce the surprise of a wicket the last time he was on the ground!  A tidy spell of 0-15 in 4.2 overs was good enough – he would later become the tenth player to open the batting and the bowling in the same game for us!
It was his opening partner, Ben Fisher, that knocked the top off the Portsmouth batting, removing keeper Warner before spinner Ben Perry got in amongst the scalps, slicing through with 3-28 from his allocation.  Liam Carty (2-32) and Mark Lavelle (1-30) kept things tight in the absence of the regular maiden-specialist Steve Wright, before Fisher returned to sweep away the tail and end with 3-28 as the home side struggled to 145 all out from 46.3 overs.
There was a tenth different opening partner for Johns to walk out with in the shape of Fisher but he went quickly and there was a steady flow of dismissals with all the batsmen getting starts but not going on – with one exception, the normal exception, Ben Johns.  He would move serenly to his third SPCL half-century of the season – and second in a row at St Helens – but fell shortly after reaching the landmark for 52.  Max Bailey (15) and Jimmy Manning (17) battled but it was Ben Perry and 1st XI league debutant Mitch Parker who shared a vital unbroken 27 run stand to guide the side to victory with 23 balls to spare.
20 points bagged and they sit just 10 points behind leaders Rowledge and games against sixth placed Basingstoke & North Hants and Ventnor in third before the half-way point of the season.
Kevin Emery, Dominic Newman, Lee Savident, James Hibberd, Paul Cass, Charlie Freeston, Paul Proudley, Mark Lavelle, Steve Wright, BEN JOHNS

Hampshire League Division 3 South
Calmore Sports II won by 75 runs
Calmore Sports II 281/5 (Matt Taylor 141*, Michael Cook 62)
Sway II 206/8 (Eve O’Neill 3/31, Callum Holloway 2/32)

Groundhog Day was a 1993 film starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell about a television weatherman covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Pennsylvania but becomes trapped in a time loop, forcing him to relive February 2nd repeatedly.
Anyone would have been mistaken that they had stumbled across the Calmore Sports 2nd XI version, reliving last Saturday’s match against Sarisbury Athletic II this weekend when Sway II appeared at Loperwood Park.  Calmore bat first, collect maximum batting points, post an imposing total based around a brilliant century from skipper Matt Taylor and a decent contribution from a team-mate and then endure the opposition making no attempt to chase the target down, being happy to reach 200 runs and finish eight wickets down.
“I Got You Babe”!!!!!
This fixture could have been deemed as quite a challenge for the unbeaten 2s side, especially as they were decimiated by call ups to the first XI and other absences too.  There was a call up for Callum Holloway for the first time since August 2019 and Ollie Dennett, making his second XI debut having not played on a Saturday since a trip to Longparish with the 3s in July 2017.  There was also a recall for 14-year-old leg-spinner Eve O’Neill and quick Yannick de Mezieres Lepervanche.
And it was once again the captain, in the richest of rich veins of form, that excelled as he cracked an unbeaten 141 from 103 balls with 17 fours and two sixes, coupled with a pleasant 62 from 96 balls from the returning Michael Cook as they shared in a stand of 113 for the second wicket to set their side well on their way to yet another massive first innings score.  They didn’t disappoint.  Dippy Dey (13) and Tom Perry (16) chipped in but they were mainly playing foil to Taylor which saw them close on 281-5 from their 45 overs.
As mentioned last week, only 12 times have the 2s scored over 250 in an innings since 2010 – four of those have come this season!
The visitors made a positive start and reached 74-0 before Millard was brilliantly run out by Yannick and then Southern Vipers Academy talent Eve started to make inroads into the Sway batters.  Her skill and guile was too much for their top order, enticing Thomas down the wicket to be stumped, zipping one past Nailor and then Burton drove to Perry to give her figures of 3-31 in her nine overs.  It was a joy to watch and caused them to seize up in their chase and baton down the hatches, happy to preserve wickets rather than go for the win.
Holloway bowled well for 2-32 while there was a single wicket for Yannick and Tom Perry, brought on to try and tempt the Sway batters into something more adventurous.  It didn’t work!
Next week, the 2s travel to the other unbeaten side in the division – Locks Heath.  That will be the true test of this side’s mettle.
2009 – Paul Cass (101 v Bedhampton, 107* v South Wilts II)
2010 – Michael Wallace (115 v Gosport Borough, 114* v Easton & Martyr Worthy)
2015 – Nigel Hill (126 v Locks Heath IV, 101* v Michelmersh & Timsbury III)
2022 – Matt Taylor (126* v Sarisbury Athletic II, 141* v Sway II)

Hampshire League Division 4 South
Calmore Sports won by 14 runs
Calmore Sports III 209/8 (Callum Greasley 70, Jack Austin 49, Sam Binnington 23)
Hythe and Dibden II 195 (Roy Walton 5/40, Greasley 3/38)

This was a much needed victory and, like much of the victories in the club this weekend, one that came out of a difficult build up and also produced with only 10 players due to a late withdrawal that couldn’t be replaced.
The second win of the campaign, by 14 runs, has moved the 3s up to 14th place in Division 4 South and can travel down to mid-table Portsmouth III next weekend with some encouragement.
Choosing the bat first, it was the 51-run stand between Sam Binnington and the captain Callum Greasley that eased some early concerns before Jack Austin ran with the baton, hitting an impressive 49 from 62 balls which helped them to 209-8 after Greasley’s 52-ball onslaught, cracking 12 fours and two sixes in his 70.
It all looked like plain sailing defending the target as the evergreen Roy Walton rolled back the years to cut through the top order with three wickets and, as Sam Vidler took one and Greasley a first, reduced the visitors to 66-5.  But whilst wicket-keeper Fabio Roberts was at the crease, anything was still possible and he received little support from the lower order – only he with 89 and Ross Livermore at number 10 with 18 topping double figures after Tariq Islam’s early 17 and try as they might, they would eventually stumble 14 runs shy of the target with eight overs unused.
Walton would finish with 5-40 and Greasley 3-38 while the final wicket was claimed by Ollie Brady, making his third XI bow and bowling nicely for his 1-45 figures.
Out of adversity, Greasley’s charges produced a stellar performance – good with the bat, good with the ball, solid in the field – and that can only help their cause going forward.

Hampshire League Division 6 West
Calmore Sports IV won by 2 wickets
Beaulieu 223/4
Calmore Sports IV 224/8 (Oli Hand 149, Karl Abbott 31)

As mentioned, there was a lot of unavailability this weekend, so much so that the club took to Twitter and the assistance of the Hampshire Cricket Board’s loan system, where you can ask if any players from other clubs are free to help you out.  After Dorset-based side Cranborne had their match conceded by Cadnam 2nd XI, they had a number of players looking for a game – including opening batter Oli Hand, the leading run-scorer in Division 6 South-West with 352.
To say he ‘lent a hand’ would be a very suitable pun!
Asked to bat first, Beaulieu made their way to 223-4 from their 40 overs with Young scoring 88 and Blackman 50 against seven Calmore bowlers, four of which claimed a wicket each – Hand’s Cranborne teammate Benny Miller (1-21), Shea Hallinan (1-37), Zaki Yasin (1-40) and Hand (1-28).
Having already taken Beaulieu for 40 not out earlier in the season, the home side might have known what they had in store – but Hand’s temporary teammates might not have done.  They soon would though as he crunched an imperious 149 from just 116 balls with 20 fours and three sixes.  He shared a 106 run stand with Karl Abbott, who scored a good 31 but it really was about the loanee – a brutal display of power hitting which excited those watching on.  He would finally go, fifth wicket down with 203 on the board – having scored 73.3% of the runs scored and his side needing 21 to win!
They very nearly made a mess of it.  Nathan Abbott’s 11 certainly helping the side get over the line while skipper Phil Austin (2*) and Dean Cotter (4*) got the six they needed to get over the line.
The 4s are up to fourth in the table with four wins from five starts.  The league leaders are Cranborne … at least the young fourth XI know what to expect when they travel west on 9 July!!!

Voneus National League Cup Round 5
Calmore Sports won by 4 wickets
Oxford Down 194/7 (Mark Lavelle 2/32)
Calmore Sports 195/6 (Ben Johns 96*, Jimmy Manning 37, Lavelle 21)

When you leave a ground open mouthed, in sheer awe to the brilliance of a player you have witnessed, you know you have someone special in your side.
Calmore Sports Club are extremely fortunate to have one such player.  He hasn’t missed a single 1st XI game – be it league, cup or T20 – since making his debut in 2013 as a fresh-faced 15-year-old.  Since that day, he has played in 180 consecutive matches, not a single one missed, for any reason.  And now, he is making himself a household name across the country with his performances in this competition.  Not bad for someone whose first three innings last season were 0, 0 and 2.
Ben Johns.  Since hitting 75 against Rockhampton in the 2021 quarter-final, he has six fifties and one century in nine innings and is averaging 139.75 – 559 runs for four time dismissed.  Remarkable consistency and made even more so today as he struggled with a groin strain that required him to bat latterly with a runner.
Calmore were forced into four changes from the side that defeated Bramshaw in the county final but every one of those stepping up played their part in a brilliant victory.
Two time Village Cup semi-finalists, Oxfordshire winners Oxford Downs, from Witney to the west of the City of Dreaming Spires, were asked to bat first on a fresh afternoon at Loperwood Park and their plentiful following saw their side get off to a positive start at 31-0 but that soon became 47-4 with a wicket each for Storm Anning, Mike West, Mark Lavelle and a brilliant direct hit from Anning to send back the dangerous Slatter, who has scored a century the day before.  Anning would eventually have to hobble off with a hamstring strain.
The visitors were really struggling to get away and reached the 30 over mark at just 91-4.  What followed stunned those watching as keeper Crouch (43), Costley (43 from 28 balls) and Matt Watts (23 from 15 balls) blitzed 103 from the final 10 overs, hitting six sixes in the process to turn a perilous position into one of strength of 194-7 – the second highest score that Calmore have conceded in the 14 games in the competition (only bettered by Sparsholt’s 201-7).
Calmore’s reply got off to a poor start when the in-form Matt Taylor – another suffering from a hamstring strain – nicked behind for 3 and Mark Lavelle’s breezy 17-ball 21 was ended by the impressive Armstrong.  Johns found a good foil in Sam Moss (15) but two quick wickets again left them 92-4.
Enter the experienced head of Jimmy Manning and they would plunder 65 together – the new batter being particularly brutal on young leggie Welch, hitting him for 18 in one over which pretty much sealed the victory.  The only question was whether Johns would get a second ton of the campaign – he would fall four short and limped off with 96 to his name.  Brilliant, measured 87-ball unbeaten knock of 96 with nine fours and two sixes into the neighbouring houses’ garden as victory was clinched with time to spare.
So, it is now a 370-mile round trip to Grampound Road, a small village in the parish of Ladock – some six miles north-east of Truro – on Sunday 3rd July for a place in the quarter-finals and a home game with either Pentyrch from South Wales, who we played on the third day of the 1999 tour or Goatacre … yep, them again!!
Three games from Lord’s once again – can we do it????

Rainford v Ackworth
Meigle v Alvanley
Cropston v Rolleston
Dumbleton v Milford Hall
Grampound Road v Calmore Sports Club
Pentyrch v Goatacre
Leeds & Broomfield v Foxton Granta
Redbourn v Findon or Stoke Green