The 1s and 2s continue to challenge for honours, the 3s perform superbly in defeat to league favourites and a stunning knock helps the 4s to victory ….. oh, and Lord’s is just two games away again!

SPCL Division 1
Calmore Sports won by 3 wickets
Ventnor 213/8 (Mark Lavelle 3/39, Dan Croft 3/48)
Calmore Sports 214/7 (Mark Lavelle 45, Ben Johns 28, Mitch Parker 25*)

Four wins in a row and second place maintained was the result for the 1st XI, although this was definitely a hard fought victory over Ventnor, who started the day in the top half of the table and proved a tough nut to crack.
Put into bat, the Islanders benefitted from some wayward bowling early on but the introduction of spin – as is the norm with Calmore – got the breakthrough as the captain removed opener Snell for a breezy 28.  Shawn Johnson bowled well and got his reward when he trapped Verma leg before but overseas player Thimodya and wily veteran Blackman looked to be taking the game away from the home side with an impressive stand of 81.
The ball was then thrown to Dan Croft as the sixth bowler and after a couple of tidy overs that only conceded six, he tempted the Sri Lankan to drive to Ben Perry and he was gone for 53 which opened the door and the Calmore bowlers charged through it.  Croft got through the defences of Hugh Calloway and then Lavelle returned to the attack and snaffled a return catch to remove Whyte and then Zeph Wells edged to Jimmy Manning and the relative comfort of 144-2 had become 188-6 – although the obdurate Blackman was still at the crease.
His 114-ball innings came to an end and gave Croft his third when he hit out to Fisher for 66 and they stumbled to 213-8 from their 50 overs – a score that looked considerably less than had been threatened.
Loperwood Park is a very different ground these days and a chase of 214 to win, whilst always a challenge, is not the daunting one that it once was.
There was early celebration as Ben Johns cracked his first boundary of the day to become Calmore Sports’ leading run scorer in SL/SPCL cricket, surpassing Tommy Pegler’s record (more on that in another article) but he lost his opening partner Will Brewster – a man on tenterhooks as his wife is due to give birth any day – and then Johns went caught and bowled to leave the home side 53-2.
What was needed was a steady batting innings with contributions all through – and that is what they got.  Lavelle led the way with a patient but steady 45 and was helped by Johnson (24) and Max Bailey (20) but a collapse from 160-4 to 179-7 put them in danger of falling short.
Step forward Mitch Parker, playing just his third 1st XI league match.  With 35 still needed, he joined Fisher at the crease and cracked four fours and a huge six to collect 25 of them in just 24 balls – taking the side to victory with 19 balls to spare and he celebrated suitably!
With Rowledge only picking up a tie against lowly Sparsholt, the gap at the top of the table is now just three points and the mid-point of the season arrives with Calmore in terrific shape.


Hampshire League Division 3 South
Calmore Sports II won by 157 runs
Calmore Sports II 330/3 (Michael Cook 121, Matt Taylor 112, Dipanjan Dey 51*)
Fareham and Crofton II 173/8 (Ryan Lomax 3/22)

It’s Saturday, it’s Calmore Sports 2nd XI, it’s a win, it’s a Matt Taylor century, it’s the opposition throwing in the towel early doors … things that are starting to become like clockwork!
The latest victims of the Taylor-led juggernaut were bottom of the table Fareham and Crofton II, who became the third side to crash to defeat by over 100 runs – this was the biggest of the season, victory by 157 runs.
Winning the toss and batting first, the 2s did lose Paul Lock early for 6 but it just brought the stupendously in-form Taylor to the crease to join Michael Cook and they splayed the Fareham bowlers to all parts of the Bath Lane Recreation Ground, sharing in a stand of 196 – the second highest in recent history of the second team.
It was a stunning display of batting from the pair.  Taylor recorded his third league century of the season and Cook, having waited 10 years for one, recorded his second ton of the campaign.  Taylor’s 112 came from 102 balls with 12 fours and three sixes while Cook made 121 at a more sedate 134 balls for 12 fours and two maximums.  It was just the second time that two Calmore 2s batters had recorded centuries in the same innings.
The captain was the man to go – Cook was on 62 at the time – but that just brought Dippy Dey to the wicket and he plundered a 24-ball 51, adding 98 for the third wicket with Cook.  It was a brutal display of batting and their 330-3 was just three runs short of the 2s record of 333-3 against New Milton II in 2019 at Loperwood.
But, once again, the opposition made no effort in trying to chase down the target – happily plodding along, keeping wickets intact.  Taylor tried eight different bowlers in an attempt to prize the hosts out but they had to concede a point despite Ryan Lomax’s impressive 9-4-22-3 and a couple of wickets apiece for Yannick de Mezeires Lepervanche and James Rose.
An opener scoring 8 off 44 and another 36 off 74 … not the ideal way to chase 7.33 runs per over from the start!
You may have noticed that I hadn’t mentioned who held the highest partnership prior to this one.  Or the names of those who were the last to score centuries in the same game for the 2s.  It was on 16 May 2015 at Loperwood Park against Follands.  Tam Goodrich made 112 and the other – he retired hurt for 101 and would never play the game again.  No one will ever forget the celebration and the subsequent collapse of Luke Gould on that day.
So the 2s are played 9, won 9 and has dropped just five points all season – they are 23 points clear at the top of the table heading into the second half of the campaign.  Could it really be the year they escape the clutches of County 3?


Hampshire League Division 4 South
Bedhampton Mariners won by 92 runs
Bedhampton Mariners 286/6 (Paul Henry 3/24)
Calmore Sports III 194 (Dom Ducellier 49, Darren Vann 34, Josh Ellis 31)

The 3rd XI has slipped to fourth from the bottom of County 4 South but they certainly gave a good account of themselves against the unbeaten league leaders Bedhampton at the Sports Centre.
Bedhampton, who were playing in County 1 last season but decided to cut their 1st team and continue with their 2s in the lower league, still had a number of remnants from the desolved side.
And it proved to be thus – skipper Wainwright scoring 82, George Parvin 48 and Ollie Parvin 43 as they put the home side to the sword with only a couple of bowlers escaping the onslaught 0 Matt Morgan going at just over 5s for his 0-47 in nine while Mr Dependable getting the remarkable figures of 9-1-24-3 – impressive stuff … might have even made him smile (doubtful though!)
The visitors would reach 286-6 in their 45 overs – a wicket each for Dom Ducellier, Stewart Abbott and skipper Cal Greasley.
The reply didn’t start well with Sam Binnington going early but a typically forthright 34 (27 balls) from Darren Vann upped the rate and there were decent contributions from Greasley and Ollie Tull (both 19) before Josh Ellis and Ducellier came together.  They put on 17 before Ellis went for 31 and then Henry put on 46 with the former South Wilts man.  Dom would just miss out on a 50 – being last man out for 49 while Henry kept him good company with 18.
There are bigger fish to fry for the 3s in their first season at this level and games to come against those also at the wrong end of the table.  Better fortune and good availability will help ensure that their time in County 4 South is not a short one.

Hampshire League Division 6 West
Calmore Sports IV won by 105 runs
Calmore Sports IV 280/4 (Sam Dempster 140, Paul Hibberd 62, Ollie Brady 31)
Fawley III 175 (Ollie Hibberd 4/29, Ella Cruise Cotter 2/25, Ollie Brady 2/11)

Bartley Cricket Ground – one of those typically transquil, quintessential New Forest grounds – surrounded by trees and ponies on the outer, all encased in a wired fence to keep the animals at bay.
But the animal instincts of Sam Dempster could not be kept out nor could his innings be described as tranquil as the peppered the boundaries with a sensational 140 which led his side to a 105-run success over Fawley III on their temporary ground – their normal home ground unavailable due to a football tournament …. in July!
It was a sheer display of power hitting – bringing up his 50 in the 5th over and walking off the field with 19 fours and seven sixes in around the 18th over!  No-one was safe – trees, ponies, passers by, team mates or anyone as he powered his way to his 2nd club century – the first coming down the Old Ground a couple of years ago.
But there was also another blast from the past appearance in the fourth XI, Paul Hibberd – joining his brother and his nephew in the side.  Paul cracked 62 with eight fours and two sixes while young Ollie Brady continued to show his progress with an impressive 31.
The home side played well in reaching 175 in just 31 overs – keeper Smith making 54 and captain Gregory 31 not out but they came unstuck against another fine spell of bowling from junior Hibberd (4-29) while Ella Cruise Cotter (2-25) and Brady (2-11) claimed crucial scalps.
Once again, it was another great showing from the 4th team – who keep up their place in the top half of the table and head to league leaders Cranborne next weekend.

Voneus National Village Cup Round 6
Calmore Sports won by 9 wickets
Grampound Road 57 (Josh Metcalfe 3/21, Shawn Johnson 3/19, Ben Perry 2/11)
Calmore Sports 60/1 (Matt Taylor 26*, Ben Johns 23*)

To say this was a tough day for the Cornish visitors would be quite something of an understatement.  Forced to switch the game from their Truro home due to hosting the Cornwall Premier League T20 Finals Day on their ground, they would leave home at 6am, arrive at Loperwood at 10am – and the game last just 31.2 overs in going down by nine wickets.
For Calmore Sports, they remain undefeated in this competition and arrive just two victories away from a back-to-back return to Lord’s – let’s not get carried away, there are many hurdles to overhaul just yet.
The game itself was something of a Curates egg for the home side in that it was the quick bowlers who did the majority of the hard yards.  Bowling unchanged for the first 16 overs, Village Cup debutant Josh Metcalfe – a closed season signing from Paultons – took 3-21 and Shawn Johnson 3-19 as they tore through the top order, reducing them to 41-6.  They didn’t help themselves though, some of the shot selection left plenty to be desired, swishing across the line when a bit of resilince was needed.
It was left to the spinners to do the rest.  Ben Perry the pick with 2-11, Mark Lavelle 1-4 from his four overs and Liam Carty (that’s LIAM Carty) not even completing his first over to wrap up the innings.  Only keeper Harry Gregory with 12 made double figures – although 10 wides helped their cause a fraction.
Just 6.3 overs were needed for Calmore to knock off the runs although Will Brewster did fall for 4, hooking the lively Keevil.  Ben Johns increased his Village Cup average for 2022 to 131.66 in closing 23 not out while Matt Taylor clubbed six fours in a 17-ball unbeaten 26.
It was sad to see a game of this magnitude finish in such an anticlimatic way – everyone wishes Grampound Road all the very best for the rest of the season … they are a lot better side that we saw at Loperwood Park on Sunday.