Calmore Sports CC seal national Voneus Village Cup round spot with tight win over Sparsholt
CALMORE Sports CC will carry the Hampshire banner into the national rounds of the Voneus Village Cup after beating Sparsholt by four wickets in a back-and-forth county final decided with three balls remaining.
Sparsholt defended their Josh May-inspired 201-7 gallantly. However, after celebrating two early breakthroughs, they were undone by a 141-run partnership between Shaun Johnson and Will Brewster, which took Calmore within sight of victory.
It was appropriate that two previous Theakston players of the round, Sparsholt’s Josh May and Calmore’s all-rounder Shawn Johnson, should play such dominant roles in the final.
May’s 92 laid the foundation for the Sparsholt innings. His innings oozed class, his firm top-hand grip and straight left elbow ensured control and, while only 22 of his runs came in boundaries, he dictated the terms from the middle. Had he not been run out eight short of a deserved hundred, Sparsholt may have posted a total beyond Calmore’s reach.
May’s exit at 179-7 gave Dave Banks the platform to hit 33 and carry Sparsholt to a competitive score.
Sparsholt struck twice at the top of the Calmore reply, with Ben Johns adjudged leg before and teenager Tom Ley rearranging Matty Taylor’s stumps to leave the hosts
It could have been much worse. With his score at 14, Johnson, the hero of the thrilling round two derby victory over Paultons, drilled a shot to deep mid-off, and the catch ought to have been taken.
With Hampshire Cricket’s press and communications officer Brewster alongside him, Johnston proceeded to boss the show, hitting two big sixes and nine fours.
Brewster was more sedate but played his support role perfectly.
The pair brought up their respective 50s with Johnson on 77 runs and Brewster 61, but the game took a dramatic twist in the 25th over with both batsmen dismissed off consecutive deliveries.
Sparsholt’s Ley had a hand in both. Firstly, he ran out Brewster and, after the batsmen had crossed, the Peter Symonds College student took a brilliant leg-side catch to send the former Bexhill all-rounder on his way.
Calmore were left at 149-4, but they still had 14 overs left to get the 53 runs they required.
Chasing targets is seldom straightforward, and Sparsholt did not make it easy for them.
James Manning (18) kept the scoreboard ticking over alongside Max Bailey, who kept his cool, with his timely 26 runs getting Calmore to within two runs of the finish line and a place in the last 32.
Two singles from Ben Perry secured the win setting off wild celebrations around the ground as Calmore Sports booked their place in the last 32 of the competition at the first time of asking.
Calmore Sports will play Berkshire group winners Cookham Dean on Sunday 20th June in the round-of-32 match.