Voneus National Village Cup: Calmore's Ben Johns schools Oxford Downs
Voneus National Village Cup Round Five
Oxford Downs 194-7
Calmore Sports 195-6
CALMORE Sports' Ben Johns maintained his remarkable scoring run in the Voneus Village Cup, helping his side secure a four-wicket win over Oxford Downs.
The hero of last season's village final at Lord's produced another match-winning performance with an unbeaten 96, guiding Calmore into the last-16 of the nationwide competition they won last September.
The left-hander, who scored 58, 56, 100 not out and 40 in Calmore's four Hampshire qualifying round ties, raised his Village Cup tally for the season to 350 as the holders chased down an Oxford Downs total of 194 with 23 balls to spare.
"It was one of the hardest run chases we've had in the past two seasons as Oxford hit out late in their innings and got 30 or so more than we ideally wanted to chase," Johns admitted.
"But a 40-yard boundary put a reality check on the target, and once we got going, it was always in sight. It's another great win for us, so the dream of revisiting Lord's goes on."
Oxford Downs, fourth in the Home Counties Premier League Division Two, began brightly but slipped from 31-0 to 47-4 and later 137-6.
But with the ball frequently flying out of the ground courtesy of big-hitting by Frankie Crouch (43), Tom Costner (43 not out) and James Watts (23), they scored between 10 and 12 runs an over in the latter stages of their innings to advance to 194-7.
Calmore's run chase was in the balance when their reply reached 96-4, but Johns was already hitting the ball cleanly, and his fifth-wicket stand with the aggressive James Manning, who struck two sixes and four fours in a quickfire 37, proved crucial. Together they took the score to 157-5, with Johns at 70 not out.
Johns then produced a flurry of boundaries to settle it, reinjuring a groin muscle in the process and seeing out the climax with a runner. He hit two sixes and nine fours to finish 96 not out.
Calmore Sports continue their journey against Truro-based Cornish League side Grampound Road Cricket Club on 2nd July.