Ovation for Ben Johns as Calmore Sports into Voneus Village Cup final again after win over Foxton Granta
Voneus Village Cup semi-final
Calmore Sports CC 184-3
Foxton Granta 183-8
BEN Johns left the field to a standing ovation from a 500-plus crowd after producing a batting masterclass which guided Calmore Sports to a seven-wicket victory over Foxton Granta and a place in the Lord’s final of the national Voneus Village Cup final for the second year running.
The left-hander oozed class as he struck a magical, boundary laden 95 – Calmore chasing down Foxton’s 183-8 to win the Loperwood Park semi-final tie with more than five overs to spare.
He was caught five runs short of what would have been a richly deserved hundred, toe-ending an intended pull-shot which, had he middled it, would probably have sailed over the mid-wicket boundary for Calmore’s match-winning six hit.
But he’ll go to Lord’s on Sunday 18th September for the final against Worcestershire-based Dumbleton boasting a Village Cup aggregate 494 runs – by some distance the highest in this season’s competition.
Sadly, former England captain David Gower, who watched the first half of the semi-final on behalf of competition organisers The Cricketer magazine, was unable to stay and watch John’s match-winning innings.
As one of England’s most attractive left-hand stroke players of his era, Gower would certainly have given the nod of approval to his knock.
Having lifted the trophy last season, Calmore Sports will start as hot favourites against Dumbleton, currently second in the WEPL Gloucestershire League.
The Evesham-based club beat Rainsford, situated on the outskirts of Liverpool, by 70 runs in the other semi-final, defending 166-9 and skittling their hosts for 96.
Calmore looked to have their hands full when Foxton openers Lewys Hill (39) and Adam Webster (36) set off at seven runs an over, but the game changed significantly when three wickets fell for four runs – two of them to Mark Lavelle (3-25) – and the visitors slipped to 76-3.
Jonny Atkinson (33) and Adil Abraham (28) added 51, but Calmore’s three-pronged spin attack was pegging back the run rate and, in a bid to move matters along, wickets fell – Ben Perry (4-23) prospering as some superb catches were taken in the outfield, none better than two by Johns.
A flat surface and fast outfield was perfect for a Calmore run chase and Will Brewster, with a well-made 40, and Johns set the tone with 129-run opening partnership.
Johns, then on 20, was dropped – a stiff chance to mid-wicket – in the eighth over, but that was the only offering he gave in an otherwise masterly knock.
Timing the ball superbly, he straight and cover drove and played some Goweresque shots off his legs, clearing the boundary rope three times alongside scoring 12 fours.
Lavelle (25) provided handy support before Johns, trying to clinch the victory with a six, was caught for 95. It was a great shame. A century was well deserved.