Another overseas ace comes good against Rowledge
Another week, and another Saturday where Rowledge came up against an outstanding overseas player, this time on their travels to the Isle of Wight.
Ventnor started in an aggressive fashion through Rob Snell and Sri Lankan first class player Dineth Thimodya.
The pair targeted the short boundary, and immediately put the Rowledge bowlers on the back foot.
An opening stand of 83 was broken only when Snell would have felt rather hard done by to be given out lbw, and then Ash-Lee Harvey had Woodhouse caught on the drive by Ryan Littlewood.
Thimodya, though, was in a ruthless mood. Having started his innings in an authoritative manor, the middle of the innings was very much about him accumulating, as he found an ally in the experienced Martin Blackman.
The Rowledge fielding continued to impress, and truth be told the bowling was not poor, they were just up against an exceptional batsman.
Ollie Baker, the pick of the Rowledge bowlers, was luckless in his first spell, and returned in his second spell to finish the 150-run partnership for the third wicket, first taking Thimodya and then Blackman for 50.
Thimodya fell for 144 off 122 deliveries, with his innings comprising 14 fours and eight sixes, and taking his season tally to 811 runs – top of Division 1 by a distance.
With wickets in hand, the innings was set up for an assault in the last few overs, and Hugh Calloway and Kevin Cooper were in no mood to muck around, putting on 74 in no time at all, clearing the ropes for six on nine occasions.
Rowledge were required to respond to the Ventnor score of 329, and set about positively with Ricky Yates and Jonty Sebborn looking to take advantage of the good conditions.
Yates perished, caught at point, and having looked to play confidently off the back foot with some decisive pull shots, Sebborn was caught behind off Mark Holmes for 26.
As has been the story for the season, Rowledge batters made starts without going on as Zac Le Roux became Holmes’ third victim at the end of a testing spell for 28.
Jake Wish looked in fine form until he was caught sweeping for 28 and Littlewood hit a quickfire 21, looking to add momentum to what was an ever-increasing required run rate.
It became clear the target of 330 was looking unachievable, but in the meantime Ollie Baker continued to accumulate runs, sweeping the spinners and dismissive to anything short.
Thimodya bowled a containing seven overs, varying his pace, but it was Namish Verma who would be the beneficiary as the Rowledge tail looked to gain maximum batting points – which they duly did.
Baker became the ninth man out for 80 in 100 balls, an innings of great maturity and his career best in Southern Premier League cricket.
Rowledge’s innings came to a close in the last over as they were all out for 242.
It was a competitive effort but the day will be remembered for coming up against a high-class performance from the Sri Lankan first class cricketer.
Rowledge have their last home game of the season today (Saturday) as they host New Milton.
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