Rowledge’s first team fell to an 81-run defeat at home to Sarisbury Athletic in Division One of the Southern Premier Cricket League on Saturday.
Following the previous week’s resounding victory at Hambledon, Rowledge went into the match against last season’s Division One runners-up with high hopes.
On the back of that strong bowling and fielding performance, Rowledge skipper Ben Wish had no hesitation in putting Sarisbury into bat when the toss went his way.
What followed was an innings of two halves.
The combination of Richard Forbes’ metronomic accuracy and Max Martin’s variation and flight led to a very watchful start from the Sarisbury opening partnership.
Rowledge broke through when Ollie Baker dismissed Cameron Grierson with the first ball of his spell.
Baker then added a second wicket to bring Sarisbury skipper Josh Hill to the crease.
Hill hit a rapid 28 before falling to an excellent diving catch by Hugh Croft in the deep.
From 88 for three at the 25-over mark, Sarisbury’s middle order looked to accelerate and targeted the shorter boundary on one side. Left-hander Nathan Feltham (59) was especially strong down the ground.
Rowledge stuck to their task, maintaining excellent standards in the field, but Sarisbury managed to get to a very respectable 223 for seven at the close. Baker (two for 32), Connor Cook (two for 76) and Ollie Ryman (two for 32) all picked up two wickets apiece.
Rowledge’s chase got off to a steady start, but the wickets of Ricky Yates, Max Martin and Ryman in quick succession put the home side under pressure. The tumble of wickets brought in Australian all-rounder Cook to join opener Jontie Sebborn.
With Sebborn (35) patiently anchoring the innings, Cook looked to play in more expansive fashion – bringing up his maiden half-century for the club with three sixes and four fours. This surge in momentum was, however, short lived as Cook (51) was bowled aiming to hit another maximum.
Sarisbury spin duo Sam Hill (three for 34) and Josh Hill (three for 13) then took the game away from Rowledge as scoreboard pressure told.
Cameos from David Lloyd (22 not out) and skipper Wish entertained the home crowd, but Rowledge fell well short, closing on 142 all out.
Rowledge will look to get back on track this Saturday when they travel to May’s Bounty to take on undefeated Basingstoke & North Hants.
Rowledge’s second and third teams also succumbed to defeat on Saturday, but with availability stretched to breaking point by university and school exam season, getting three competitive teams out, including many junior players, was a small victory.