Rowledge’s seven-game unbeaten run in Division 1 of the Southern Cricket League came to an end as they fell to a disappointing five-wicket defeat at Basingstoke.
Rowledge’s innings got off to a mixed start as some wayward new-ball bowling meant they set off at a decent rate – but wickets fell at a regular interval, leaving them at 62 for four in the 13th over.
Zac Le Roux looked in great touch from ball one, striking some sumptuous drives through the covers, before he fell after the introduction of the spinners.
It quickly became apparent the slower bowling was tough to get away, with a dry pitch causing significant turn and some uneven bounce.
Notably, Dubs Wood’s ten- over allocation would concede only 13 runs, and his bowling in consistently good areas, with assistance from the pitch, would be the blueprint that Rowledge’s battery of slow bowlers would want to follow.
Ollie Baker dug in with the bat for Rowledge, and he was proactive against the spinners and kept Rowledge ticking over, while avoiding unnecessary risks as he looked to bat deep into the 50 overs.
He received some useful assistance from Ryan Littlewood, but it was his excellent knock of 70 that would give Rowledge a reasonable score to defend.
With Richard Forbes missing and a dry pitch only getting more difficult as the day progressed, Ben Wish opted to open the bowling with two spinners in Ash-Lee Harvey and Baker.
They were immediately put under pressure as Dubs Wood looked to be positive and struck several boundaries early on.
However, Rowledge steadily built pressure as their spin bowlers were well supported by some good ground fielding early on.
The five-pronged spin attack for Rowledge were threatening, with Max Martin particularly impressive and Harvey very economical.
Though Rowledge were keeping the run rate under control, they missed some crucial chances as Wood was dropped on several occasions.
They would go on to rue these chances as Wood was joined by Joe Oates.
Oates was watchful at first, but then launched his attack.
He carefully picked his balls and targeted the short boundary, striking some lusty blows over mid-wicket and timing the ball better than anyone on the day.
Though he would eventually fall for 66, he had guided Basingstoke very close to the finish line.
Despite Rowledge’s best efforts and showing a fighting spirit until the very end, Wood eased Basingstoke over the line with an over to spare.
It was his impressive knock of 80 and a captain’s knock from Oates that proved the difference for Basingstoke.
Rowledge will look to bounce back immediately as they host local rivals Alton, ahead of a potentially table-topping clash against Sarisbury Athletic.