Rowledge’s run of confidence-boosting victories came to an abrupt end with a defeat against table-topping Portsmouth by seven wickets at a sun drenched Recreation Ground.

Winning the toss and batting first, the hosts started brightly with Max Martin scoring freely. However, the early losses of Jake Wish and Ollie Baker were followed by Martin falling trying to scoop Tom Lewis and getting bowled and Rowledge found themselves in a hole at 58 for three.

David Lloyd joined Zac Le Roux at the crease. Slowly but surely Lloyd brought the total up to a reasonable score on a pitch which appeared to have no hidden demons in it. Overseas player Justin Felsch scored 32, and Lloyd reached his half-century in the penultimate over as Rowledge finished on 184 for nine at the end of their allotted 50 overs. The Portsmouth bowling was controlled and the wickets were shared by the six bowlers, but the final score gave the hosts something to bowl at.

Portsmouth openers Daniel Wimble (46) and Carlin Joy (76) set about the normally reliable Rowledge bowling attack with a destructive century partnership in 14 overs and took the game completely away from the home side.

When both openers fell in quick succession Portsmouth were 126 for two, but former Bangladesh player Mohammad Ashraful (35 not out) sealed Portsmouth’s win in the 25th over. Lloyd rounded off a good day by taking two for 18.

A thoroughly impressive performance by the league leaders gave Rowledge food for thought, and they will have to pick themselves up when they face second-placed Sarisbury Athletic on Saturday.

Rowledge’s second team continued their fine form with a 75-run win at Hursley Park. Sam Marshall (138) hit his second century of the season in a total of 309 all out and then took four for 24 to help bowl the hosts out for 234.

Rowledge’s third team lost by six wickets against Ramsdell. The visitors batted first and were bowled out for 164. Rowledge had the home side in trouble at 66 for four, but Ramsdell knocked the runs off in the 26th over.