Title challenge is derailed – but Rowledge still aiming high

Saturday 6th August 2022 6:00 am
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Zach Le Roux hits out for 75 in Rowledge’s tied match
Zac Le Roux hits out for Rowledge (Tindle )

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Rowledge have over-achieved this season – and after suffering their second successive defeat, they are determined to finish the campaign on a high.

They spent much of the early part of the season top of Division 1 in the Southern Premier League, although have now slipped to third.

But they are determined to finish as high up the table as possible.

They came up second best against leaders Sarisbury on Saturday, who are a well-drilled, experienced outfit.

Only 12 overs were possible in the first hour as numerous delays and conversations between the umpires and the Sarisbury captain led to a frosty atmosphere.

Through this Jonty Sebborn and Ricky Yates (31) got starts but the seam attack of Ronan De Grussa and Jordan Wright bowled in good areas and they were supplemented by the accurate spin of Rob Franklin.

The spinner ripped the heart out of the middle order, claiming three wickets, as Rowledge struggled to 97 for six.

On a dry, dusty surface, excessive spin and variable bounce were evident, but the in-form Zac Le Roux battled on. The 19-year-old was positive with his feet against spin and quick to pick up on anything short, and he gave Rowledge some hope of posting a decent score.

He found an ally in Will Ryman and the pair put on 43 until Ryman looked to press ahead by hitting over the top, only to be caught off Matt Journeaux.

Le Roux kept going, and his innings of 73 off 86 deliveries was outstanding in the context of the game.

Rowledge were all out for 185, and knew they were going to have a tough task defending that against a powerful Sarisbury unit.

They did get off to a great start as Richard Forbes trapped Tom Mills lbw, and then had the experienced Ricky Rawlins caught smartly by Bertie Chilcott.

David Lloyd then dismissed a rather disgruntled Cameron Grierson lbw and at 53 for three Rowledge were in the contest.

However, the in-form Sam Floyd was looking positive, and the Rowledge attack were getting frustrated as Ollie Baker in particular produced some outstanding deliveries for little reward.

Floyd, with Jack Lovett and then Journeaux, manipulated the field well, and passed his 50 but then perished soon after to the lively Ryman.

Yates clean-bowled Lovett, but it only brought the big-hitting Josh Hill to partner Journeaux, and the pair looked to finish the game as quickly as they could.

Hill made an unbeaten 37 off 15 deliveries to guide Sarisbury to a five-wicket win with 14 overs to spare and leaving them 29 points clear of second-placed Alton.

Rowledge won’t have an easy task today (Saturday) as they travel to Calmore, who won the Village Cup in 2021 and will return to Lord’s next month after winning their semi-final on Sunday by seven wickets.

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