Rowledge were unable to recover from losing to the top two over the past fortnight as they lost to 2021 Village Cup winners – and soon to be 2022 finalists – Calmore.

Having won the toss and elected to bat, Rowledge were soon in trouble as David Lloyd, Ricky Yates and Ollie Baker departed to leave the visitors on 54 for three.

The Calmore attack, based around spin, looked to straggle the visitors, but Zac Le Roux had other ideas. Dominating the scoring, the 19-year-old looked impressive once again.

Le Roux and Olly Ryman put on 50 for the fourth wicket until Ryman was adjudged leg before wicket off the bowling of Ben Perry.

Jake Wish joined Le Roux and immediately looked in good touch. A classy cut got him off the mark, and he was then able to put pressure on the fielders through some positive drives, and Wish and Le Roux looked to be getting Rowledge into a good position.

However, 143 for four quickly became 145 for six with 13 overs to go as Le Roux – having passed his fifth Southern Premier League 50 for the season – departed for 75, and Wish holed out for 26.

Ryan Littlewood came and went as he was caught behind, and Will Ryman soon followed.

The rest of the innings meandered, and despite such promise earlier on it became about the last two batsmen batting out time. Rowledge trickled up to 186 all out, which captain Ben Wish felt was 40 short of a good total.

The wickets for Calmore were shared around, with two each for Steve Wright, Ben Fisher, Mark Lavelle, Liam Carty and Ben Perry.

In response the experienced Richard Forbes piled the pressure on the Calmore top order and dismissed Brewster leg before wicket for a duck.

On a pitch where spin was evident in abundance, it was no surprise when Lloyd settled into a good rhythm and slid a delivery through Mark Lavelle’s defence to leave Calmore stuttering at 30 for two.

Ben Johns remained the key man, as he played with calmness and took his tally for the season to more than 500 runs.

Max Martin, however, managed to extract immediate joy from the pitch and took the outside edge of John’s bat for 32. Ben Wish took the catch and Rowledge felt they were in with a shout.

Calmore’s Shawn Johnson played with maturity and without a great deal of risk, and he found an ally in Max Bailey – who was at his unconventional best.

Bailey swept, paddled and scooped the initiative in Calmore’s direction, quickly compiling 26 off 17 balls, only to fall to Baker – who finally got a wicket despite limited luck.

While Manning came and went to the outstanding Martin, Johnson remained in good touch. Ben Fisher joined him and – aside from looking to pounce on any width – there was urgency in the running between the wickets.

With Wish needing to take wickets, more gaps appeared in the field. Despite a superb effort, Rowledge fell to a five-wicket loss. Calmore reaching their target with 22 deliveries to spare, with Johnson finishing on 64 not out.

The Rowledge bowling performance was excellent, backed up by some superb fielding. The spin trio of Baker (one for 41), Lloyd (one for 17) and Martin (two for 36) were threatening, and the bustling Will Ryman bowled with rhythm for little reward.

Rowledge will be looking to bounce back this Saturday as they return to play at home against Portsmouth (12.30pm start).