ROWLEDGE claimed a major scalp by completing the double over joint Southern Premier League Division One leaders Basingstoke in a rain-affected game at Mays Bounty.
Two all-rounders played a crucial role for Rowledge. David Lloyd and Steve Martin shared seven wickets and then got their side out of deep trouble with a match-winning stand.
It began as a 48-overs game and after Ben Wish had elected to field, brother Jake Wish promptly had Dan Belcher caught by Martin. Skipper Mitch Stokes looked to be aggressive and 57 runs came in rapid time before first-change Martin bowled the former Hampshire man for 33 and then got Chris Froud lbw for 30.
At 78-3, the Rowledge spinners took control. George Keeley settled into a metronomic spell, while Lloyd caught and bowled Will Phillips with his first delivery. George Metzger played on to the off-spinner and when former professional David Griffiths was snaffled behind the stumps by Ben Wish, Lloyd had his third wicket and the tail was exposed.
Bradley Neal played sensibly, while looking to be positive, but he was running out of partners as Lloyd pinned Martyn James in front, Keeley removed Matt Deadman and then Chris Yates Snr bowled Mathew Thankachan.
Martin (3-28) returned to bowl last man Ash Neal and Bradley Neal was left stranded on 41 not out, Lloyd returning excellent figures of 9-1-24-4 as Basingstoke were dismissed for 159.
After the rain interruptions, Rowledge’s revised target was a very gettable 132 off 34 overs, but the conditions were tricky and the hostile Griffiths and naggingly accurate James soon had the visitors in trouble.
The former Hampshire and Kent paceman cleaned up Jake Wish and Joe Randall, James had Tom Treble caught at second slip and when Griffiths trapped Ian Metcalfe in front first ball, Rowledge were reeling at 32-4.
Sam Plater, having reached a composed 25, was caught at midwicket trying to push the score on and Rowledge were teetering at 49-5 when Lloyd and Martin came together.
The pair added 83 for the sixth wicket in high-pressure circumstances, both playing positively and with a great deal of grit against the returning Griffiths, backed up by the probing Stokes and Thankachan.
The unflappable duo saw Rowledge to their target with 14 balls to spare, Lloyd finishing 43 not out (66 balls) and Martin 35 not out (60 balls). A quite superb effort from these batsmen and an outstanding team display from Rowledge.
With four matches to go, Rowledge remain second from bottom, but this result should be a real confidence-booster for their vital home fixture against Portsmouth – one place above them – this Saturday.
• Not a ball was bowled in the match between Liphook & Ripsley and Bournemouth. Liphook visit bottom side Tichborne Park this week.