Rowledge secured a memorable victory on Saturday in Division 1 of the Southern Premier League, showing excellent character to clinch a victory from the jaws of defeat against powerful Sarisbury Athletic.
Despite winning the toss and electing to bat, Rowledge’s innings never really found momentum, with wickets falling at crucial moments where they looked set to build a partnership and increase the scoring rate.
Jake Wish looked to be positive and raced to a fluent 29 with a series of boundaries, but it was the youthful pairing of Ollie Ryman and Bertie Chilcott who put together the most telling partnership.
Chilcott impressed on debut with some powerful sweep shots, and Ryman was typically brutal on anything short-pitched.
However, just as the pair looked set to accelerate, they quickly departed, with Ryman falling to a spectacular diving catch at mid-wicket by Grierson.
The Rowledge innings featured some later-order hitting by Richard Forbes, before concluding in the final over all out for 188.
At the halfway point, Rowledge would have felt their total was perhaps 40 runs below par.
However, they had strong belief in their bowling and fielding, which had been the backbone of their early season victories.
The reply could not have started much better for Sarisbury, as a flurry of boundaries from Grierson propelled them to 30 without loss after four overs.
At this point Rowledge set about dragging themselves back into the game.
Captain Ben Wish often deployed his bowlers in short bursts, but each bowled tightly and the young Rowledge side fielded with exceptional energy and enthusiasm to restrict the Sarisbury scoring.
Rowledge’s game plan was proving effective, as they forced the Sarisbury batters into mistakes in their attempts to increase the scoring rate.
Ollie Baker bowled an immaculate spell with unerring accuracy, finishing his ten overs conceding only 21 runs and removing the experienced Ricky Rawlins.
At the other end, the evergreen David Lloyd was a constant threat, taking four crucial wickets including that of the dangerous opener Grierson.
However, with the hard-hitting pair of Josh Hill and Nathan Feltham at the crease, the game was firmly in Sarisbury’s hands.
Both men launched maximums, but fell in quick succession, succumbing to the pressure caused by the relentless accuracy of the Rowledge bowlers.
Feltham fell to Lloyd, following an exceptional catch at deep mid-wicket from Ollie Baker, and Hill fell to Forbes, with captain Ben Wish taking his third of four smart catches standing up to the stumps.
With ten overs to go, Sarisbury found themselves at 148 for seven and still in a strong position in the game with Franklin and Wright together at the crease.
The Rowledge attack kept rotating in the death overs, but the bowlers continued to deliver accuracy, well supported by the strong fielding unit.
Ash-Lee Harvey removed Wright, attempting one big shot too many, caught brilliantly in the deep by Ryman covering a significant amount of ground.
Jake Wish came on to bowl the 48th over and removed number seven Rob Franklin, smartly caught by Ryan Littlewood.
To finish the game, Ash-Lee Harvey beat the defences of Sam Hill, and Ben Wish whipped the bails off to cap off a memorable victory for Rowledge by the margin of 14 runs.
Captain Ben Wish will have been delighted by the fight and application shown by his Rowledge team, who refused to give up when the game seemed destined to go against them, and battled hard to secure a third victory in their opening four league games.
They face another stern test this weekend as they host Calmore Sports.