Rowledge won by 122 runs at Ventnor in Division One of the Southern Premier Cricket League on Saturday.
It is rare that Rowledge have travelled to the Isle of Wight in the past 15 years and come back with a victory, but to win so emphatically was a tribute to the young visiting side’s skillset in all three facets of the game. Probably for the first time this season they put all three together to pick up valuable full bonus points.
Ventnor’s decision to field first was a decision which surprised Rowledge, but with the vulnerability of the visiting team’s batting perhaps it was not surprising. After again losing an early wicket, the in-form Max Martin was joined by Ollie Baker and the pair slowly and conservatively produced a 60-run partnership to set up the visitors’ innings. Baker was dismissed by off-spinner Ben Attrill, and Jake Wish and Olly Ryman followed in quick succession to leave Rowledge on 95 for four and the game on a knife edge.
Martin was joined by overseas player Connor Cook, and right from the first ball when he hit Attrill for six over long-on, he took the attack to the hosts. The hosts seemed to not know whether to defend or attack against the young Australian, and he plundered boundary after boundary.
Martin played the support role and the run rate rose as the century partnership was achieved in quickfire time.
When Cook was caught off Attrill for an intelligent and powerful 83 he had put Rowledge in the driving seat, and the patient Martin continued to work the bowling around the beautiful Steephill ground.
Last week’s hero Will Ryman then fell cheaply, which brought the evergreen David Lloyd to the crease.
He then produced an onslaught on the Ventnor bowling which turned back the years and took the game away from the third-placed team.
Lloyd’s big-hitting 29 not demoralised the home team, and when Martin finally went for a perfectly-timed 70 it was left to youngster Ferdy Marshall and veteran Lloyd to pile on the runs and finish the innings on 278 for seven.
Ventnor’s opening pair of Henry Bartlett and overseas Dineth Thimodya went about the task with some aplomb, and at 65 without loss after six overs it looked as if they were going to see off the big total with ease. Rowledge captain Ben Wish turned to off spinner Cook, and he changed the game in a matter of four balls by dismissing Bartlett for 31 and Sam Mills for a duck to leave Ventnor on 65 for two.
With Thimdoya looking in imperious form the danger signs were still there for Rowledge as he continued to plunder the visitors’ attack with a boundary-strewn half-century in quick time.
At 103 for three Lloyd was introduced into the attack and he did not let his team down – producing a spell of bowling that brought back memories of previous exploits.
His line and length was immaculate and he got a ball to turn and jump to get Thimdoya caught behind.
Lloyd’s final figures of four for 31 turned the game completely and won the game for the visitors.
Ventnor’s middle and lower-order batting disintegrated with the pressure of the large total, and Rowledge’s comprehensive victory was completed when the hosts were bowled out for 156.
Rowledge’s bowling attack controlled the game, with two wickets apiece for Cook and Baker finishing off the innings.
Rowledge have picked up three wins in a row, and with all three facets of their game coming together confidence is high heading into Saturday’s home game against Andover.
On Sunday, Rowledge will host Parley at the Recreation Ground in the next round of the Southern Premier League T20 competition – and all are welcome to come along and watch. The bar will be open and the match starts at 3pm.