Rowledge slipped to a 59-run defeat at Sarisbury Athletic in their opening Southern Premier Cricket League Division One match of the season on Saturday.

Rowledge competed for large parts of their visit to Sarisbury, who are the early-season favourites to win the Division One title.

Sarisbury’s Tom Morton and Austalian Kaiden Cookson put on 79 for the first wicket and were dismissive of anything short as they looked to be positive against the plethora of Rowledge spin bowling options. David Lloyd made the breakthrough when he dismissed Cookson, caught behind by captain Ben Wish. Despite looking decidedly scratchy against the Rowledge spinners Jack Robson made 38 before being dismissed by Lloyd. Morton looked superb and was chanceless – showing why he has made more than 9,000 Southern Premier League runs. He eventually fell to Ollie Baker, caught on the boundary having made 109, but that allowed the destructive Nathan Feltham to take centre stage. Rowledge did not help themselves by dropping Feltham early on, and they were left to rue this as the last two overs went for 30. The bowlers had worked hard to restrict Sarisbury's total, but the home side finished on 257 for five. Feltham finished on 54 off 38 deliveries, while Lloyd, Baker and Max Martin bowled well and Justin Felsch on debut bowled accurately for little reward.

In response a selection of Rowledge players got themselves in but were not able to capitalise on their starts, and it was left to Sarisbury slow bowlers Rob Franklin and Cookson to share six wickets between them. Had a Rowledge player gone on to take advantage of their start the outcome could have been different, but Martin, Zac Le Roux and Jake Wish all looked to have an element of form while they were at the wicket. When Baker went for 37 the innings never continued with any sort of momentum and 100 for two became 198 all out in the last over of the innings.

Rowledge will look to come back fighting when they host Hook & Newnham Basics at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.