Rowledge earned an important 170-run victory at New Milton in Division One of the Southern Premier Cricket League to pull further away from relegation trouble.
Rowledge went in search of a vital win in the New Forest against already-relegated New Milton and survived an early scare to come through in convincing manner and move up to the middle of the table.
New Milton opening bowlers George Watts and Ed Bartlett produced impressive spells to reduce the visitors to 14 for three and leave Rowledge in dire trouble. The impact of losing would have brought Rowledge back in the relegation frame – and nerves in the clubhouse were shredded.
However, Zac Le Roux and Ollie Baker steadied the ship and saw the openers off and gradually began to accelerate the run rate on a tricky, dry wicket. Le Roux looked back to his best with some well-timed shots around the ground.
Just when the visitors felt they were getting on top both fell to spinner Alfie Hussey and at 69 for five things did not look rosy for Rowledge.
Once again a rebuild was necessary and Olly Ryman and overseas player Connor Cook slowly take the game away from the New Forest side. With some big hitting and beautiful strokeplay – along with superb running between the wickets – the fielding side started to slump. A partnership of 125 took the game away from New Milton before Cook went for a sublime 78 and Ryman followed for 52.
Rowledge finished their allotted 50 overs on 227 for nine – a total which secured maximum batting points and the visitors believed was defendable on a very dry surface.
Opening bowler Bartlett took two late wickets to finish with impressive figures of four for 30 off ten overs.
The home side’s innings never really got going and the loss of early wickets reduced New Milton to 22 for three.
Rowledge’s opening bowling attack of Max Martin and Richard Forbes dominated the home batters.
Tight bowling and enthusiastic fielding controlled the whole innings and New Milton were unable to produce a partnership of any worthy note.
Rowledge’s spin attack of Martin, Baker and David Lloyd was perfect for the dry wicket and only Toby Edwards (22) got runs of any note.
Wickets were shared between all the bowlers, but Martin was the standout with figures of four for 23 as New Milton were bowled out for 57 in the 26th over.
Although the win took the visitors up to mid-table, Rowledge are not completely safe from relegation, such is the competitive nature of the Southern Premier League.
Rowledge play two of their rivals in the last two games of the season and need to pick up as many bonus points as possible to remain in the league.
Rowledge host Hook & Newnham Basics today (Saturday) before entertaining Ventnor on Saturday, September 2.