ROWLEDGE started the new Southern Premier League Division 1 2022 season with a resounding 59-run victory over nearby rivals Liphook.
Yet it all started off oh so poorly, as Joe Randall reduced Rowledge to none for two, seeing the back of Max Witney and Jake Wish.
This brought Ricky Yates and overseas player Ash-Lee Harvey to the crease. The pair were patient, waiting to pounce on any width.
In time, Yates’ innings started to flow with his trademark cover drives crashing to the boundary, and with Harvey mixing glorious drives with flicks off his legs, the pair grew in confidence.
They put on 124 until Yates hit a dreadful full toss straight to a fielder, departing for 58 which contained 11 boundaries.
Rowledge unfortunately lost momentum as David Lloyd and Ollie Baker quickly departed, and then Harvey departed trying to wrestle back the advantage, falling to the spin of Jamie Hall for 68.
At 156 for six, the Rowledge innings was in danger of falling away. But then Ollie Ryman and Ryan Littlewood joined each other, and their positivity shone through.
From shot selection through to running between the wickets, the pair very quickly put Liphook on the back foot.
Having negotiated the spin of Hall and Rob Nicklin, they then set about putting the seamers under pressure through some decisive drives.
They put on 70 for the seventh wicket until Littlewood fell for 25, but that only brought the Ryman brothers together – and Will, alongside Ollie, continued to push the Rowledge score on and the side finished on 259 for seven off their 50 overs.
Ollie Ryman finished unbeaten on 68 from 44 balls, hitting four boundaries and four sixes.
In response, Richard Forbes proved to be at his nagging best.
His immaculate line frustrated the Liphook top order, and he got due reward as his ten-over spell went for just 18 runs.
He was able to get the vital wickets of Ryan Covey, caught behind by Ben Wish, Nicklin, caught by Yates, and then Harry Munt plumb in front, leg before wicket.
At 59 for three Rowledge looked to apply the squeeze. Yates continued to build pressure, and when spin twins Lloyd and Baker bowled together, runs were hard to come by.
George Neave departed to Baker and Joe Randall to Lloyd – caught by Forbes and Littlewood respectively – to make it 88 for five and the run rate soon became impossible.
While runs were kept down, the Rowledge bowling attack were struggling to create any further inroads and it wasn’t until Liphook needed to press further to obtain batting points that wickets were back on the radar.
Hall and Richard Williams put on 82 for the sixth wicket, but the returning Lloyd managed to entice Hall down the track to have him stumped by Ben Wish.
And it was the same pair again, in similar fashion, who removed Sean Burton.
Harvey notched his first Rowledge scalp as Liphook managed to achieve their fourth batting point and finish on 200 for eight, with Williams finishing 72 not out.
While Rowledge will be disappointed not to have bowled Liphook out, they will be delighted to win their first league game of the season – even more so, given the fight they had to show at two different stages in their batting innings.
They will hope to take this winning mentality and positivity into this Saturday’s match when they host Basingstoke.
Rowledge 259-7 (O Ryman 68*, Harvey 68, Yates 58, Littlewood 25, W Ryman 16*, Hall 3-44, Randall 2-55, Nicklin 1-37, Burton 1-61).
Liphook 200-8 (Williams 72*, Hall 27, Nicklin 22, Forbes 3-18, Lloyd 3-44, Baker 1-28, Harvey 1-44).