Rowledge beat Sparsholt to seal mid-table finish
Rowledge finished the season with back-to-back wins, beating lowly Sparsholt to secure a mid-table finish.
As a season, it is one Rowledge can be proud of as they secured at least one victory over every side in the division, apart from Alton.
The fielding has remained outstanding and the bowling unit have stuck to their task manfully.
Ollie Baker finished with 24 wickets and was unlucky not to have taken more. The spinners produced, as Ash-Lee Harvey took 22, David Lloyd 19 and Max Martin nine, who impressed hugely in the last month of the season.
While the seam bowling cupboard is not so well stocked, Richard Forbes’ 14 wickets were important and was assisted by Will Ryman later in the season with 11 and Ricky Yates with ten.
The batting hasn’t always fired, but the 19-year-old Zac Le Roux has stepped up with 561 runs, and has become a popular individual in the side.
The engine room of 17-year-olds Ryan Littlewood and Olly Ryman batted with maturity and their positivity produced some memorable moments.
Littlewood’s 474 runs and Olly Ryman’s 448 should give them confidence for 2023.
Ricky Yates finished with 366 and there were also moments throughout the season from Jake Wish, Jonty Sebborn and Ollie Baker.
Wicketkeeper and captain Ben Wish finished the season with 28 scalps, and is immensely proud of the commitment and cricket played by his side.
“The youngest side in the division will look to go even better in 2023,” he said.
After losing the toss, the Rowledge bowlers got into their groove against Sparsholt on what was a poor surface, which took immediate spin.
Max Martin ripped through the defence of Will Berrill and then Josh May – with big spinning off breaks – sent Sparsholt into immediate trouble at 28 for two.
In partnership with Richard Forbes Sparsholt were given nothing, with Forbes’ first five overs going for just one run.
The Williams brothers looked to bring some energy to the proceedings, but they failed to make an innings of substance, as Ollie fell to a snorter of a delivery from Will Ryman to be caught behind by Ben Wish, and then brother Josh fell for 31 bowled by Olly Ryman.
The Ryman brothers bowled with control, and Will added to his wicket tally by clean bowling Sumner with an away swinger.
Forbes returned to get a deserved wicket, dismissing the experienced Jeremy Frith, and when Ollie Baker added to his season’s tally taking two scalps – massively supported by two outstanding catches by Ryan Littlewood and Martin – it was very much the matter of when, not if, Sparsholt would be bowled out.
The end was nigh, as Max Martin removed Calum Doran for 26 and then dismissed the last man lbw as Sparsholt folded for 144. Martin finished with four for 25.
Rowledge knew they would need to concentrate on a tricky surface, and were soon in trouble at 32 for three, with Ollie Williams trapping both Sebborn and Baker plumb in front, and then sending Ricky Yates back caught behind after a quick cameo for 22.
Zac Le Roux and Jake Wish were soon facing a testing spin examination but the pair remained positive, assisted by some sub-standard fielding.
Having put on 62, Le Roux fell to a Dan Sumner quicker delivery for 30 to give Sparsholt a sniff at 94 for four.
Wish had other ideas as he was joined at the crease by Ryan Littlewood to ease any Rowledge nerves. They put on 46 quickly, Wish reaching his 50 off 61 deliveries.
He would be yorked soon after, but that allowed Littlewood to put the accelerator on as he finished on 29 not out and send Rowledge to victory with 20 overs to spare.
Rowledge first XI awards – Batsman of the Year and Players’ Player, Zac Le Roux; Bowler of the Year, Ollie Baker; Captain’s Player of the Year, Ryan Littlewood.
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