ROWLEDGE put up a valiant fight on Saturday against Hampshire Academy in what was a fantastic advert for the return of recreational cricket.
It was an advert that saw youngsters shine on both teams, and it will be interesting to monitor their progress over the coming years.
Having won the toss, Rowledge chose to bat and immediately faced two high-class bowlers.
Ryan Stevenson, the 28-year-old contracted player, alongside the tall left-arm pace of Josh Croom made Rowledge work for every run.
Croom accounted for Yates Jnr, bowled.
Jonty Sebborn and Jake Wish came together, putting on 40 for the second wicket before a mix-up left Wish run out – a bitter shame as the pair were looking comfortable.
However, Sebborn carried on playing positively, looking to take the attack to the spinners where he could, and building a score.
Ollie Baker put on 47 for the third wicket, again looking good, before falling at slip to the spin of Prest.
As the opening bowlers returned, Rowledge struggled to kick on in the last ten overs.
Jonty Sebborn departed for 81, an innings comprising 11 fours and a six, his highest SPL score to date, and one that impressed the spectators.
David Lloyd came in to make an enterprising 31 off 36 balls at the end of the innings, but the last few overs were dominated by the returning Croom, who was tricky to get away.
The Rowledge innings ended on 172 for seven off their 40 overs.
In response, Tom Prest and Harry Broderick batted with intent. The Hampshire Academy pair were in rich vein of form coming into the fixture, and played shots all around the ground.
But it could have been so different for Broderick, who would have been lbw had Joe Randall not overstepped the line.
However the quick feet of Broderick, looking to hit down the ground, complemented by the back-foot play of Prest meant the Rowledge bowlers struggled to contain them.
That said, Rowledge carried on manfully and were rewarded when Ricky Yates dismissed Prest for 66 from 72 balls, thanks to a fine catch from Jonty Sebborn.
He was quickly followed to the pavilion by Broderick who was lured down the wicket by Baker, to be stumped by Ben Wish for 83 off 91 balls.
At 160 for two the game was all but up, but despite this Rowledge were keen to take further scalps.
Ollie Baker took two more wickets, bowling Wheeler and then having Metzger caught by Ben Wish behind the stumps.
A loss of six wickets, but Rowledge can hold their heads high against a talented Hampshire Academy side.
Ben Wish said: “It was a great experience for the lads to play against such opposition. Jonty’s innings was fantastic to see – he played with confidence and positivity and I am delighted for him. “
“It was a pleasure to watch the two Academy batsmen bat, but we haven’t disgraced ourselves, and it was great to hear such positive feedback from Hampshire about the club on and off the pitch.”
Rowledge next have a T20 game at home against Hartley Wintney (2.30pm).The bar will open for spectators.
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