Alton win bragging rights against rivals Rowledge

Thursday 26th May 2022 12:36 pm
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Ryan Littlewood was Rowledge’s man of the match, sponsored by The Sandrock pub restaurant and takeaway

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Alton took the bragging rights as they beat local rivals Rowledge in Division 1 of the Southern Premier League – the first time the sides had locked horns in a competitive league game since 2005.

Despite winning the toss and electing to bat, Rowledge faced a tough early test against the new-ball pairing of Arul Appavoo and the impressive South African pace bowler Bash Walters.

Ricky Yates and Max Martin struggled to score with both falling to Appavoo (four for 31) .

Ash-Lee Harvey then edged behind off just his second ball, Mark Heffernan completing the catch behind the stumps and Appavoo had his third.

The visitors were rocking at 42 for three but things got worse for Rowledge as Gonella bowled the attacking Jake Wish for 22 and Appavoo got his fourth, bowling Ollie Ryman for one.

Ian Metcalfe and Ryan Littlewood set about repairing the damage as the pair added 30 for the sixth wicket, before another double blow for the visitors halted their recovery.

Metcalfe edged South to first slip where Myers took a sharp one-handed catch before Toby Salmon had Baker caught behind without scoring as Rowledge slipped further into trouble at 87 for seven.

Nevertheless, the application of Ryan Littlewood at least ensured Rowledge had a total to defend.

Usually an aggressive batter, he showed great maturity and courage to keep the scoreboard ticking through the middle overs, eventually falling for a well-made 46 to Walters.

David Lloyd helped him put on 50 runs for the eighth wicket before Walters returned to the attack and managed to remove Littlewood for a gritty 46 off 91 balls.

Skipper Ben Wish was then trapped in front and young Joseph Ryman (seven not out), making his first-team debut, batted bravely as he and Lloyd (19) added ten for the last wicket.

Gonella finished with two for 28 as Rowledge closed on 146 all out.

Alton were confident as they felt the total was well below par – and that proved to be the case.

Rowledge, short of seam options, opened up with spin from both ends.

Gonella and Harris were watchful but punished anything loose. Harris was the main aggressor, looking to take advantage of the early fielding restrictions. Once the pair adapted to the lack of pace on offer they began to increase the rate.

They looked comfortable, passing the 100 partnership landmark inside 20 overs.

Rowledge rang the bowling changes but were unable to stem the flow of runs.

The visitors did eventually make the breakthrough. Gonella drove Lloyd down the ground in the air and the bowler, attempting the catch, could only watch as the chance was spilled but the ball dropped on to the stumps, leaving the backing-up Harris out of his ground.

Harris’s fine innings of 83 came off just 74 balls and included 11 fours and two sixes.

Mark Heffernan then failed to pick up a full toss from Lloyd, finding Ollie Ryman at midwicket – and gave Lloyd his 400th Southern Premier League wicket, a fantastic effort from the Rowledge elder statesman.

Myers joined Gonella as Alton added the extra 11 runs required.

Gonella made an unbeaten 57 off 81 balls, which included five fours and a six, as the Brewers returned to winning ways, reaching their target in the 27th over and winning by eight wickets.

Alton will travel to the south coast on Saturday as they face a strong Portsmouth side, both teams with identical records after three games.

It was a tough afternoon for the young Rowledge side, but they will have learned a lot from the experience. They will look to bounce back immediately this weekend as they host Sarisbury Athletic.

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