Rowledge slipped to a close two-wicket defeat at home to Basingstoke & North Hants in Division One of the Southern Premier Cricket League.

Rowledge welcomed the league leaders to the Recreation Ground for what turned out to be a close encounter – with the visitors getting home after a scare in the 45th over.

The visitors put the hosts in to bat after winning the toss.

After losing the early wicket of Jontie Sebborn, Rowledge steadily built their innings around opener Max Martin – who once again produced an effective innings.

All the Rowledge middle-order batters got starts but were unable to go on and get big scores, and none could dominate the excellent Basingstoke bowling attack.

The visiting spinners strangled the home side’s run rate – which led to the incoming new batters being under pressure to increase the scoring rate and getting themselves out.

Only Martin (54) achieved a score of note and the Rowledge innings fizzled out to a below-par 149 all out on a wicket which had plenty of pace and bounce in it and held no terrors for the batters.

The home side were determined to put Basingstoke under pressure, and two early wickets left the visitors on 15 for two as doubts set in for the league leaders.

Rowledge’s fielding went up a notch with run-saving dives and superb catching – which was further demonstrated by a magnificent run out of the dangerous Coombes by Olly Ryman from cover-point.

At 79 for five the target of 150 seemed a long way off, but Basingstoke skipper Joe Oates played a commanding innings just when his side needed it – and along with Neil Shayler slowly brought the target closer.

The spin duo of Dave Lloyd and Ollie Baker bowled brilliantly and kept the batters under tight control, but the batting pair gradually turned the game in the visitors’ favour.

However, there was another twist when Oates (36) was out skying a catch off Lloyd and then Baker bowled Donaldson for a duck. With the visitors on 127 for seven the game was on a knife-edge.

Shayler continued to slowly go about reaching the target but was caught and bowled by overseas player Connor Cook with the visitors still seven runs short of the victory.

Nerves could be felt in the pavilion, but a snick through the slips for four and a hit over mid-wicket for another four saw Basingstoke home to the cheers of the visitors.

This was another excellent game at the Recreation Ground – and the young Rowledge team had produced a bowling and fielding performance they could be proud of.