ROPLEY and newly promoted Rowledge 2nd XI both recorded encouraging wins in Hampshire League County One.

Rowledge II beat a strong United Services side with just two balls to spare. Opener Mark Toogood, although not exactly too good for the Rowledge bowlers, nevertheless batted throughout the innings for an excellent 124 not out, seeing his side to a formidable 255-9.

It looked a daunting task for an inexperienced side, but Ollie Baker took up the challenge and played an innings that belied his 16 years. There was still a lot to do when captain Steve Martin joined him at 141-6, but the pair took Rowledge to within touching distance. With two runs needed off the last over, Tim Wheatley chipped the fourth ball over the bowler’s head to seal an exciting three-wicket win. But it was Baker’s assured 70 that gave Rowledge the edge.

Ropley, who narrowly missed promotion last year, enjoyed an early run feast at Vicarage Road, amassing 327-5 against Burridge II.

Australian overseas player Jack Ireland was quickly into his stride and missed a league hundred on debut by only 11 runs. Skipper Alex Stogdon then filled his boots, plundering an unbeaten 123 not out as Burridge wilted.

But the visitors started at an electric pace in reply, with Cho Choudery reaching his 50 in just the eighth over. Ireland got him for 56 and although opener Simon Bevis went on to make 83, the run-rate dropped and Burridge eventually limped to 220 all out.

Old Alresford won their opening game away to Whitchurch (County IV?North). Whitchurch reached 46 without loss before Mike Armitage (4-17) broke the stand and in 14 balls took four wickets without conceding a run. Later, Tim Nutman (4-20) clean-bowled four victims and the home side were all out for 133.

Old Alresford got the runs for the loss of four wickets, Josh Stanbrook-Tompkins leading them home with 38 not out.