ROPLEY dropped to sixth in the Hampshire League County One after a 71-run defeat to third-placed Portsmouth & Southsea.

Opening the attack with spinner Seb Newens (3-43) proved a good ploy as Portsmouth slipped to 37-2, but Steve Clements (60) shared strong partnerships with Tom Benfield (19) and Shaun Briggs (48).

Youngster Jimmy Hawkings (2-38) bowled a tidy spell, but excellent running between the wickets and fielding lapses saw the home side amass a formidable 265-8 in their 50 overs, with 100 runs coming from the last 15.

Ropley struggled to force the pace against wicket-to-wicket bowling. Opener Tom Wood batted watchfully for his 41 until being yorked by spinner Kieron Dunstan (4-41). whose excellent flight and line earned him three lbws.

Alex Spencer (24), Jack Ireland (22), Alex Stogdon (31) and Jack Oxenham (25) all tried to attack the bowling, but the task proved too much and Ropley were dismissed for 194 in the 45th over.