AFTER two rather nervy victories, Hampshire League County One leaders Ropley managed to find some better form and were convincing winners against Hook & Newnham Basics II.
Harry Warner (36) and Joe Alnutt (31) gave Hook a flying start with 60 off the first 10 overs.
First-change Jack Oxenham (2-36) made the breakthrough, bowling Alnutt with an unplayable delivery. Liam Doran (22) hit the ball cleanly, though, and Hook looked comfortable at 114-2.
Warner then edged Jack Ireland to the bucket hands of Robert Smith at slip and Matt Steers, joining the attack in the 28th over, sparked a spectacular collapse. Steers took 5-20 and with a direct hit by skipper Alexander Stogdon and an lbw for Seb Newens, Hook tumbled to 154 all out. Seven wickets had fallen for 32 runs.
Smith and Tom Wood were soon into their stride for Ropley, running well between the wickets and playing handsome strokes through the covers.
In the 22nd over, Smith was caught for 44 off a rank long-hop. Ireland hit a brisk 17 and, after a bit of a wobble, Wood and Stogdon (12 not out) took 24 runs off four overs to see Ropley home by seven wickets in the 37th over. Wood made a masterful 67 not out.