Tough times at Rowner as club battles drop

Rowner are looking to avoid a second relegation in three years, with experienced bowler Andy Lilley, far right, central to their survival hopes   Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Rowner are looking to avoid a second relegation in three years, with experienced bowler Andy Lilley, far right, central to their survival hopes Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Kyle Abbott played a strong innings alongside George Bailey. Picture: Neil Marshall

Bailey leads Hampshire fightback

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These are tough times at Rowner as they look to avoid a second Hampshire League relegation in three years.

The Rowner Green-based club will be looking for their first Hampshire League division three south win of the season when Calmore Sports II visit them tomorrow.

A win would end a run of 10 successive defeats and could help lift them off the bottom of the table.

With time running out, the home side are desperate to achieve a win to give their survival chances a shot in the arm.

Club secretary Cris Kemp admits life is not easy at the moment but believes they can see light at the end of the tunnel.

‘We are having to work hard to keep our head above water,’ said Kemp.

‘But our second team have picked up to win their last four games which has given us a big fillip.

‘We are also hoping our senior side can pick up in a similar fashion.

‘Over the last two and a half years we have lost a lot of players and that has made life very difficult.

‘There are a number of youngsters coming through but they take time to develop.

‘At the moment we are having to rely on a few of the old stalwarts to get us through.’

Rob Bowman and Andy Lilley are two experienced players who are showing they won’t let Rowner go down without a fight.

Bowman has notched four half-centuries already and Lilley is the leading wicket-taker.

‘They are the cornerstone of our team and great club men,’ said Kemp.

‘Rob’s father and brother played for the club so his is a real family affair.

‘Andy is 47 years old but is still one of the best at this level.

‘He has to bowl his 10 overs straight off, though, otherwise he stiffens up.

‘We have been competitive in most of our games this season and have only been slaughtered a couple of times.

‘That extra bit of quality needed on those occasions has been missing.

‘When you are at the bottom, though, you tend to find things go against you.’

Despite the situation Rowner are in, Kemp still thinks they have a chance of pulling off a great escape.

He insists that it will all depend on whether they can field a consistent 11 in the final six weeks.

It also will rely on some more players finding their form and hitting their straps during the campaign’s finale.

‘We have some cracking cricketers coming through and if they can perform I can see us finding a way out of trouble,’ said Kemp.

‘It will be fantastic if we do but realistically we are going through a transitional stage.’

Rowner: Rob Bowman, Andy Lilley, Dave Naylor, Matt McKeever, Jim Bishop, Dan Winzar, Matt Darby, Luke Watson, Mike Smart, Matt Stancliffe, Lewis Haines, Cris Kemp, Rhys Griffiths

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