SOUTH Wilts’ batsmen are in good nick and go into Saturday’s opening ECB Southern Premier Division defence against St Cross Symondians at Bemerton (12.30pm) full of confidence after rattling up 300-plus scores in their last two matches.

They hit the St Cross attack for 319-5 a fortnight ago and last weekend went one run better, scoring 320-6 against the Hampshire Academy, whom they beat by 88 runs.

South Wilts have won all three of their warm-up games and beat a Hampshire Pathways side in a 100-ball thriller on the Ageas Bowl Nursery Ground.

Skipper Ben Draper has been in particularly good form, with 214 runs in four knocks, chalking up three fifty-plus scores in the process.

But it was domiciled Western Australian Peter Rowe (pictured) who stole the show against the Academy, scoring a superb 118.

South Wilts were subdued initially, early movement off the Wilton Road surface favouring the young Hampshire bowlers and accounting for left-hander Jack Stearman (10).

Fellow opener Tom Morton (34) had to work for his runs, but his half-century stand with Rowe – which ended when Hambledon teen Oli Cordery trapped the former South Wilts captain leg before - gradually established authority for the Premier League champions.

Rowe’s knock was particularly eye catching – the former Melville First Grade batsman from the WACA Pennant competition in Perth hitting two maximums and 12 fours in an elegant 118.

He added 153 with Draper (79) before James Hayward (28) steered the final score to 320-6, Rowledge teenager Ethan Martin taking 3-77.

With Matt Burton, Josh Croom and Ben Huntley all absent, South Wilts opted to bowl two-thirds of their overs with spin.

New ball in hand, off-spinner Jack Mynott (2-26) got an early breakthrough, but it was some while before Canford’s Kit Blomfield broke a flourishing partnership between Jude Wright and Dom Kelly (36).

Alton all-rounder Wright (65) enjoyed another fruitful stand with Joe Eckland (37) before young William Langdown (3-66) created inroads, the Academy falling away from a prosperous 143-2.

Dubs Wood (25), son of IPL power-hitter coach Julian Wood, fell to the left-arm guile of Stearman, who finished with 2-11 as the Academy finished 232 all out.