A spate of victories, coinciding with some unexpected slips ups by Purbrook and Portsmouth & Southsea, has left them fourth and only 12 points adrift of a potential promotion place.
Three games are left and Ropley, with South African import Tim Niemand ablaze with runs, might just burgle their way in.
On the face of it, Ropley have a less demanding August than their two PO-postcode rivals.
Alton II: Portsmouth & Southsea (h), Fareham & Crofton (a), Ellingham (h).
Purbrook: Shrewton (a), Burridge II (h), Hook & Newnham Basics II (h).
P & S: Alton (a), St Cross Symondians (h), New Milton II (a).
Ropley: Sarisbury Athletic (h), OTs & Romsey (a), Andover II (h).
Niemand notched his second consecutive century and a third of the season, hitting an unbeaten 108 as Ropley surprised promotion favourites Purbrook with a six-wicket win.
They chased down the visitors’ 216-9 (Martin Lee 51) to leave Purbrook just above P & S in the log.
The result not only boosted Ropley’s growing prospects of Premier League cricket next summer – but established still unbeaten Alton II as nailed on championship favourites.
The Brewers’ 11th straight win – they beat New Milton (182) by five wickets – gave them a 33-point lead at the top going into today’s visit to Ventnor II.
The Benfield brothers, Matt (78) and Tom (45) were to the fore as rivals Portsmouth & Southsea comfortably accounted for Andover II, marooning the Lions in the drop zone.
Any faint hopes Hook & Newnham Basics II had of a top two place effectively ended when Bishops Waltham gained a much needed 27-run win over them.
Teenage due Harry Warner (98) and Rhodes Franklin (67) top scored in Hook’s 247-9 – but by then Andy Wymbs (75) and Henry McGhee (66) had already steered Waltham to 275-6.
It was Bishops Waltham’s first win in six and lifted them out of the immediate danger zone.
There’s a furious scrap going on beneath them, with seven clubs beneath the safety line.
Although they won for the first time in ten outings, beating Ventnor by 99 runs, Totton & Eling II are virtually doomed.
And Ellingham, still haunted by last month’s 7 all out debacle at United Services, are dropping like a stone.
They lost by 52 runs to visiting Sarisbury Athletic II, for whom Colin Day potted a 147 maximum.
The survival prospects of both Sarisbury and neighbours Burridge have improved in recent weeks.
The experienced Suji Wickramsinghe hit a match winning 132 as Burridge racked up a massive 339-8 to beat St Cross Symondians III (241) by 98 runs,
Fareham & Crofton have a fair sprinkling of Portsmouth football supporters in their ranks, so imagine their mood when ex-Saints star Jason Dodd pitched up and cracked 80 against them as OTs & Romsey piled up 265-9.
Fareham’s response didn’t get into top gear until the final ten overs when Angus Southon (55) and Luke Cornish came within eight runs of scoring the 100 they needed.