Hot-shot Rowe banging in the goals

JAMES Rowe has been a scoring sensation since joining Ridgeons League Leiston, converting 20 goals in his first 12 games with the Premier Division club.

Elvin King

JAMES Rowe has been a scoring sensation since joining Ridgeons League Leiston, converting 20 goals in his first 12 games with the Premier Division club.

And the 25-year-old, who ended a rather acrimonious time with his previous club AFC Sudbury when he joined Carl Chenery's side, insists Leiston can still catch runaway leaders Lowestoft Town to win the championship.

Rowe was suspended for Wednesday's 3-2 victory at Histon Reserves, but he will be back for the home game against highly-placed Dereham Town tomorrow - along with fellow striker Lee McGlone, who has been injured.

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In his last three Leiston games, Rowe has scored 10 times as his team hit top form with a 5-0 win over Felixstowe and Walton United and 5-1 successes against Mildenhall and Tiptree.

“If we win our four games in hand over Lowestoft, we would move to within four points of them,” said Rowe, whose father Colwyn is in charge of football for under-23's at top Egyptian club Al-Alhy.

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“Lowestoft have the FA Vase semi-finals to think about and also some hard league games to play.

“I definitely think we can make up the ground and, from my point of view, it is great to be back playing with a smile on my face.

“We have a tough game tomorrow but we will be up for the challenge and I have already built up a successful relationship with my team- mates.”

A PE teacher at Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, Rowe plans to take his UEFA B coaching badge this summer, and he says that he will review his playing future at the end of the season.

“My contract with Leiston is to the summer of 2010 but there are clauses,” added Rowe. “I will review the situation and much could depend on what league Leiston are in, having applied to go up to step four football.

“It is strange being back in the Ridgeons League, but it is going very well and we have plenty to play for with a League Cup final against Stanway at Diss on May 4.”

A contemporary of Rowe's - Cody McDonald - scored for Norwich City in their win over Cardiff City at Carrow Road on Tuesday, having been plucked from non-league football at Dartford and having previously played for Witham and Maldon.

Does Rowe, arguably the best non-league striker in the area, feel he still has a chance to make the grade?

“Cody is 22 and younger than me,” said Rowe. “I think my chance has gone. But there is still plenty for me to play for.”

While third-placed Leiston face a difficult test against Dereham, Lowestoft are expected to win their home tussle with bottom-placed Haverhill Rovers. Needham Market will be looking to put the memories of their agonising FA Vase quarter-final penalties defeat behind them when they visit Kirkley, while Woodbridge Town - buoyed by news that no team is likely to be relegated - should have good support for their match against Wroxham at Notcutt's Park.

In the First Division, promotion beckons for consistent Hadleigh United but they will not have things all their own way at Mel Aldis' Debenham Leisure Centre.

Improving Stowmarket Town deserve good support also - for their encounter with Thetford at Greens Meadow.

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