New Milton v Andover.
Shorn of several experienced campaigners, a youthful Vision Express sponsored Andover came close to upsetting the odds against unbeaten table topping New Milton but unfortunately came away on the end of a narrow defeat.
Confronted with a bare and tired looking surface, visiting skipper Mike Adams called correctly and sought value in runs on the board, electing to bat first.
With the mercury soaring, openers Glyn Treagus and Dave Taylor looked to capitalise on a pitch that offered little pace or bounce.
Taylor in particular looked in fine fettle being trapped in front with the score a shade below 50. His dismissal, coupled with the introduction of wily spin and medium/slow paced bowling, bore immediate dividends for the home side, as New Milton stalwart Gargaro removed Treagus and Knight in quick succession to leave ACC teetering at 56-3.
Andover’s eventual total owed much to the cool head of overseas star Byron Haycock who confidently weathered a trial by spin, while expertly shepherding junior partners in Hadfield and Joe Foy on his way to a third unbeaten half century of the season.
A late flurry pushed Andover towards a total which at the halfway stage, looked competitive if a little below par at 167-7 off their 50 overs.
A clutch of early chances went begging and New Milton’s openers Park and House played intelligently to place their side in pole position at 90-0 at the quarterly drinks break.
The town side, with the introduction of spin fought their way back into the contest. Foy had Park and Lawes caught and a potential collapse loomed and as Adams removed the well-set Nick Park for 55 and the evergreen Treagus snared two himself, the match was firmly in the balance.
Alas, despite the loss of a further wicket, the tail denied a miraculous comeback.
The Seconds’ game with East Woodhay was abandoned after 19.2 overs of the second innings.
The Thirds lost at Holybourne by ten wickets and the Fourths lost a rain reduced overs match with Steep II.