Andover v Hook & Newnham Basics.
Andover avoided relegation despite losing a low scoring game at home to Hook.
Before the game, they knew they needed to gain at least eight points to guarantee survival in the Southern Premier League Division 1, based on the assumption that second from bottom Fawley would win against bottom side Hursley. However, a woeful batting performance from the town side meant no bonus batting points were achieved and very little chance of winning but it was all irrelevant because Hursley put Fawley to the sword, winning by 50 runs and ensuring both sides were relegated.
After losing the crucial toss and being inserted, the Andover innings started in disastrous fashion losing their whole top order in the space of ten overs and facing humiliation at 50-8 with Hook seamer Shane Brewer notching career best figures of 7-17 off his ten overs and ripping the heart out of the Andover innings. A late rebuild ensued with skipper Mike Adams and the unconventional Danny Foy refusing to give up. The pair added 70 runs which made the final total of 121 all out slightly more respectable.
With a bit of juice in the pitch, Hook knew this would not be a straightforward run chase against a powerful Andover bowling line up. Dave Taylor was once again a handful, consistently beating the outside edge and he removed Hobday and Buckingham in his ten over spell. The introduction of in-form Luke Graham saw him remove dangerman Ben Thane thanks to a sharp stumping by Robbie Hadfield and the seamer has propelled himself to the top of the Vision express sponsored Andover bowling charts in recent weeks taking 17 wickets this season. A mini wobble from the Hook middle order came as a flurry of wickets fell, two to Mike Adams and one more for Graham but the tail held their nerve and guided the visitors over the line with four wickets in hand.
A disappointing end to an inconsistent season for Andover but with the good news that they have avoided the drop brightening the day. There has been some fantastic team and individual performances throughout the season but the lack of consistency was the key.
The club say goodbye to their South African import Byron Haycock who has enjoyed much success on the pitch this season and been an invaluable asset as a coach. The talented batsman has topped the averages with just shy of 500 league runs, playing some valuable knocks throughout the year and the club wish him every success in the future.
South Wilts III v Andover II.
Andover II won the County Division 3 North title this week in emphatic style beating rivals South Wilts III by eight wickets.
They knew going into the match that only a win would secure the title and promotion rewarding the effort that had been put in all season and winning a crucial toss skipper Martin Roberts had no hesitation in fielding first. The new ball combination of Aiden Jansen (2-9) and Phil Greening (1-37) again proved too tough for the opposition and although the pair only picked up the one wicket in the opening spell the excellent control backed up by some superb fieldingmeant South Wilts crawled to 29-1 from the opening 15 overs.
Dan Turner and Phil Knight kept South Wilts under pressure picking up two quick wickets just before drinks, however Andover then struggled to remove the experienced Burton and Kidd. Eventually pressure told and Kidd was well caught by Purchase before former Andover player Jody Everett hit a quick 19 but soon found himself expertly run out by Roberts with a direct hit. The tail was not allowed to wag as Dave Webb (3-34) ran through them with ease. South Wilts were bowled out for 161 meaning a target of 162 was all Andover needed to secure the league.
Harri Williams and Purchase started brightly hitting a flurry of boundaries before Purchase (16) and then Williams (19) were both caught. Shaun Attwood (68 no) and skipper Roberts (43no) batted with resilience and patience as scoring opportunities were limited against the new ball. As the pair settled they rotated the strike well and started to find the boundary with increasing ease. South Wilts brought back the openers but to no avail as Attwood and Roberts were set on being at the crease at the end. The pair put on an unbroken partnership of 114 winning the game in the 35th over starting the celebrations on the boundary.
Andover won the league by nine points over second placed Peterfield, playing hard aggressive cricket and reaped the rewards. They will now look to continue their progression next season in County 2.