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Big win on last day ensures Andover's survival
6:20pm Monday 2nd September 2013 in Cricket
Andover pulled off cricket’s version of the Great Escape when they thrashed Hook & Newnham Basics by 132 runs to secure Southern Electric Premier League, Division 1 safety – by an eventual eight-point margin over relegated Rowledge.
The victory over Hook was the Lions’ third win in their last four matches – their solitary August defeat coming when Hartley Wintney hit a six off the last ball of the match to beat them – a remarkable turnaround in fortunes, writes Mike Vimpany.
When Rowledge whipped them by 169 runs in late July, Andover appeared doomed.
But wins over Hambledon, newly acclaimed champions Burridge and now Hook & Newnham Basics made them safe.
Andover have struggled with the bat all season long, but Tim Lewis (94) and New Zealander Greg Dawson (92) came to the party with a double-century partnership, which set up the critical Hook win.
They breached the boundary rope on 26 occasions during their 203-run opening stand.
Andover went on to post 284-7 (Robbie Hadfield 23) and then restrict Hook to 152-9 (Ben Thane 43) to win by 132 runs.
The win, which coincided with skipper Jonty Hadfield’s last game in Andover’s colours, put Rowledge down, alongside Hartley Wintney.
A relieved and elated retiring skipper Hadfield said: “Everything we have aimed for in season came off at last. “Our batting stood up in the last few games and that laid the platform for us to create some pressure and win the games. “If it wasn't for my ‘length ball’ disappearing for a straight six at Hartley Wintney the previous week, we could have ended up mid table. “Beating Hook was a great end to a difficult year with injuries and unavailabilities. “A pretty good way for me to bow out at Andover.” But there was no escape for Andover II, who suffered a second consecutive relegation.
The margin of demotion could hardly have been finer – 0.28 points keeping Cadnam ahead of them in the four-down County Division 2.
Andover lost their final match by 29 runs at Mudeford, making 205 (Max Souter 50) in reply to their hosts 234-7.
They will play in County 3 North in 2014 alongside Amport and Whitchurch.