ANDOVER started their Southern Premier League Division One campaign with a narrow loss away to title favourites Bournemouth.

Nordlock sponsored Andover made the lengthy trip in Bank Holiday traffic, but thankfully won the toss and skipper Matt Hooper had no hesitation in electing to bat first.

It soon became clear that the pitch had suffered from the heavy rainfall in previous weeks and it was going to be a war of attrition, which has not always been Andover’s forte in recent years.

New opening duo of Ali Hooper and Hampshire all-rounder Asher Hart fought hard in tricky conditions.

The burly Hooper muscled four boundaries in quick succession and took the visitors to 23 before Hart was caught driving on the up.

Will Arnold soon followed, clean bowled by the impressive Dan Conway.

Hooper was next to go, trapped lbw to the bowling of Dave Kidner, and Andover realised that anything over 120 was going to be a competitive score.

Glyn Treagus tried to rebuild but batting partners came and went in regular fashion.

The stylish former county man played a sensible, restrained innings, bringing up a much-deserved half century.

When he was stumped off the bowling of Hurley, Andover were on 111-7 with 10 overs still remaining.

However, a late order collapse meant the Town were bowled out for 118 with five overs unused.

The run chase started in a disastrous manner for Bournemouth as they failed to handle the pace and accuracy of Hart (3-19).

He ripped out the top three batsman without troubling the scorers too much and with Mike Adams toiling hard at the other end, the game had turned on its head.

Hart was replaced by Richard Taylor (2-22), making his return to the club after a stint in the wilderness, and the veteran seamer picked up two wickets early in his spell.

At 28-5, Bournemouth were deep in the mire and needed a rescue act.

Captain Chris Park and lower order batsman Jake Hurley provided just that in what proved to be a match-winning partnership. Park rotated the strike very well, giving Hurley the chance to free his arms whenever possible.

In fact, Hurley was the only batsman in the Bournemouth line-up to hit a boundary for the hosts. Hooper rotated his bowlers well looking for that all important breakthrough but despite the efforts of Luke Graham, Treagus, Adams, Taylor and Hart, the partnership stood firm.

The pair took the home side to level with Andover’s score when Matt Hooper pinned Park leg before but it was too little too late.

Bournemouth crossed the line, six wickets down, in the 44th over with Hurley unbeaten on 51.

Andover look to bounce back from this loss when they host last season’s league champions Calmore Sports at London Road.