YOUNG Hampshire star Asher Hart hit one best innings ever seen at London Road, by his skipper Matt Hooper as Andover beat visiting Liphook and Ripsley by 129 runs, writes MATT KNIGHT.

The opener hit a superb 161 from 148 balls which included 22 fours and two sixes to help the home side to winning total of 272 in a crucial Southern League Premier Division clash.

The losers of the contest knew they would be sucked into a relegation dogfight as the season approaches its final month.

However, it did not start well for the Nordlock sponsored Andover side as put into bat, Liphook all rounder, Suman Ganguly, uprooted debutant Bertie Preston's leg stump with the first ball of the game.

Andover then lost Andrew Duckworth and Glyn Treagus in quick succession and were reeling at 20-3 after the first seven overs.

Hart and Josh Ballentine-Dykes then mounted a counter attack. Hart in particular took the game to the Liphook bowlers and attempted to hit them off their line and length.

Hart reached his 50 off 20 overs with the score on 80, but soon lost Ballentine-Dykes who was bowled by a ball that kept slightly low on the dry Andover surface.

Hart was joined at the crease by last week's hero Charlie Ayres. The pair utilised their speed between wickets to take the game to Liphook.

They skilfully rotated the strike, putting the Liphook fielders under pressure on the dry London Road outfield.

Together the pair put on over 100 and put Andover into the driving seat.

Ayres was eventually dismissed for a well made 44 with the score on 195.

Skipper Matt Hooper joined Hart at the crease, determined to make use of the last 10 overs to take Andover to a winning score.

Hart soon reached his century with an almighty six that almost cleared the London Road Pavilion.

Ably assisted by Hooper, Hart continued the onslaught putting the Liphook attack to the sword and flogging them all around the London Road ground.

He lost Hooper for a useful 21, but was undeterred until was dismissed for 161 in the 49th over.

The Andover tail folded trying to hit some big shots and the town side were all out for a competitive 272.

Andover knew the Liphook side had some big hitting batsmen who they would need to remove early if they were to defend 272.

An inspired decision from Hooper saw him throw the ball to a fresh and firing Aidan Jansen who duly delivered.

Jansen took three early wickets including star man Ganguly, in a fiery spell of new ball bowling.

He bowled with probing accuracy, moving the new ball both ways to leave Liphook reeling at 42-4.

The other wicket being a superb run out from Ayres to remove Giles Cover with a throw from 30-yards out.

Andover were firmly in the driving seat. Liphook's middle order duly folded to 80-9 with Mike Adams and Ayres picking up three wickets a piece and leaving a victory a certainty.

Some late order hitting from Elliot (16) and Burton (20) took Liphook up to a more respectable score before Ayres bowled Elliot to complete a crucial win for Andover.

Skipper Hooper was very happy with the town side's effort and said: "Asher's knock was one of the finest ever witnessed at London Road.

"It was brilliantly paced innings that effortlessly combined skilful touches with ruthless hitting. I'm pleased that the boys backed up Asher's performance with a top class fielding performance."

Andover travel to bottom side Hartley Wintney and will hope to extend their recent good form.

Andover seconds also enjoyed a victory as Max Romer-Lee took 4-30 as Hursley Park were bowled out for 169.

Ali Hooper batting number eight top scored with 60 as Andover won by one wicket.