NORDLOCK sponsored Andover made the short journey south to take on Sparsholt in the Southern League Division One. The town side were unlucky to be edged out by a single wicket in what turned out to be a thrilling contest.

Skipper Matt Hooper elected to bat first on a placid looking pitch.

Openers Andrew Duckworth and Glyn Treagus started well and looked in little danger as they took the town side to comfortable 30 without loss from the first 10 overs. The classy Duckworth looked in particularly good form on his return to the side, stroking a series of boundaries straight. However the town side lost Treagus (5) and Duckworth (21) in quick succession leaving Hampshire star Lewis McManus (71) and Matt Knight to repair the damage.

The pair took the score to 70 before Knight chopped onto his stumps for a well made 20. Charlie Ayers took up the mantle and he ably supported McManus to take the score to 100 for 3 at the drinks break. Ayers (33) and McManus cleverly rotated the strike and punished the bad ball to take the town side to a strong position of 160 for 3 from 40 overs.

However Andover failed to kick on and capitalise. McManus and Ayers were dismissed within the same over and this started a procession of Andover batsmen.

Only Babu Veettil (23) provided any contribution as the town side collapsed to a seemingly under par 210 all out.

Andover needed early inroads and new ball pairing Mike Adams and Babu Veettil duly delivered.

Adams trapped key man Frith without scoring, while Veettil picked up the other opener Haworth (17) and Vokes (19) giving all the momentum to Andover. Perrin and Banks then led a mini Sparsholt recovery before an Aidan Jansen double strike to remove Perrin and then incoming batsmen Taylor. This left Sparsholt reeling at 70-5 at drinks.

However, Andover took their foot off the gas allowing Banks (50) to bring Sparsholt back into the game. He and O'Brien put on a 90 run partnership to wrestle the game back towards Sparsholt . Charlie Ayers brought Andover back into contention by having Banks caught behind by McManus. A frantic period then followed where Sparsholt lost 3 quick wickets to the miserly bowling of Adams leaving Sparsholt 170 for 9. Last man Weir joined O'brien and the pair turned out to be unlikely heroes. Andover tried everything to remove the Sparsholt final pair, but they ground out a 40 run partnership to complete a Sparsholt win.

A disappointing loss for Andover and they will attempt to get back to winning ways as they travel to Ot's and Romsey on Saturday.