NORDLOCK-sponsored Andover CC firsts defeated Calmore Sports in a thrilling encounter at London Road, mainly thanks to a wonderful all-round performance from skipper Matt Hooper.

Asked to bowl first, the town side struck early with Mike Adams picking up opposing skipper Mark Lavelle thanks to a low catch from skipper Hooper.

After that early loss, Calmore settled into their innings and on a flat batting track looked to punish any bad balls from Andover’s seamers.

Calmore batsmen  Ben Johns (30) and Jake Easton (51) put on a 90-run partnership to leave Calmore seemingly well set for a large total at 100 for 1 off 25 overs.

However, spinners Charlie Ayers and Matt Hooper struck a quick double salvo to remove the dangerous Johns and Easton, both pouched by the safe hands of Ali Hooper.

Calmore’s innings never regained its momentum.

Wickets tumbled at a regular rate, including a hat trick for Babu Veettil, leaving Calmore to limp to 186 all out off their 50 overs.

Andover’s reply got off to the worse possible start as openers Ali Hooper (5) and Taylor (8) fell early to some tight Calmore bowling.

The town side were unable to string together any meaningful partnerships as Matt Knight (22), Charlie Ayers (16) and Nathan Birks (16) all fell to the spin of Calmore captain Mark Lavelle. 

The Andover innings was faltering at 82 for 6 when Veettil strode out to meet Matt Hooper in the middle.

The pair started to repair the damage, rotating the strike and punishing any bad balls from the Calmore bowlers.

Optimism was growing amongst the Andover ranks, but they suffered a setback when Veettil (14) was caught at long on with the score on 111.  

Mike Adams joined Hooper at the crease and they inched the town side closer towards the target. The pair ran hard between the wickets and unfurled some glorious shots to punish some loose Calmore bowling.

Calmore threw everything at Hooper (49*) and Adams (21*) but the pair completed a 76-run partnership to take the town side to their third win of the season.

Andover sit second in the table and will look to capture top spot in the table when they travel to Portsmouth next week.