ANDOVER fell to a disappointing 51-run loss away to Portsmouth in the Southern League Division One, despite a fine debut performance from young wicketkeeper/batsman Alex Ayers.

The visitors were put into the field by the hosts who lost early wickets at regular intervals through opening spells from Mike Adams (2-63) and standout bowler Babu Veetil (3-37).

At 50-5 after 15 overs, Andover were well on top in what seemed to be a decent batting pitch.

However sustained pressure from the Town’s bowling attack was met with a blistering 100 from Australian Fraser Hay who single-handedly swung the game in the hosts’ favour.

The talented all-rounder blazed five sixes and 16 fours in his big century, making the bowlers pay for any loose deliveries.

Andover captain Matt Hooper (3-51) finally dismissed Hay who was well caught by Charlie Ayers out in the deep for 135 at the back end of the innings.

As the final few wickets fell in quick succession, with Charlie Ayers picking two wickets, Portsmouth were bowled out for 248.

In reply, Ali Hooper fell inside the first over to Hay and Lewis McManus soon followed him.

This brought Alex Ayers to the crease who batted magnificently, anchoring the innings as regular wickets fell around him after a strong third wicket partnership with Matt Knight (37).

From a promising position at 100-2, Andover fell to 150-5 with duo, Andrew Marsden (3-20) and Dan Wallis (4-18 from 4.4 overs), ripping through Andover’s dangerous middle order.

When Ayers fell for 78 just before the 40th over, the hosts had the finishing line in sight and carried out a comfortable victory cleaning up Andover’s tail to claim a 50-run win.

In what was a disappointing day for Town, they must take confidence from Alex Ayers’ impressive debut with the bat and taking five victims behind the stumps.

The result moved Portsmouth into second spot in the Division One table behind leaders Hook and Newnham Basics, while Andover are in third spot with only one promotion place up for grabs.

This Saturday, Andover play host to Sarisbury, who are sixth in the table at London Road.