ANDOVER ended Southern League Division One leaders Hook and Newnham Basics perfect start with a crushing 93-run victory at London Road, writes ALI HOPPER.

Hook made the short trip down the M3 with their tails up after six resounding back-to-back victories and fancied their chances against an inconsistent home side who had lost their last three on the spin.

Andover skipper Matt Hooper won the toss and had no hesitation in electing to bat on the first warm and dry day in weeks. The London Road track was back to its best thanks to some hard graft from Mike Adams and his ground staff.

The Nord-lock sponsored side's openers Ali Hooper and Glyn Treagus started in positive fashion with a flurry of boundaries before Treagus was trapped leg before by Shane Brewer.

This made way for Hampshire star Lewis McManus to once again demonstrate his pedigree as he caressed three of his first four deliveries to the ropes.

Hooper and McManus raced to 72 off just 14 overs when Hooper (23) was caught off a leading edge.

Hook opener Martyn James was the pick of the visiting bowlers, snaring the scalps of both Hooper and McManus, and finishing with excellent figures of 2-31 off his 10 overs.

James removed McManus with a well taken return catch for a glorious 49, and spinners Anik Divecha and Rhodes Franklin then picked off Matt Knight (15) and Nathan Birks (11) to leave Andover hanging in the balance at 120-5 after 30 overs.

At this stage, the game could have slipped away from the town side but resolute batting from in-form Charlie Ayers and Matt Hooper, led the charge.

The pair added 53 runs before Ayers (45) edged behind off left-arm seamer Liam Shore, falling just five runs short of a well-deserved half century.

The impetus continued with Mike Adams playing a great supporting role to Hooper who passed his half-century in style.

The diminutive captain has been threatening to notch a fifty for some time and with a number of sweeps, cuts and pulls, he got there as he guided his side towards a healthy total.

A late flurry by the Andover tail including an unbeaten 15 from Babu Veetill saw the side post a competitive 252-9 off their 50 overs.

The Hook run chase started in a slow and steady fashion, with Harry Robson and Daniel Moore struggling to get the tight line and length of Andover opening bowlers Babu Veetill and Aidan Jansen away.

Veetill struck first blood, finding the edge of Moore’s (12) bat through to Matt Knight behind the stumps.

Hooper rotated his bowlers around but as the score moved onto 80-1, Andover needed another breakthrough.

The dangerous number three, Kieran Thomson, looked threatening as he moved fairly quickly to 36, before giving Knight his second victim of the game, off the bowling of Mike Adams.

Wickets then fell with regularity as the Andover bowlers gave nothing away.

Spin trio of Matt Hooper, Charlie Ayers and Glyn Treagus did the bulk of the damage as Andover closed down the Hook run-chase in clinical fashion.

Off spinner Hooper picked up the crucial wicket of in-form Matt Buckingham, followed by his brother Josh and opening batsman Robson thanks to leg spinner Charlie Ayers, and the game was slipping away from the table toppers.

In amongst the spin, ever-green seamer Richard Taylor bowled a miserly spell of 2-14 off his six overs.

Ayers returned to pick up two more wickets and then Treagus wrapped up proceedings, bowling Shane Brewer and leaving Hook 93 runs short with 11 overs remaining.

Andover now embark on two back-to-back long away trips, starting with Rowledge this Saturday, followed by Ventnor on the Isle of Wight.