ANDOVER beat OTs and Romsey in the Southern League Division One at a hot London Road ground to push themselves further away from the relegation zone.

Despite heavy overnight rain the ground looked in perfect condition. Andover were without opening batsman Ali Hooper and opening bowler Babu Veettil due to injury whilst Lewis McManus was on T20 duty for Hampshire.

Nordlock sponsored Andover gave a second league start to Morgan Vanandel and Brandon Smith came in for a long awaited league debut.

Andover skipper Matt Hooper won the toss and elected to bat first.

Andover openers, Andrew Duckworth and Glyn Treagus, started cautiously with Romsey taking the unusual step to open with a spinner.

Andover took few risks and accumulated runs where possible.

Unfortunately, Duckworth was first to perish trying to force the score along when Andover were on 29.

The experienced Treagus was joined by Alex Ayers.

Ayers was fresh from playing for Hampshire second XI in the week after a string of brilliant performances for Andover saw him rewarded with a call up to the County reserve side.

This pair put on 62 for the next wicket and a big score looked on the cards.

Ayers was next to fall for a well-crafted 35 when going for another big shot.

Matt Knight came and went without adding to his season tally and Andover’s big total was in the balance.

Treagus was continuing to add to his personal score and he proved perfect foil for the big hitting Nathan Birks.

Birks hit two big sixes and increased the run for the town club just when it was needed. Birks was caught looking for another boundary when he was just getting going.

Captain Hooper joined Treagus and the pair played well, looked for singles and finding the boundary every now and then.

Hooper went caught on the boundary with Andover on 184 with five overs to go. Treagus was seventh to fall for a brilliant 81 in which he underpinned the Andover innings.

Debutant Smith, Richard Taylor and Mike Adams all fell looking to hit late runs.

It was left to last pair Aidan Jansen and Vanandel to complete the innings, with Andover ending on a 212-9 from their 50 overs.

Andover knew that early wickets would see this become a very competitive score. Andover started well and Romsey were immediately put under pressure.

After a couple of early boundaries, opening bowler, Adams took the first wicket with the score on 8.

Adams quickly had a second with the score on 18 when Wathen was adjudged leg before.

The opening bowlers were replaced by the evergreen Taylor and young star Vanandel.

Taylor quickly settled into his unerring rhythm and picked up Romsey’s third wicket.

Vanandel, not to be left out, then picked up the next wicket clean blowing Mitchell-Lee.

At this point Romsey still had opening batsman Newman who was looking to play the anchor role like Treagus had earlier.

Unfortunately for Romsey, the introduction of spin saw the end of Newman with him falling to Hooper.

Fellow spinner Treagus quickly joined in and immediately claimed George and Allen. Romsey were now 102-7 and well behind the rate required to win the match.

Hooper and Treagus finished their spells and were replaced by openers Adams and Jansen in the search of the final few wickets.

Romsey captain, King, played some big shots and took Romsey up to 140 before he was expertly caught by Vanandel.

King skied the ball high into the air and Vanandel made a difficult catch look very easy on the boundary.

That gave Jansen his first wicket, a run out followed and Andover were looking to bowl out Romsey. Romsey’s last pair stood firm and ended on 163-9 from their allotted overs.

This gave Andover a comprehensive victory and pushed the town side further away from the relegation zone.

Andover will look to take an even bigger step this Saturday with a trip to second bottom Calmore Sports.