ANDOVER came away with a hard fought victory at fourth placed Sarisbury Athletic thanks to a superb all round performance from Charlie Ayers.

The victory on a windy Saturday in the Southern Premier Cricket League saw Andover leapfrog Sarisbury in the table.

Andover sponsored by Nordlock welcomed back Will Carr after injury and Lewis McManus in between T20 Blast matches for Hampshire for this game.

Andover captain, Matt Hooper, won the toss and elected to field first with a pitch that had been under cover all night. With strong winds and rain around in the week Andover were looking to take advantage of any unevenness in the pitch.

Andover opening bowlers, Aidan Jansen and Mike Adams, started well ensuring the Sarisbury batsman were put under immediate pressure.

With strong wind the bowlers maintained their rhythm well but neither managed a breakthrough. That was until Daniel Clouting called his opening batting partner, Jack Lovett, through for a regulation single.

The batsman had not factored in an exceptional piece of fielding by Ayers who threw down then stumps at the non-strikers end leaving Clouting well short of his ground.

This individual piece of brilliance got the breakthrough Andover required.

Young star Morgan Vanandel replaced Jansen and bowled with good pace and accuracy. He then got the dangerous Nightingale who was well caught by McManus at cover.

Ayers’ leg spin was employed into the wind and he too was bowling well. Ayers was the next man to claim a wicket with Sarisbury skipper Josh Hill caught by Jansen in the covers.

Sarisbury were 71-3 but opener Lovett was holding firm. Unfortunately for Sarisbury wickets were falling at the other end and Ayers grabbed another wicket with Matt Journeaux being trapped leg before.

Vanandel was replaced with spinner Glyn Treagus and he immediately bowled Sampson for a duck.

Treagus then got the danger man Lovett who was well caught by Hampshire second XI player Alex Ayers behind the stumps and Sarisbury really were in trouble at 98-6.

Ayers finished his spell and he was replaced by skipper Hooper.

Hooper was right on the money from ball one and got Bond out with his very first ball. In his next over Hooper trapped Wright in front of the stumps not playing a shot and Sarisbury were 100-8.

Treagus and Hooper could smell blood but some counter attacking batting by Haynes took Sarisbury past the first batting point on 125.

Sarisbury were starting to rebuild but Haynes was then expertly run out by Vanandel. Having fumbled the ball originally Vanandel quickly regained his composure and threw into Alex Ayers and Haynes was well short of his ground. Jewell was the final wicket to fall to Hooper, caught by Nathan Birks, and Sarisbury were bowled out for 134 from 41 overs.

Whilst the pitch was holding no demons, it was difficult to score on and Andover knew that they would have to bat well against a side fourth in the league.

Openers, Treagus and McManus, started brightly before Hampshire T20 hero McManus was bowled looking to accelerate the scoring.

Treagus was joined by Alex Ayers and this pair took the score up to 56 before Treagus, who was looking back to his best, was stumped for 24.

Carr then was bowled to an excellent delivery from Hill and Andover were starting to wobble.

Nerves were really jangling when Alex Ayers was caught from a ball that popped and Andover were 74-4.

Last week's hero Nathan Birks joined Charlie Ayers and both looked to continue the scoring.

This pair added another 20 to the score before Birks was also bowled by Hill.

Skipper Matt Hooper joined Ayers with another tricky 45 runs to get and Sarisbury were now the ones with the bit between their teeth.

However, Ayers was batting brilliantly, hitting the odd boundary mixed in with some well placed singles.

This pair took the score to within 22 required and then Ayers showed his class.

He took all 22 runs from Hill’s over, the 29th of the match, with five boundaries in a row and made a difficult run chase look very easy. Ayers deservedly knocked off the winning runs to cap a fine individual performance and ended the game on 49 not out.

Andover leapfrogged Sarisbury in the table to fourth and with three games left will be hoping to continue their late march up the table.

Andover welcome New Milton to London Road this Saturday and the town club will be looking to reverse a heavy defeat inflicted on them down in the New Forest earlier in the season.