Andover first XI travelled down to the coast for their second Southern Premier League match.

With driving rain in the morning, it was only one of two games to be played on the day.

While there was no rain in Southsea there was a very strong wind blowing off the sea.

Andover skipper, Matt Hooper, won the toss and had no hesitation in deciding to bowl first on a pitch that had been covered for the previous 24 hours.

This decision was fully justified as opening bowler Michael Adams, bowling into the strong wind, took the first wicket in his second over which was well caught by Nathan Birks at point.

Not to be outdone, fellow opening bowler, Babu Veettil quickly picked up the second wicket with a beautifully delivery, bowling Hammond and Portsmouth were reeling with two wickets down with just 11 runs on the board.

Andover had their tails up but they knew Portsmouth would be looking to rebuild. Adams and Veettil bowled with great control and consistency and their hard work was rewarded with three more quick wickets.

Firstly, Adams picked up the dangerous Duggan LBW with a ball that kept low and two balls later Hirani was bowled with a beauty from the same bowler.

In the next over Smitherman was caught behind by the excellent Matt Knight when he feathered a bouncer from Veettil with the score 21 for the loss of five wickets. Andover continued their attack but this led to opportunities for Portsmouth and a stand of 21 was broken by Veettil, with Andrew Duckworth taking a sharp catch in the gully.

Adams was replaced into the wind by Rowan Duckworth who picked up the seventh wicket with the score on 52.

Richard Taylor replaced Veettil who had bowled his allotment of overs and he and Duckworth continued to bowl with excellent accuracy. While Portsmouth were picking up a few runs here and there the Andover bowlers continued their good start and Taylor grabbed the eighth wicket with the score on 66, well caught by Veettil.

Portsmouth’s ninth wicket partnership of 23 was their biggest of the match and Hooper rotated his bowlers well. Rowan Duckworth was the man to break the partnership having Marsden caught at point by a tumbling Charlie Ayers.

In the 30th over Ayers got in on the act claiming the final wicket with the Portsmouth score on 95.

While this score was a long way below par, the windy conditions and a helpful pitch gave the Portsmouth bowlers a chance.

The Andover trepidation was proven to be accurate when they lost star batsman Glyn Treagus to the second ball of the innings with no score on the board. Knight joined other opener, Taylor, and the pair knew that they had to weather the storm.

Taylor characteristically used attack as his form of defence hitting three fours and a six in his breezy 21.

Meanwhile at the other end Knight was resolute in his defence being willing to anchor the innings and wait for the bad ball. With the score on 27 Taylor was unable to clear the infield and Portsmouth had their second wicket.

Five runs later Andrew Duckworth was bowled and Portsmouth had a sniff on an unlikely victory. However, Ayers and Knight played sensibly, picking off the singles and hitting boundaries when the opportunity arose.

The pair added a further 40 runs and all but finished the match off until Ayers was caught for a match winning 28. The big hitting Max Souter enhanced his powerful hitting reputation hitting a six into the wind trying to finish the game off quickly. He was unable to repeat the feat and was caught with Andover 10 runs behind Portsmouth’s target of 95.

Birks continued where Souter left off and hit the ten runs needed in the three balls he faced to win the match for Andover. At the other end Knight finished deservedly not out on 22 having capped an excellent performance behind the stumps and with the bat.

Andover took 20 points from the match and moved themselves half way up the table. After a disappointing opening day defeat Andover bounced back in emphatic fashion. They play Sarisbury Athletic at London Road (12:30) this Saturday hoping to make it two wins on the bounce to push themselves even further up the table.