Andover’s men’s 1st XI, sponsored by Nordlock, fell short in their run chase at high flying Totton on Saturday, leaving the town club propping up the rest of the Southern Premier League division one.

Skipper Matt Hooper lost the toss and Totton decided they wanted to bat first on a good looking pitch and a hot day.

Andover started well, with opening bowlers Mike Adams and Babu Veetill bowling with great control.

Adams was first to strike and Totton lost their first wicket LBW with the score on 21. Totton rode their luck and progressed to 61 and then they lost two wickets in quick succession.

Rowan Duckworth was first to strike, with a wicket well caught by Hooper and Charlie Ayers picked up his first wicket, comfortably caught by Nathan Birks.

Totton added another 30 before Hooper got in on the act with a wicket caught by Veettil at long on.

Andover were in a great position and looked like they were on top, however, Everything changed when Brighton Mugochi walked to the wicket.

Mugochi was in the mood and quickly set about the Andover bowlers, who didn’t do a lot wrong. - he quickly progressed to 68 off 30 balls hitting five sixes.

The heat and the runs started to get to the Andover fielders and catches started to go down.

Hooper rotated all his bowlers but It wasn’t until Rory Case, on his Andover 1st XI debut, picked up the crucial wicket of Mugochi caught by Andrew Duckworth.

Totton had progressed to 185 and now held all the cards. The lower order for Totton added another 50 to score with some late hitting while Andover picked up two more wickets through Case and Hooper.

Totton finished on an above-par 236, and Andover were left wondering what could have been, had it not been Mugochi’s fireworks.

The Andover batters knew they had to start well but Totton’s plan was to spin Andover out with five of their six bowlers bowling spin.

Andover lost Glyn Treagus with the score on 11 and Matt Knight on 23 and Totton were well on top. However, Andover batsman Nathan Birks had other ideas. Birks was timing the ball sweetly while taking calculated risks.

He was ably supported by Ayers and these two looked incredibly comfortable against the barrage of spinners.

Andover progressed all the way to 100 before Ayers was to fall, stumped for a well crafted 26. Birks kept on going despite losing Andrew Duckworth and Hooper, eventually falling for 70.

Birks eventually fell for the sixth wicket for a brilliant 70.

While Totton felt they would see the Andover team fold, Brandon Smith in particular, showed he is starting to feel more comfortable in first XI cricket.

Smith hit one very big six but fell going for one big shot too many.

The lower order added some valuable runs before being bowled out for 158.

Ultimately, Andover were left with the feeling of what might have been without the heroics of one batter Andover may have been a lot closer to high flying Totton.

Andover welcome Basingstoke to London Road on Saturday, who sit alongside them in the relegation places. They will be looking to gain their second victory of the season and start progressing up the table.