Andover’s men’s 1st XI got back to winning ways by thumping St Cross as they started their climb up the Southern Premier Cricket League division one table.

On a warm day, skipper Matt Hooper, won the toss and decided to bat first on a hard pitch.

Opening pair Nathan Briks and young star Sam Ashman looked to build a solid platform, that had been missing in the previous defeats.

Unfortunately, Andover lost Birks with the score on just 15 despite the destructive opener looking good with two sweetly struck boundaries. Ashman was joined by experienced wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Knight and they looked to rebuild the innings again.

Knight was particularly fluent hitting the ball crisply and Ashman was pinching singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Knight hit one huge six and continued to dominate the bowling until he was adjudged LBW for a well-crafted 53 on the score on 105.

Andover then took the collective decision to promoted big hitting Babu Veettil up the order in the search of quick runs. Veettil, on the back of a brilliant T20 innings a few weeks ago, immediately took the attack to the St Cross bowlers. Ashman and Veettil added another 56 to the score, before Ashman fell for an excellent 43. Ashman, who has only just turned 14, played with maturity, rotating the strike well and held the early innings together. It was this that allowed Veettil to do what he does best, hitting it with superb timing and power.

Charlie Ayers, Glyn Treagus and Brandon Smith all fell in pursuit of quick runs, all the while Veettil kept peppering the boundary. Treagus, back from injury, had to retire hurt after reopening the split of the webbing on his right hand.

Veettil was joined by Hooper and was 91 going into the final over. He took two off the first ball and then crunched his sixth six to take him to 99. Unfortunately for Veettil he was then adjudged LBW when trying to dab one down to third man for the single he needed for his hundred. Andover finished their innings with Hooper being run out and they posted a formidable 235-7 from their 40 overs.

Andover, fielded with 10 men with Treagus unable to field, knew they would have to blow considering there were no demons in the pitch and St Cross had including ex-Hampshire player Jason Laney in their line-up. Opening pair Michael Adams and batting hero Veettil started well.

St Cross followed a similar pattern to Andover, building a steady base in pursuit of Andover’s total. Veettil was replaced by Richie Taylor and he took an over to find his rhythm with the score progressing to 72. However, he then burst into life capturing key man Laney brilliantly caught behind by Knight who was stood up to the stumps.

Star spinner Charlie Ayers was introduced the other end and he got an immediate wicket caught by Hooper.

Ayers and Taylor were on top and they continued their dominance. 72 without loss became 85-6 with Ayers and Taylor both getting three wickets each.

They had strangled the life out of the St Cross run chase and Andover were well on top. Morgan Vanandel then removed the St Cross skipper who was starting to get going with the score on 137.

Veettil then, to cap a brilliant day for him, grabbed two wickets for himself and then the final wicket with his pinpoint throw from the boundary and St Cross were bowled out for 156 in the 37th over.

Andover remain in bottom place but are now level on points with the two teams above them. Andover travel the short distance to Sparsholt, going into the second half of season.

The Nordlock sponsored side will be looking to continue their good form and climb up the table and out of the bottom two relegation places.