Andover men’s 1st XI were beaten by the weather in their match against Portsmouth in sight of victory at London Road on Saturday.

Andover, who beat Portsmouth earlier in the season, were looking to do the double over the South coast side and move off the bottom of the table.

After early morning rain, the match was reduced from 40 overs to 36 overs per side.

Andover skipper Matt Hooper, won the toss and elected to field first on a dry pitch that had been under covers all morning.

Opening bowlers Michael Adams and Babu Veettil started well and with the score on 14 Portsmouth lost their skipper to Adams, well caught by Charlie Ayers. This was quickly followed by another wicket when Portsmouth lost their second wicket with the score on 21 with Adams bagging his second wicket.

Portsmouth were looking to survive at this point and the game slowed down. However, Adams was still wheeling away and he deservedly picked up his third wicket, again well caught be Ayers with the score on 58, and he finished with excellent figures of 28-3 from eight overs.

Hooper introduced Richie Taylor into the attack and this decision paid off with the reliable seamer bagging the fourth wicket, caught by a diving Veettil.

Andover knew they had an opportunity to bowl Portsmouth cheaply and Hooper rotated his bowlers.

Rowan Duckworth continued with the tight bowling at one end and Will Carr bowled with great speed and control at the other.

Carr picked up the next three wickets as Portsmouth went from 77-4 to 118-7.

Leg-spinner Charlie Ayers followed Duckworth, who bowled his allotted overs for a miserly 15 runs.

Ayers and Carr bolted the final overs and both picked up a wicket each with the score on 123. Portsmouth finished their innings on this score, losing 9 wickets from their 36 overs.

With rain in the forecast Andover knew that run-rate calculations may come into the equation.

They needed to bat sensibly but also ensure they score enough runs to be ahead of Portsmouth if the rain came.

Young star Sam Ashman and Andrew Duckworth started cautiously before Duckworth was bowled with the score on 13.

This brought the in-form Matt Knight and he immediately looked settled. Ashman and Knight rotated the strike well and hit boundaries when bad balls were presented. Knight was particularly fluent attacking the spinners and this pair took Andover to 61-1 from 16 overs.

At this point the rain arrived and Andover were well ahead of where they needed to be. However, league rules dictate that 20 overs must be bowled for the game to be constituted as a match. The umpires made the decision that play could not resume despite underfoot conditions being on the damp side all day.

To make matters worse the sun came out in the evening and it left Andover to rue what might have been.

It was a game the town side would have undoubtedly won and moved them up the table and a game that summed up Andover’s season so far. They ended without any points from the cancelled match.

Instead, Andover remain bottom of the table and play Sarisbury, the team a place above them on Saturday. It is a must-win game and if Andover have any desire to remain in division one then they need to start winning soon.