Andover 1st XI, sponsored by Nordlock, beat fellow relegation rivals Sarisbury Athletic to improve their hopes of climbing out of the Southern League Division One relegation places.

On a hot day Andover skipper Matt Hooper, lost the toss and unsurprisingly were asked to blow first.

The Andover bowlers knew they were in for a long slog in the field.

Opening bowlers Mike Adams and Babu Veettil started well, keeping the runs tight but without getting an immediate breakthrough.

Hooper rotated his bowlers introducing Richie Taylor into the attack and the wily seamer made the first breakthrough with the score on 39. Spin star Charlie Ayers came on the other end and 17 runs later he got the second wicket LBW.

Another 20 runs later and Ayers had his second wicket and Andover’s third, well caught with an exemplarily piece of work behind the stumps.

With Taylor succumbing to injury Andover had to rotate their bowlers and the pace of Veettil picked up the fourth wicket straight after drinks. Hooper, bowling his overs in short bursts, then picked up the fifth wicket and Sarisbury were teetering at 122-5.

Without a front line fifth bowler Hooper tried Kelum Watta, Sam Ashman and Andrew Duckworth, all of which rose to the challenge when they weren’t expecting to bowl important overs. Sarisbury added another 70 to the total, losing two more wickets, ending on 192-7 from their 40 overs.

Andover felt this total was just about par on a pitch that was holding no demons for the batters. Young opening pair, Duckworth and Ashman, opened the innings and both looked fluent.

Unfortunately, Duckworth’s run of bad luck continued when he was well caught at slip and Andover were 29-1.

This brought the in-form Matt Knight to the crease and he immediately imposed himself on the Sarisbury bowlers.

This pair added 47 to the total in quick time before Knight was out LBW for a well-crafted 26 and Andover total on 76.

Watta joined Ashman having stepped up from the second team captaincy and him and Ashman continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Watta fell with the score on 115 truing to increase the rate but Ashman was still standing firm.

Veettil was sent in up the order to add some impetus to the innings and he hit an early six that went through a car window in the ground carpark.

Veettil added 19 off 12 balls before falling to a brilliant catch on the boundary. Ayers continued the hitting adding 20 from 16 balls and Andover were within touching distance of winning.

Ayers was then caught and this brought the clean-striking Nathan Birks to the crease and the depth of the Andover order was paying off.

All the while there was carnage at one end Ashman continued unflustered, picking up singles and striking the odd boundary.

This pair took the total to three from the final two overs before Birks was caught with the winning line in sight.

Guy Branston-Smith joined Ashman for the winnings runs, a beautifully struck straight drive that summed up a magnificent innings by the 13 year old young star.

Ashman ended on 76 not out from 94 balls and his performance held the innings together.

Andover moved off the bottom off the table and welcome Rowledge to London Road on Saturday.

Rowledge sit uncomfortably just outside the relegation places so Andover will again be looking to win and bring them into the relegation battle.

With six games to go Andover still have plenty of time to push themselves up the table.