Andover first XI boosted their hopes of survival with a convincing victory against the league leaders Totton. Andover started the day second to bottom in the Southern Premier League division one table and Totton were clear at the top.

Skipper Matt Hooper won the toss and elected to field first after a wet week despite the pitch looking good.

Andover opening bowlers, Babu Veettil and Mike Adams, started well and put the much vaulted Totton batting line up under immediate pressure.

In the third over Veettil made the first breakthrough getting the opener caught well at point by Nathan Birks. The very next ball Veettil got his second wicket well caught behind the wicket by Matt Knight and Totton were reeling at 3-2.

Veettil missed out on his hat-trick but Andover were on top and creating chances. Totton survived another seven runs before Veettil picked up the third wicket with a beauty, bowling the batsman who was looking to break the shackles.

This brought Mugochi to the wicket, who scored a rapid-fire 60 off 30 balls in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, and Andover knew this was the key partnership as Totton opener Cheater was also standing firm despite a few close calls.

Veettil was on fire and had his tail up, After a boundary from Mugochi Veettil swung one back into his pads and the umpire adjudged it to be LBW. Totton were 14-4 and this quickly became 16-6 with Adams joining the party bowling the Totton skipper and Veettil picked up his fifth wicket.

Veettil wasn’t done there and he deservedly picked up his sixth wicket and he finished his spell with the incredible figures of six wickets for nine runs from his eight overs. Totton and replacing Adams and Veettil was never going to be easy. Spinner Charlie Ayers and Rowan Duckworth tried to continue to put the pressure on the Totton batsman.

However, the penny seemed to be dropping that scoring runs was not necessarily the priority for the table toppers. Totton progressed to 81 from 22-7, before the next wicket fell when spinner Treagus picked up the eighth wicket which was well caught by Veettil at mid-on.

Cheater was still going strong and Hooper took over from Ayers to try and finish the innings off. Hooper picked up the final two wickets and Totton were bowled out for 122, a score that was well below par but they would have taken with the score on 22-7.

Andover opening batsman, Birks, immediately took the attack to the Totton bowlers hitting four boundaries before he was the first wicket to fall with the score on 31 and Birks had 23 of them. 

The ever reliable Knight came to the wicket and he immediately looked at home, parterning the other opener Sam Ashman, hitting the odd boundary and picking off the singles.

Knight was next to fall with the score on 77 but Andover were well ahead of the rate and nearing the Totton total. After his heroics with the ball, Veettil was promoted up the order to see if he could continue his form with the bat.

He is known for his clean striking and he quickly took racked up up 18 off eight balls and Andover progressed to 97-3. Ayers joined Ashman and this pair comfortably took Andover home.

The last few runs included a big six from Ayers that landed on the pavilion roof. Ashman, who is being touted for a spot with Hampshire academy after his performances for the town team, continued his good form and continued to show why he is such an exciting prospect.

Andover took maximum points from the game but they knew the other two teams around them at the bottom of the league, St Cross and Sarisbury, were also facing off. Sarisbury came out on top so this keeps Sarisbury just ahead of Andover who remain in the second relegation place.

Andover travel to third place Basingstoke on Saturday with Brandon Smith replaced by Will Carr.

The town side know only a victory will do but Basingstoke still have an outside chance of promotion so it all looks set to be a classic encounter between the two North Hampshire sides.