Andover recorded a resounding victory, their fifth win in a row, to cement their position at the top of the Southern Premier Cricket League, division 2.

Andover, who lost to Hartley Wintney in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, now move a step closer to bouncing straight back up to division 1.

Nordlock-sponsored Andover welcomed young star George Reynolds in for his first game of the season.

Andover captain Johnny Nyumbu lost the toss and unsurprisingly on a flat pitch and a hot afternoon at London Road, Hartley decided to bat first.

This decision was vindicated as Hartley scored freely, despite some accurate bowling from the Andover opening bolwers Michael Adams and Babu Veettil.

With the pitch playing extremely well Nyumbu brought himself on, along with Richie Taylor, and the former struck first. At 79-1 from 14 overs Hartley had a solid foundation for a big score but as is often the way another wicket fell shortly after falling to Taylor.

From 99-2 from 16 overs wickets fell at regular intervals with Hartley eventually being bowled out for 166.

Hartley were unable to build any partnerships of note but this was mainly due to some very accurate bowling which was well supported with another good fielding performance.

Nyumbu was the pick of the bowlers collecting his first Andover five-wicket haul, surely the first of many, and Charlie Ayers collected two for himself bowling the best he has bowled all season.

Later on in the innings the opening pair of Adams and Veettil also deservedly collected one wicket each and Hartley were bowled out in the 40th over.

With the pitch looking flat, a fast sun-baked outfield and a low total to chase Andover knew they should be recording a victory.

However, Andover found themselves at 15-2 and all of a sudden Hartley had a sniff of victory themselves. Harry Blackburn and Ayers quickly restored parity before Blackburn fell, just as the platform was being built, with the score on 40.

The experienced Steve Williams joined Ayers and again this pair looked to rebuild. This turned into a match winning partnership with the Andover score progressing to 91 before Williams fell for 31.

Ayers was still going, he was started to score quickly and all around the ground.

Nathan Birks added another 13 to the total before he departed and it was left to Ayers and George Reynolds to finish the game off.

Reynolds finished on a valuable 22 not out, after coming in whilst the game could have easily gone the other way but the real hero was Ayers.

After two wickets in the first innings, he ended up 75 not out as he continued his fine form this season.

Ayers now moves up into the top three run-scorers in the league, whilst Nyumbu is hot on the heels of Andover paceman Veettil in the top bowling charts.

Andover travel to the New Forest on Saturday to take on Bashley.

Andover beat Basley earlier in the season fairly comfortably and the town side will be looking to make it six consecutive victories.

Andover welcome back former skipper Matt Hooper and star batsman, Sam Ashman, into a strong looking side. Meanwhile at London Road, a strong Andover second team look to continue their good recent form at home against East Woodhay (1pm).

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