ANDOVER won a thriller against highflying Waterlooville to cement their position in the Southern Premier Cricket League. Nordlock sponsored Andover welcomed back Michael Adams for Richie Taylor in the bowling attack and Harri Williams in to lay the platform at the top of the batting order, for Harry Blackburn.

Skipper, John Nyumbu, lost the toss and Waterlooville had no hesitation in deciding to bat first on a good looking pitch and a hot day.

The Andover opening bowlers, Adams (26-1) and Babu Veettil (50-2), started well keeping the runs tight. After a missed chance Andover were wondering if they were set for a long day in the field.

That was until the score was on six when Veettil caught the edge of the Looville skipper and it was well caught behind by Matt Knight. Andover continued to bowl well but with a lightening fast outfield anything that beat the field went to the boundary.

Nyumbu (38-1) replaced Veettil and with the score on 27 he picked up the second wicket trapping the other opener for LBW. At the other end young star Sam Ashman (32-1) replaced an unlucky Adams and he picked up the next wicket on 71 in the 22nd over.

Matt Hooper (23-1) and Charlie Ayers (32-1) replaced Ashman and Nyumbu as Andover continued to keep the scoring down whilst trying to pick up wickets. With both bowlers settling they picked up a wicket each with the score on 92, Ayers with one caught well by Ashman and Hooper with his caught at point by a diving Glyn Treagus.

Waerlooville were wobbling but instead of going into a hole, the lower order decided attack was the best form of defence.

After a crunching blow to the helmet from a Veettil bouncer, the Waterlooville batters started hitting out in self-preservation as much as anything else. This pair put on 80 in no time and all the Andover bowlers tried to break the partnership.

Veettil was the man to break this dangerous looking stand with an excellent caught and bowled. Adams, who had also returned into the attack, picked up a deserved wicket and bowled expertly at the death and Waterlooville ended on 207-7 from their 50 overs.

Andover felt this was below par on yet another excellent London Road pitch with a sun-baked outfield. Andover openers, Treagus (20) and Ashman (31), started well with Treagus in particular latching onto anything short.

Treagus scored 20 of the first 21 runs before he was caught and this brought the returning Harri Williams (7) to the crease. Williams, fresh from a purple patch in London, hit an early boundary but he fell shortly after and Andover were 33-2.

Ayers (45) was next in and this pair, two of Andover’s most reliable batsman, started to settle into their rhythm. Andover got to 78 when Ashman was adjudged LBW for a decent all-round performance.

Steve Williams (19) came to the crease and this pair immediately started to puttee fielders under pressure with good running between the wickets and hitting the odd boundary. It was this aggressive running that was Williams downfall when there was a mix up with Ayers and Andover were 115-4.

Andover still had plenty of batting left but the run rate was starting to climb and the talented Nathan Birks (35) joined Ayers. Ayers was next to go when he was bowled 5 short of his fifty and now Andover looked, for the first time in the game, like they were chasing the game.

Veettil (27) had other ideas and him and Birks, Andover’s powerful pairing, peppered the boundary from ball one. Veettil hit three sixes in an 11 ball stay but just as he looked like he was taking Andover to the Waterlooville total, he ran himself out when he thought there was a run. Andover now only needed 30 runs with 8 overs to go but unbelievably two of Andovers most experienced batters, Knight and Hooper, fell within 3 balls of each other. Again, the pendulum swung towards Looville but Nyumbu (15) joined Birks and batted sensibly.

Meanwhile, Birks was looking incredibly assured, manoeuvring and manipulating the ball to all parts of the ground. Nyumbu hit a six and took Andover to within two runs of the winning score. With the finish line in sight Nyumbu fell and Andover now had only one wicket remaining. Adams joined the ever-dependable Birks with two runs to win from two overs. Adams flicked his fourth ball to mid-wicket and they took off for a single.

The fielder threw the ball at the stumps but Adams had safely made his ground as the ball crashed into the bowlers end stumps. As Looville were appealing in vain for a run-out, Birks and Adams saw an opportunity and they took the winning run whilst the fielders were distracted. Andover secured a nail biting victory and it was brought home via a coming-of-age innings from Birks.

Andover picked up 20 points for the victory but Hambledon, in top spot, and Romsey, in third place, also both won. The promotion race is looking like it is going to go the distance but Andover are in red-hot form having won their last seven games on the trot.

Andover travel to Fair Oak, a team they lost to earlier in the season, looking to continue their march up the Southern Premier Cricket League. Andover welcome back Taylor into the bowling attack, in for Knight with Harri Williams taking over the glovers.

At London Road, Andover Second XI face Emsworth after recording a good victory last weekend, let by Martin Roberts, Kellum Watta and a destructive innings by the ‘finisher’ Morgan Vanandel.

A message from the editor

Thank you for reading this article - we appreciate your support.

Subscribing means you have unrestricted access to the latest news and reader rewards - all with an advertising-light website.

Don't take my word for it – subscribe here to see for yourself.

Looking to advertise an event? Then check out our free events guide.

Want to keep up with the latest news and join in the debate? You can find and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.