Andover First XI, sponsored by Nordlock, maintained their 100 per cent record since promotion back into the Southern Premier League division one with a resounding victory against New Milton at a sun-baked London Road Sports Ground, Andover. New Milton arrived on the back of a couple of defeats, including being bowled out for 41 the week prior. Andover captain, Johnny Nyumbu, welcomed back Harri Williams in for Glyn Treagus at the top of the order and he had no hesitation in batting first when winning the toss. 

This plan looked to back-fired when the town side were 2-2 in the third over. Matt Hooper (0), following his half-century from the week before after surprisingly being promoted to opening the batting fell first LBW and his opening partner Williams (2) was bowled by a brilliant delivery from the impressive Watts. This brought Ollie Banks-Williams (56) and Richmond Mutumbami (93) to the crease with Andover in a perilous position. Whilst many would have thought consolidation would have been the primary aim, these two high-class batsman had other ideas. Both punished anything loose and the score raced to 50-2 within eight overs. It was Mutumbami who was particularly ruthless and he passed 50 without break a sweat. Banks-Williams, who plays for Hampshire under 16’s, also started to enjoy himself scoring freely all around the wicket and this pair took Andover past 150 in no time at all. Just as Mutumbami was looking set to record his first century since joining Nyumbu’s men, he was adjudged LBW and Andover were 151-3. 16 runs letter Banks-Williams, who had just recorded his first half-century for Andover, but Andover were in a commanding position. Local star Charlie Ayers (35) and Joshua Banks-Williams (10) continued the scoring until Banks-Williams fell caught on the boundary looking to play aggressively. Despite Matt Knight falling LWB first ball, the Andover batting fire power kept coming. Babu Veettil (45), who scored 40 from just 9 balls the last time he played at London Road, immediately timed the ball well and it soon became a who could hit it the furthest competition between himself and Ayers. Balls were disappearing too all parts of the ground with three balls lost into London Road and Batchelors Barn Road and the crowd regularly ducking for cover. The score accelerated past 200 and with a handful of overs to go Ayers fell caught on the boundary, the first ball he hadn’t timed. Veettil continued the onalught with Nyumbu (27*), taking the score quickly past 250, but in the 48th over Veettil fell for yet another destructive innings. It was left to Nyumbu, Aidan Jansen (1) and Michael Adams (3*) to finish the innings and Andover ended up on 284-9 from their allotted fifty overs.

New Milton knew they had to start well and this is what they did against the opening pair for Andover of Ollie Banks-Williams (15-0) and Veettil (20-0). They raced to 40 without loss with the ball flying off the bat with an extremely quick outfield, despite both bowlers not doing a huge amount wrong. Nyumbu, with numerous bowling options available to him, changed it up and introduced Joshua Banks-Williams (27-2) and Jansen (15-1) to the attack. It was the left-armer Jansen that got the breakthrough catching the edge of the New Milton opener and Mutumbami took a good catch behind the stumps. Banks-Williams was bowling with good pace the other end and just as the batters were starting to get settled, he took two wickets in quick succession both were caught by Mutumbami. These were Banks -Williams first wickets for the town club, having not bowled in the first two games due to a side strain, and he looked a real danger man for the Nyumbu to have at his disposal. New Milton were in trouble, they were falling behind the rate and losing wickets, but they managed to steady themselves. That was until Nyumbu (37-3) himself and Adams (23-1) into the attack where New Milton went from 92-4 to 109-6. Both picked up a wicket each and these were sandwiched between a brilliant piece of work from Mutumbami who flicked a wayward throw onto the stumps to have the New Milton batter short of his ground. New Milton were struggling now chasing such a big total and the tailenders had to continue play shots. The last three wickets fell, with one more to Nyumbu which was brilliantly caught by Williams, and fellow off-spinner Hooper (12-2) picked up two for himself. New Milton ended their innings on 153 all out in the 37th over and Andover took maximum points from the victory.

Andover, who sit top of the table after only dropping one point from their first three games, travel to the Isle of Wight next Saturday to take on Ventnor. The Island side have won two of their first three games so the town side know they will have to play extremely well to travel back on the ferry with all the points. Treagus returns to the side in the place of Ayers and Andover will be looking to maintain their winning start to the season.