Andover First XI took the trip across the water but lost a thriller against Ventnor in the Southern Premier League division one.

Andover, sponsored by Nordlock, welcomed back former Hampshire player Glyn Treagus, in to replace leg spinning all-rounder Charlie Ayers, for trip to the Isle of Wight.

On a warm sunny day Johnny Nyumbu took the decision to bowl first on Ventnor’s unique ground and a side renowned for the ability to chase any total. 

Andover opening bowlers, Babu Veettil (65-3) and Ollie Banks-Williams (37-1), knew they had to bowl well on a very good batting pitch and they were immediately put under pressure with the Ventnor batters playing their shots.

However, both responded well and Andover got their first wicket in the second over with the score on 17, well caught by Aidan Jansen off Banks-Williams.

In the very next over Veettil removed Ventnor’s high scoring overseas player and Sri Lankan A batsman, Dineth Thimodya, caught behind by Richmond Mutumbami.

The Ventnor batters continued to attack and whilst the hit powerfully, chances were coming for the Andover bowlers.

Veettil picked up the next two wickets to fall and Ventnor slumped to 73-4.

With the scoring rate still strong the Ventnor batters needed to dampen their attacking instincts to building a partnership and this is exactly what they did.

The score passed 100 without further scare and Andover rotated their bowlers in search of the next wicket.

It was Nyumbu (50-2) with his off-spin that was next to strike but the Island side had progressed to 133-5.

It was here the innings was in the balance and the Ventnor batters, especially Henry Bartlett who scored a brilliant century, made sure the pendulum swung the Islanders way.

The sixth wicket added over a hundred to the score and a big score was on the cards.

Michael Adams (57-2), Nyumbu and Aidan Jansen (34-1) did brilliantly to restrict the scoring rate whilst also each picking up a wicket and the Ventnor innings closed on 299-9 from the allotted 50 overs.

While this seemed a big total on a flat batting pitch and a fast and small outfield this was well within Andover’s reach, especially considering the town side had not lost yet this season.

Andover's regular opening partnership of Harri Williams (3) and Treagus (51) got things underway.

Both started well until Williams was harshly adjudged LBW and Andover were 13-1.

Ollie Banks-Williams (17) joined Treagus and this pair started to lay a good platform despite some excellent Ventnor bowling.

Andover went past 50 before Banks-Williams fell and Zimbabwean international Mutumbami (85) joined Treagus.

Andover were slightly behind the rate but were building nicely with both players latching onto anything loose.

This was until Treagus was also harshly adjudged to be LBW, but not before the ex-Hants man had posted yet another Southern League half-century.

Matt Hooper (18) came to the crease and he and Mutumbami immediately upped the run rate taking calculated risks and Mutumbami in particular played powerfully all around the wicket.

Andover progressed to 174 when Hooper was bowled but crucially Andover were now up with the required run rate.

Mutumbami was looking very dangerous but a side strain slowed the Zimbabwean down and ultimately led to his demise, as he was caught on the boundary for a brilliant innings of 85.

Andover now needed 100 from just over 16 overs but they knew they still had plenty of firepower to come.

Joshua Banks-Williams (42) and Matt Knight (24) started watchfully but kept the scoreboard ticking over and they managed to get the target down to 42 from five overs.

Unfortunately Banks-Williams was the next man to fall, just as he was looking like he was going to go past a first half-century for Andover, and finish the game off for Andover.

However, all was not lost as power-hitter Veettil (17) joined the set Knight and the town side still were in with a chance. Knight played a beautiful reverse sweep for four and then got Veettil on strike and then the clean striking Veettil did what he has done all season.

He hit his first two balls for six and then another boundary two balls later.

Andover were now only 24 runs away with just short of four overs left.

Unfortunately Veettil was caught going for another maximum and things were further compounded when Nyumbu followed the very next ball, also caught in the deep.

Knight knew it was down to him now and he and Jansen managed to scrape a few more runs together, taking the score to within 14 off Ventnor’s 299 before Knight was caught just short off a maximum.

With 13 needed off the last over the Andover tailenders were unable to get Andover any closer and the Andover innings fell 12 runs short as Jansen was bowled going for a compulsory big short and Andover were bowled out for 287.

Andover picked up a decent nine points from the match and travelled back to mainland in high spirits knowing they had been part of an excellent cricket match, despite coming out just short.

Andover remain in second place with Basingstoke on top spot having not lost a game.

Andover, Hook and Ventnor all sit within a handful of points of each other having all lost one game.

Andover are back in action this Saturday (12.30pm start) at London Road this Saturday, hosting Hambledon, the team that came up with them last year.

While Andover sit pretty near the top of the table Hambledon are struggling towards the bottom, having yet to record a victory so far this season.

Andover will be looking to bounce back to winning ways and continue their excellent start to the season.