ANDOVER cemented second place in Division 1 of the Southern League with a comfortable 24-run win over local rivals Hook and Newnham Basics.

The win was underpinned by sparkling individual performances by Richmond Mutambami (121), Nathan Birks (73) and John Nyumbu (3-36)

On a relatively flat-looking Hook pitch, skipper John Nyumbu won the toss and elected to bat.

After five overs this looked to be the wrong decision as some skillful bowling by Lewis Wetts (2-53) and Jack Murrel (3-41) sent the Andover top three back to the pavilion, leaving the town side reeling at 5 for 3.

Spurred on by watching IPL scouts, Richmond Mutambami set about rebuilding the Andover innings as he has done so often this season.

Joined by Nathan Birks, the pair decided to counterattack the Hook bowling, reeling out a string of attacking shots and finding the boundary with relative ease.

The Hook bowling attack withered in the face of this assault and their heads began to drop further when Birks and Mutambami set about the Hook spin attack.

This included a six from Mutambami that cleared the adjoining car park. At the halfway point of the innings, Andover's position was looking much healthier with the town side sitting at 140 for 3.

However disaster struck with score on 160, as Birks was eventually dismissed for a wonderful 73, bringing an end to a game-changing partnership of 153. 

If Hook were hoping for some respite, they were disappointed, as ex-Hampshire allrounder Matt Hooper entered the fray.

Hooper unfurled some of his trademark sweep shots in a run-a-ball 26, injecting further impetus into the Andover innings.

When he fell, it was left to the big-hitting Josh Williams (41) to shepherd Mutambami to his second ton of the season, a majestic knock for his final game in Andover colours. 

Both then fell in the last few overs, but not before Williams had helped himself to a well made 41, and the Andover lower order chipped in to get to the town side to an imposing total of 306 for 7 from their 50 overs. 

The Hook riposte then started brightly with a breezy opening partnership of 103 between Harry Werner (43) and Sam Lockwood (73) off the first 18movers.

Skipper Nyumbu had to turn to key man Aiden Jansen to break the partnership and he duly delivered with a well-disguised slower ball deceiving Werner.

Sensing an opening, Nymubu brought himself into that attack and was duly rewarded, striking a double wicket blow removing both Charlie Neville and Oliver James without reaching double figures.

Veteran off-spinner Matt Hooper then struck to prise out Lockwood and things were looking rosy for the town side with Hook struggling at 147 for 4 after 33 overs.

Some late-order hitting from Rupert Armstrong (53) and Alex Corbett (34) briefly had ACC fans watching on nervously but some fine death bowling from Jansen (2- 43), Ollie Williams (1-72) and Nyumbu (3-36) helped to seal the victory.

There was further good news as Mutambami ended the season as the leading run scorer in the league with 812 and Nyumbu the second-highest wicket taker with 28 wickets.

Homegrown talent Aidan Jansen was not far behind with 26 wickets.

The second place in the league helped the club cap off a very strong season with the club's 3XI achieving promotion and 2XI and 4XI's achieving top-half finishes.

Club captain Harry Blackburn was particularly enthused by the successes of some of the younger Andover players.

He said: "It's so pleasing to see the club enjoy such a positive year with all teams meeting or exceeding the expectations that were set out at the start of the season.

"I have been particularly excited by the number of youth players who are now making the step up to adult cricket, a real testament to the tireless work of Nick Hopton, Clare Thain, Phil James, youth team managers and other countless volunteers who have laid the platform for success throughout the club."