Will Arnold led the way as Andover successfully chased down a 246-run target to beat Hook & Newnham Basics by four wickets with two balls to spare at London Road.
Hampshire’s Asher Hart (30) gave the Lions response to Hook’s 245-8 a positive start, but it was Arnold (73) who underpinned the chase which Luke Andrews (29) and Matt Hooper (27 not out) completed in the nick of time.
Earlier, Hook openers Richard Willcock (84) and Josh Buckingham (21) put on 57 before the batsman/wicketkeeper and Harry Warner were bowled by Luke Graham. Matt Love (21) and Willcock batted sensibly and added another 68 before Charlie Ayres celebrated his arrival from St Cross Symondians with a superb piece of fielding which accounted for the Basics captain.
The new boy then removed Willcock and then, after Matt Hooper had removed Matt Buckingham, took a return catch off Rhodes Franklin to leave Hook 162-6 and facing the prospect of posting a below-par score.
Jordan Hobday entered the fray and set about the Andover attack, blasting boundaries aplenty as he looked to drag Hook up over the 200 mark. He finished on 62 before he was undone by a Mike Adams slower ball. The reintroduction of Asher Hart (2-29) at the other end saw two quick wickets fall in the final overs as Hook ended a respectable 245-9.
The Andover run chase started positively with openers Andrew Duckworth and Hart (30) laying the foundations with a 61 run partnership before Hart was well caught by Matt Buckingham in the deep.
Will Arnold (above left) then joined Duckworth and the stylish right-hander played a superb turn, whacking 73 in another excellent knock. He shared partnerships with Duckworth (16), Glyn Treagus (10) and Charlie Ayers (16) before eventually falling with the score on 199-5.
The game was hanging in the balance with just ten overs remaining. However, a classy 28 from Luke Andrews, batting with a cool head under pressure, well supported by a boundary-strewn 27 not out from Matt Hooper, saw Andover close to the finish line.
Andrews fell with 19 runs required and Hooper was joined by Matt Knight. The pair took it to the final over when six runs were required. Knight calmly picked up the runs with two balls to spare to see the town side over the line.
Both sides fielded seriously depleted sides at Ripsley Park where Portsmouth inflicted a 118-run defeat on Liphook & Ripsley, who have their eyes fixed on Sunday’s Village Cup showdown with Oxford Downs.
Frailty in batting was evident on both sides. The visitors were 74-4 and 91-5 before a patient 73 by Pradip Bains led a runaway recovery to 243-9, sharing 50 partnerships with Andrew Marston 40* and James Christian. Chaz Janczur and Sean Burton each took three wickets.
The home batting was even less impressive with only Grant Rouse (38) catching the eye. Liphook were already struggling when left arm spinner Marston proceeded to run through the home batting with an outstanding 5-37. Liphook all out 130.
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