BIRTHDAY boy Anik Devicha (right) took five wickets to help Hook and Newnham Basics to a two-wicket victory over Andover and clinch the Southern Premier League Division One title with a week to spare.
After the early departure of Nathan Binks off the bowling of Shane Brewer, Andover recovered to pass the 100 mark, with Glyn Treagus (57) and Alex Ayers (48) looking in good form.
But spin king Divecha, who finished with 5-21 to take his season’s wicket tally to 26, was just about to turn the game on its head as he split the pair. He then went on to take out the top order as from 112-2, Andover were suddenly 134-6.
The collapse gave Hook the two points they needed to be champions, but they were not done there as teenager Charlie Neville, on his first team debut, removed Richard Taylor thanks to a catch by wicket-keeper Josh Buckingham, his third of the game.
Without a run being added a Harry Robson run out removed Mike Adams, However, Matt Hooper (27) and Aidan Jansen (10) moved the score to 164, before returning opening bowler Jack Murrell took 2-51, as Andover were all out for 168.
The newly acclaimed champions’ reply got off to the worst possible start, as a rare failure by opening pair Robson and Daniel Moore saw Hook 3-2. However, Kieran Thomson was to prove the hero with the bat with an excellent and timely half-century.
Along with Richard Willcock (16) they got the score past 50. Thomson was then joined by Buckingham (6), but he was dismissed thanks to a superb catch by Alex Ayers.
This meant Franklin Rhodes (30 not out) came to centre and along with Thomson they moved the score into three figures. Thomson (52) was then the fifth man after a smart stumping by Matt Knight.
Debut boy Neville dispatched his first ball in the Southern League to the boundary, but was trapped leg before soon after by Treagus. Jack Murrell then hit a quick fire 14, before being caught by Nathan Birks as Charlie Ayers picked up his second wicket of the game.
Andover’s Matt Hooper then bowled Shane Brewer making it 157-8 and Hook still 11 runs short of their target.
It was left to Rhodes and Devicha to see them home and the champions started their celebrations, which ran long into the night.