A fifth victory in a row has further consolidated South Wilts at the top of the Premier League after a convincing victory over bottom-placed Andover.
After winning the toss and batting at the London Road ground, South Wilts had a poor start when they lost opener Will Wade to an unfortunate run-out with only 4 on the board. Jack Mynott also followed soon after for 10, as he was caught behind to become skipper-Matt Hooper’s first of 3 wickets as the score was left at a precarious 28-2.
Returning overseas Ian Holland now joined opener-Tom Cowley to produce the pivotal partnership of the match. With Holland batting fluently after runs for Hampshire, and Cowley playing a controlled innings compared to his normal free-flowing self, 94 was added for the 3rd wicket, during which both players passed half-centuries. However, Cowley’s 99-ball knock ended for 50 when he became Hooper’s 2nd wicket. In-form Ben Draper then supported Holland in adding a further 43 runs, before his dismissal for 17 sparked a collapse that limited both South Wilts’ final score and batting points. Draper, James Hayward and James Hibberd all fell in the space of 18 runs to the impressive Glyn Treagus, who finished with the figures of 3-27 from 11 overs. Babu Veettil then returned to make a double strike- Luke Evans giving Treagus his 2nd catch of the day, and Holland, having passed a century a few balls before, caught behind for 103. Holland’s first century for the club had used up only 119 balls, and included 10 fours and one six.
At 205-8, South Wilts were in serious danger of not reaching 225 for a 4th batting point. The side must therefore thank Steve Warner and Ryan Murray, who played sensibly in slowly-but-surely taking the score up to 237, and within sight of a 5th bonus point. This wouldn’t materialise however, as first Mike Adams bowled Murray for 13, followed by Warner, dismissed by Hooper, for 19. South Wilts were all-out for 237 in 60.1 overs, with Hooper finishing with 3-47 for the hosts.
A slightly wayward opening spell with the new ball allowed Andover openers Treagus and Will Arnold make a decent-enough start to the reply. However, both openers fell for 16 with the score on 37, with Treagus giving Draper his first of 3 catches behind the stumps off Murray, and Arnold being cleaned-up by Holland an over later. Two further wickets for Murray, and a double-strike for Evans, essentially curtailed any chance of victory for the hosts, with the score now 85-6. After a small fight back of 43 runs by Chamika Karunaratne and Hooper, the spin-twins of Mynott and Jack Richards ended most of the lower order resistance, with 2-14 and 1-28 repectively. With only one wicket left, Karunaratne played some shots in reaching a deserved half-century for the number 5, before Daniel Foy was run-out by Mynott to curtail the Andover innings on 165; Karunaratne finished 61* off only 70 balls. All the bowlers contributed, with Murray finishing with figures of 3-40 from 8 overs.
South Wilts return home after this 24-point victory to welcome 8th-placed Alton next weekend to Lower Bemerton.