Record-setting Rob Andersen leads Hales and Loddon to victory over Saham Toney

Hales & Loddon finally got their season of to a flying start after a sensational match-winning performance from pace bowler Robin Andersen, who bagged the amazing figures of eight for 12 from 11.5 overs, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat over Saham Toney.

The rain of recent weeks had seen the groundsman unable to get on to the square, so batting was always going to be testing. Skipper Armiger lost the toss, was asked to bat and fell in the fith over in one of six wickets for P Norman.

Tom Selby dealt with the seam movement well and reached nine before adjudged to being caught, with some doubt in both fielder and batsman's eyes. Norman continued to dominate with the H&L batsman struggling, the innings eventually closing on 51 from 28 overs.

H&L made an immediate reply, with Rob Andersen claiming the prize wicket of former Norfolk player Luke Newton, smartly caught behind from Armiger third ball. In Andersen's third over he removed the middle order, with a three-wicket over to leave Saham in real trouble at seven for four. Matty Lovick provided an excellent foil at the other end, in a disciplined two for 23, but it was Andersen who produced the best ever Alliance bowling performance by a H&L player, as the Saham batsmen had no answer to his pace and movement.

At tea Saham were 23 for six, with Andersen on a remarkable five for 0 from six. Will Dyer 12 and J Norman nine gave Saham brief hope, but the on-fire Andersen was not to be denied, picking up his sixth wicket.

A six off Andersen from Norman made the H&L crowd pensive, but they need not have worried as Andersen followed up with a wicket, and two balls later completed the one-man demolition job, to see Saham fall nine short and give Andersen H&L Alliance-best figures of 11.5-8-12-8.

Scott Armiger was impressive behind the stumps taking four catches, to give H&L 20 valuable points. Andersen clean-bowled four, three caught-behind and one a smart slip catch from Stewart, to make hay while the sun shone on a rare seamer-friendly wicket.

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Club chairman Pete Dye was delighted to see the side get off to a good start: 'We have had a tough year with plenty to deal with, so this was an ideal start and gives the whole club a boost.

'Rob has been with us since he was six and has been outstanding, so this was always likely to happen with a player as talented as he is. Equally pleasing was the excellent spirit and fielding that produced one of the most exciting games for some time.

'And an excellent start for new skipper Armiger.'

• Hales & Loddon: T Selby c b Norman 9, S Armiger c Mower b Norman 2, R Andersen c Sims b Norman 5, D Harmer c Dyer b Norman 6, M Stewart c Newton b Norman 0, C Read c Ellis b Norman 4, B Read b Newton 4, S Rowe lbw Mower 5, C Baker b Mower 6, M Lovick not out 5, J Buckland c Norman b Mower 0; extras 2. Total (28 overs) 51. Bowling: P Norman 12-1-16-6, S Mower 8-3-19-3.

• Saham Toney: L Newton c Armiger b Andersen 0, D Sims c Armiger b Andersen 1, A McGeorge c Armiger b Lovick 6, X Huckle b Andersen 0, S Mower c Armiger b Andersen 0, W Dyer b Andersen 12, R Goodwin c Stewart b Andersen 1, D Ellis not Out 5, J Norman b Lovick 9, P Norman b Andersen 6, S Coleman b Andersen 0; extras 2. Total (22 overs) 42. Bowling: R Andersen 11.5-8-12-8, M Lovick 10-3-23-2, C Read 1-0-6-0.