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Saturday, 4th May 2013

Andover 0 Milbrook 15

Oakwood sponsored Andover were left empty handed last weekend after Milbrook completed an unlikey smash and grab raid on the Fullers Hamsphire Plate final at Foxcotte park.

On a beautiful day, ideal for running rugby , Andover will rue the fact that they just did not perform on the day allowing the visitors to run off with the spoils in front of a large home crowd.

' It was a shame' said coach Andy Waite ' We tried everything in the end, but just could not really get ourselves into the game. I think a few of our younger lads froze a bit and on top of that we just didn't seem to have the cohesion in attack we normally do.'

There were no excuses from Andover who were at full strength and had a bench that would be the envy of any club at this level.

Even in the second half however, with all of the big guns on the pitch, Andover still could not break down a dogged Milbrook defence and in the end it was this reargaurd from the visitors that decided the game.  

Playing up the slope and against the elements in the first half Andover seemed to have done enough to weather the early Milbrook storm and were confident of pushing on in the game.

Down to an early Milbrook try Andover enjoyed increasing amounts of posession and looked dangerous in attack.

Time and again however the ball just did not go to hand or a last ditch tackle stopped a score and soon Andover were made to pay.

As half time approached all of the hard work was undone in two crucial minutes that turned the game.

Elliott Copestake looked bound to score for Andover but was judged not to have grounded the ball properly and from the restart a defensive error handed Milbrook a second try.

Almost immediately another error in defence allowed them a third score and a fifteen nil half time lead that they were not to relinquish.

Although the task seemed big at half time, skipper James Dawson was still confident as Andover changed things around to really attack the visitors.

Enjoying almost unbroken posession behind a scrum and lineout that was dominating, Andover seemed bound to at least narrow the gap, but as the half wore on and no score came, the attacks became more and more frantic.

Marc Wilding was held up just short of the line from a line out drive as was Rob Good and a series of short scrums on the Milbrook line came to nothing as Andover lacked patience.

When the ball went wide Andover were not accurate enough and ball carriers went a bit too far before offloading.

Jack Stott, Callum Staff and Copestake all looked dangerous and Alex kane again had a fine game, but the deluge just never materialised.

In the end Andover ran out of ideas and Milbrook although out on their feet survived to record a famous victory.

' In the end they deserved it on the day.' Said Waite

' They were solid and brave and we just panicked a little at times. We weren't accurate enough in attack and in defence got a bit flustered.'

' What is important now is to learn from this, stick together and move forwards. We are a very young team with a lot of development still to come and sometimes its how you react that really matters. '

'It was a disapointing end to a season where Andover have shown great promise and although defeat is hard to take, there is a real buzz around the place from everyone involved about where this group of players can take us if they dedicate themselves.'


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