News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 17th September 2016
Camberley 37 Andover 23
For the second game in succession a last gasp try robbed Oakwood sponsored Andover of deserved league points, this time away to much fancied Surrey outfit Camberley.
The former National league one side are on the up after years of decline and are expected to challenge for the title this time around, but were given a real fright by Andover who showed that they also believe they belong at this level.
From the kick off Andover, led by returning skipper Alex Hibdige, gave away a scrum in a dangerous area but their big forwards soon sent out a message of intent smashing the Camberley pack backwards to win the ball and clear.
Soon afterwards Andover took the lead from the trusty boot of Charlie Waite with a penalty, but Camberley soon replied in kind.
Then after great work from Jack Stott Andover went back in front with Waite again on target.
At scrum time Andover continued to dominate and after a series of short scrum penalties, the referee lost patience with the home side and awarded a penalty try that Waite gratefully converted.
Almost immediately however Camberley struck back and the ding dong was truly on.
Camberley clearly expected Andover to tire up front but in a testament to the hard work put in by coach Marc Wilding this summer, they were sadly disappointed.
Man of the match Tom Erskine and James Monck ran amok and giant prop Carl Sievewright even found energy to make a try saving tackle.
Ten minutes before the break however the Surrey aristocrats increased their lead with a well worked try and it looked like it would be a tough second half for the ‘All Blacks.’
Indeed, it seemed that would be the case as Camberley forged ahead with a penalty and unconverted try as Billy pollard saw yellow, but this Andover side has matured well in the past year and laying down meekly was not on the agenda.
Andover weathered the storm and with just seven forwards continued to dominate the scrums and but for ill-discipline would have cut the lead when a penalty was reversed for retaliation.
Undaunted and with Pollard back on, Andover roared back.
Jake Kane was orchestrating the response from a set of backs growing into the game and after fine work from Niko Rowe Andover won a scrum.
Number eight Michael Roberts marshalled the scrum superbly and when Kieran Jenvey dived over and Waite converted from wide out they were right back in it.
Waite then levelled it with a penalty and Andover looked good, but with eight minutes to go came the moment that sealed their fate.
From a massive penalty kick, Waite hit the upright and the bouncing ball was clearly knocked on and played by an offside player in front of the posts, which if seen would have given the Andover scrum a walkover.
The otherwise excellent referee missed it however and Camberley reacted quickly counter attacking through their superb backs to score a lovely try.
Although still with a bonus point, Andover chose to go for broke and try and win the game, but with the last play their ambition was undone as an error gave Camberley the chance to seal things and once again left Andover empty handed.
It was a bitter pill but afterwards Director of Rugby Andy Waite was not too downhearted ‘We are disappointed but we’ve shown today we can compete with the very best. Camberley have the backing and set up to go a long way and we were right with them for most of this game.’
We need to learn how to manage the last part of the game better, but I’m confident overall we are well ahead of this time last year in how we are playing and wins will come if we stay calm and keep improving as we have been.’