News from the 1st-XV
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Monday, 17th October 2016
Effingham and Leatherhead 23 Andover 19
It was another frustrating day on the road for Oakwood sponsored Andover as once again they lost a close contest with the final play of the game.
They say lightening doesn’t strike twice, but in four of their five matches so far, Andover have been right in the running with moments to go and failed to convert the wins, which would have given them a very healthy league position.
Instead they now lay just one place above Portsmouth and the relegation zone.
Preparation for this one was not good for Andover with several changes due to unavailability, especially in the backs and this was soon worsened when Jonny Rogers was forced off to an early injury.
Reorganisation lead to full back Charlie Waite stepping in at stand-off, flanker Billy Pollard deputising at inside centre and 18-year-old hooker Harry Ward making his debut on the wing.
The game began well for Andover with Waite kicking an early penalty, but the home side soon replied in kind and then went ahead with two further successful kicks.
The Andover forwards were once again dominant supplying lots of possession but Effingham defended stoutly to keep them at bay.
Simon Preece and Ollie Lindridge ruled the lineout and were both prominent in the loose, where Tom Erskine was also in good form.
After a prolonged spell of pressure, Kieran Jenvey finally danced over for Andover and when Waite was successful with a long range touch line penalty, Andover went into the break with a promising lead.
Straight after the break however inexperience in the back line showed as Effingham’s influential scrum half scored a fine converted try without a tackle being made.
Andover roared back and through their dominant pack placed huge pressure on the home sides line.
Almost running forwards in the scrums Andover hammered away and from a series of rucks Matt Moore finished superbly to level the scores.
The backline then suffered another blow as Connor Churchill went off injured, leaving new hooker Nick Richardson to also join the makeshift backline, but he and man of the match Ward, defended manfully to keep Andover right on the front foot.
With two minutes’ left Andover pressure led to a penalty and when Waite calmly struck it home it looked like the job was done.
From the kick off however Andover knocked on and Effingham sensed they had a chance.
They managed to keep the scrum ball and went at Andover and despite a try saving tackle by Waite, the referee spotted an infringement, handed Jenvey a yellow card the home side with an extra man, made Andover pay with a try out wide and conversion.
The whistle blew and it was heart break again for the ‘All Blacks.’
After the game Director of Rugby Andy Waite was full of praise for his players if somewhat disappointed
‘I really feel for the players who played today, they gave everything with a make shift side and really deserved more from the game.’
‘It’s very frustrating and disappointing for the players, but it’s still early in the season and we are playing well enough to turn these results around.’
‘We got nothing here last year so this is progress and an away bonus point in this league is always valuable, but we know we should have had more.’
‘We just need to keep plugging away and learn to turn our dominance into points and stay calmer when we have possession.’