News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 1st October 2016
Andover 22 Winchester 23
It was a real ding dong derby at the Goodship ground last Saturday, as Oakwood sponsored Andover went down by a single point in a thriller against local rivals Winchester.
In a game that swung one way then the other and then back again, the ‘All Blacks’ have to see this as one that got away on home turf, as the outgunned but resilient visitors clung on to claim the win.
Indeed, Andover were so dominant in the tight it is hard to see how the result went the way it did, but not for the first time a failure to keep possession and over ambition in tight situations once again cost Andover dear.
Even the loss of influential prop James Monck after just two minutes made no difference to the power of Andover as it all began so differently.
A superb piece of work from Jack Stott lead to Michael Roberts collecting a loose ball and running in from twenty meters to score a fine try, converted from wide out by Charlie Waite, to give Andover an early lead.
Winchester were rocked but didn’t panic And we're soon on the board themselves with a penalty.
Then the first key moment of the game occurred when centre Ben Fulton intercepted a pass and raced away only to be pulled back for offside when the incident clearly came from open play.
Instead of Andover scoring a decisive try it was Winchester who narrowed the gap from the resultant kick.
Winchester sensed that Andover were rocked and came at them adding another penalty to take the lead.
Andover responded quickly with Waite succeeding from almost the half way line and then Andover looked to really take the initiative.
A great break from Jake Kane gave Andover a short scrum and the powerful pack drove over for a pushover try dotted down again by Roberts.
With the front row of Carl Sievewright, Nic Reed and skipper Alex Hibdige rampant, it looked like it would be all Andover but a moment of madness saw Andover with a yellow card and Winchester breathed again.
As they pressed with the extra man a desperate defence erred again and a second yellow followed which proved decisive.
Down to thirteen either side of half time Andover succumbed to two tries and Winchester seemed to have gained the upper hand.
Not so however as the ‘All Blacks’ roared back and even with thirteen men won a scrum through Simon Preece deputising at hooker before Stott went close with a scintillating break.
Restored to strength Andover went for it but Winchester dug in and a combination of brave defence and woeful finishing gave them breathing space.
With ten minutes left however the pressure told as Reed struck against the head and the engine room of Tom Erskine and Aaron Hatcher drove the scrum over from fully twenty-five metres with Preece back in the back row, touching down.
Waite was wide with the conversion however and still a point behind Andover threw the kitchen sink at the visitors.
Not for the first time this season however it was not to be a happy last few minutes for Andover as time ran out and Winchester held on.
Afterwards Director of Rugby Andy Waite said ‘It really is so frustrating that we are not closing these games out. We’re playing ok in a general sense but we just need to be calmer in the tight situations and look after the ball better.’
‘We need to realise that when we are so dominant up front with so much possession we cannot afford to be so complacent or wasteful.’
‘We even fell off a few tackles today which is very unlike us so we need to work hard in training and go again away at Leatherhead next week.’