News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 26th November 2016
Andover 58 Warlingham 6
It was a return to winning ways and not before time for Oakwood sponsored Andover as they moved clear of the relegation zone with a thumping victory over bottom club Warlingham.
Eighteen-year old flanker Ben Ciccotti stole the show with a splendid hat trick of tries as the latest excellent academy product to roll off the production line.
The plucky visitors arrived knowing victory would put them back in the hunt to stay up themselves, but were unfortunate to find an Andover side close to full strength and in no mood to give them anything.
From the kick off Andover showed their intent when Tom Waite fielded the high ball superbly to give brother Charlie an easy penalty shot for an early lead.
Warlingham however looked a much improved outfit themselves and soon gave warning they would not lie down easily with a penalty of their own.
Andover stuttered nervously for ten minutes before Charlie Waite, showing his versatility at centre, made a fine break, allowing Jake Kane and the hard working Tom Erskine to put Dave Catt in at the corner.
The visitors rallied and were awarded a further penalty of their own, but the power of the Andover forwards and pace of an impressive back line was starting to tell.
With Jake Kane pulling the strings in midfield Andover began waves of attacks and when skipper Alex Hibidge broke free, Kane fed the excellent Ben Fulton and the centre finished neatly with Charlie Waite adding a fine conversion from wide out.
Andover suddenly went up a gear and from a deep kick Catt and Josh Gibbs interplayed superbly from their own twenty two before Gibbs finished neatly.
Minutes later and a quick penalty saw a series of rucks, from which second row Luke Linssner crashed over, with Waite again converting to give Andover the try bonus point before the break.
The second half began badly for Andover with Fulton seeing yellow for dangerous play, but for once it didn’t rattle the All Blacks who easily soaked up a bit of pressure, before a series of short scrums allowed Kane the space to dance over for a try.
With Fulton restored Andover went for the throat and attacked from everywhere.
Man of the match Ciccotti grabbed his first try from his own charge down as Andover turned the screw on their opponents.
Ten minutes later Jack Stott finished superbly from a set scrum move with Waite converting.
Ciccotti’s pace was by now wreaking havoc with the tiring Warlingham pack and before long Tom Waite’s deft pass sent him racing for the line again with Charlie Waite converting.
Andover were by now camped on the visitors line and after a couple of close calls, from a short scrum Ciccotti once again spotted space to dash over for the final try again converted by Waite.
Warlingham to their credit came at Andover for the last few minutes, but even then Andover defended excellently and almost had then last laugh, but referee Simon Aldridge judged Aaron Hatcher had knocked on and blew time on a very good Andover performance.
After the game Director of Rugby Andy Waite said ‘I thought the ref let the game flow today and we played well and looked a much more balanced side. Although struggling, Warlingham were by no means a push over and we had to work hard for this much needed win.’
‘Dave Catt and Josh Gibbs both showed they have improved tremendously this year it was great to have Kieran Jenvey and Jake Kane back in the half back spots. The challenge for us now is to get greater consistency away from home.’