News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 10th December 2016
KCS Old Boys 24 Andover 14
A performance of power and passion from a makeshift Andover almost stole the spoils from high flying KCS in London last weekend.
Indeed, shorn of many of their stars through injury and unavailability, Oakwood sponsored Andover travelled with just fifteen players and had to rely on club stalwart Harry Foxwell dashing from Oxford to have anyone on the bench.
Against a side who have been scoring for fun all season, it looked ominous for the ‘All Blacks’
But the thrown together side that took the field had other ideas and produced a performance of such commitment and ferocity, that only a last gasp try from the home side, as Andover were pressing for the win themselves, prevented a shock of major proportions.
With a huge pack and very inexperienced back line Andover changed their game plan to keep the game tight and try and contain KCS.
As the game wore on however, it became clear to Andover that far from contain the home side they could really threaten them, as the young back line also showed they had not turned up to be bullied.
From the start the Andover forwards dominated the scrums and after just eight minutes the front five struck the first blow, as a penalty try was awarded with Charlie Waite converting.
KCS began to find their feet and despite superb defence from Luke Linssner and Dave Catt, they scored a neat try themselves and then took the lead with a penalty.
In front, they began to attack with pace but any idea that they would have it all their own way was soon expelled.
Academy product Jack Buckley making his debut at full back joined 17-year-old man of the match Finlay Waite in forgetting the script, as time and again the pacey home backs were sat down and frustrated.
Superbly marshalled by an ever-improving Jack Stott and Charlie Waite, no veterans themselves, the two youngsters tackled and fielded everything KCS could muster as the half wore on.
Indeed, it was Andover who spurned the best chances to retake the lead as they finished the half strongly.
KCS struck a penalty early in the second half but again Andover came at them.
Tom Erskine and Carl Sievewright drove their team forwards as skipper Alex Hibdige stuck to the game plan superbly.
The back row of Simon Preece, Aaron Hatcher and Ben Ciccotti were outstanding carrying the ball, as Andover began to look the more likely to go on and win.
From a break however KCS were awarded another penalty, as Andover lost the excellent Kieran Jenvey to a yellow.
Andover held with a man short however and fully restored returned to the attack pressing the home side time and again.
Then disaster struck as KCS broke to score from a turnover and it finally looked as though the Andover resistance had been broken.
Once again though no one told them and forward they came.
From a catch and drive the inspirational Tom Waite, playing with a bad foot injury, fed brother Charlie who chipped through and outsprinted the cover to score a fantastic try, to put Andover back in the points.
With moments to go it was looking good but, KCS won the ball and with the last play of the game broke Andover hearts with a final try to take away a hard-earned bonus.
After the game, Director of rugby Andy Waite could not praise his team enough ‘I felt so sorry for the boys, they are so down after losing out right at the end there, but they shouldn’t be.’
They have just put in one of the best and bravest performance’s I’ve seen from any Andover side and I take my hat off to them. The senior players controlled the game brilliantly and the youngsters responded and played their hearts out.
‘A bit of naivety is all that cost us a point in the end and since it was that same youthful exuberance that put us in the hunt, I could hardly complain.’