News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 7th January 2017
Portsmouth 46 Andover 8
The Christmas break did nothing to change the fortunes of Oakwood sponsored Andover as a poor second half saw them well beaten away to Hampshire rivals Portsmouth last weekend.
Relegation is now becoming a realistic prospect for the ‘All Blacks’ as an error strewn performance saw them virtually hand the points to a Portsmouth side, who are now pushing away from the drop zone themselves.
In truth this game should at least have been a lot closer, as individually the teams were well matched, but as Andover’s over ambition constantly handed Portsmouth possession, the home side stuck carefully to their game plan and gradually gained full control.
The game began badly for Andover as three defensive howlers handed the hosts two tries and a penalty in the first quarter to take a 15-0 lead.
Andover to their credit forced their way back into the game with Tom Erskine and Jack Stott both going close and for the remainder of the half Andover hammered the Portsmouth defence.
Portsmouth defended manfully but had no answer when the excellent Tom Waite drove over from a neat lineout to score after constant pressure.
Andover then squandered several guilt edged chances with some poor attacking options, until just before the break a scrum penalty gave Charlie Waite the chance to pull within a score.
Andover believed they were in with a real chance, but soon after half time another charged down kick and a yellow card for Ben Ciccotti gifted Portsmouth the advantage.
Andover’s woes continued as down to fourteen men a further converted try was conceded, before two more scores from a dropped pass and an interception were handed to the home side, even when the sides were back to even numbers.
At the death Portsmouth rubbed salt into the wound with a final effort from a lineout, to complete a miserable afternoon for Andover.
Afterwards director of rugby Andy Waite gave an honest appraisal. ‘There is no such thing as a team that is too good to go down and I’m afraid some of our players have to wake up to the fact that we need to now fight to stay in this league.’
‘Some of what we did today lacked discipline or structure and that was the difference between the sides.’
‘It looked at times like we were playing sevens on a beach. You have to earn the right to play champagne rugby and we didn’t earn it’
‘We had a heart to heart afterwards and it helped clear the air, but from now on we have to work harder in training and stick to our game plan if we are to get out of this.’
‘We still have plenty of games we can win, but we need to start by at least improving our own performances.’