News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 11th February 2017
Old Tonbridgians 35 Andover 8
It was another frustrating away day for Oakwood sponsored Andover as West London side Old Tonbridgians proved too strong for the depleted visitors.
The blow of defeat was doubled after the final whistle for Andover, as they discovered nearest relegation rivals Effingham and Leatherhead had scored a surprise win away at Winchester to narrow the gap to just four points.
In truth Andover, who travelled with just one player on the bench and two carrying knocks before the game, got what they deserved, as in the second half they simply ran out of steam and ideas against a home side that were themselves out of sorts.
The game began well for Andover with early forward dominance leading to good field position before a penalty gave the home side a narrow advantage.
Great play by Ollie Lindridge soon gave Charlie Waite the chance to draw the teams level with a penalty.
Heartened by this Andover poured forwards with Nic Reed and Simon Preece carrying strongly and camped on the OT’s line.
Man of the match Tom Waite went close, as did Jake Kane and when on the half hour OT’s suffered a yellow card it looked promising for Andover.
What followed however was not pretty, as Andover imploded defensively and OT’s couldn’t believe their luck.
From a speculative attack Andover fumbled behind their line gifting OT’s a try from nothing and soon after, from a promising attack by Andover, OT’s stole possession and raced the length of the field to score again for a 15-3 half time lead.
Andover lost Dave Catt to a rib injury, forcing promising young backrow Fin Waite out to the wing, as Sam Earle came into the pack.
After the break Andover still had hopes of a comeback, but almost immediately lack of a bench and players out of position came to haunt them.
OT’s took control of the disorganisation and ran in four second half tries as Andover struggled to keep fifteen on the pitch, with both Carl Sievewright and Ioan Gwynne Davies walking wounded.
Andover fought bravely however, with Skipper Alex Hibdige leading a number of attacks and after several spells of pressure they eventually got some reward.
After great carries from Luke Linssner and Charlie Waite, Jake Kane cleverly chipped through and won the race to his own kick ahead to score.
After the game Director of Rugby Andy Waite said. ‘Unfortunately our list of injuries was the worst it’s been this week and despite a brave effort from the lads who did play, we just didn’t have enough coming off the bench to stay in it.’
‘We have to be positive that we played well for half an hour and we know we will be welcoming some players back from next week, which will hopefully make a difference.’
‘Effingham were never going to give up without a fight because like us they are a proud club and they have closed the gap, but we are still in the driving seat with a four point gap and winnable games to come.’
This week Andover host league leaders London Cornish. It doesn’t get any easier.