News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 1st April 2017
Andover 29 KCS Old Boys 5
Oakwood sponsored Andover ensured the relegation battle in London South West two goes to a final day shoot out, with a superb performance against a strong KCS Old Boys outfit last Saturday.
It’s now a three way ‘do or die’ battle between Andover, Effingham and Leatherhead and Portsmouth for the final place in the drop zone and with all three having tough looking away games, it promises to be a real nail biter.
Andover have dragged Portsmouth back to within three points and they must go to high flying Camberley, whilst Andover visit fourth placed Reigatian and Effingham go to KCS.
‘The permutations are many, but Effingham’s recent form probably makes them favorites to win, so we must do at least as well as them and or hope Portsmouth lose’ said Director of Rugby Andy Waite.
‘Our recent improvement should give us real confidence we can do it and one thing is for sure, this group of lads will certainly fight all the way.’
And fight all the way is exactly what they did in this one, as a very committed KCS came at them for large parts of this game.
Playing up the slope in the first half Andover started strongly retaining possession well and defending stoutly.
The powerful Andover pack with James Monck and Tom Waite in uncompromising mood, took the game to KCS everywhere.
As the visitors tried to regroup Kieran Jenvey broke free and after great work from Jonny Rogers and Tom Erskine, Ioan Gwynne Davies finished superbly.
Rich Retallick converted and before long extended the lead with a well struck penalty after the Andover scrum demolished their opponents.
Andover poured forwards and KCS received a yellow card for continual offending, but from the resultant penalty Retallick rattled the post and the visitors survived.
KCS came back with a good attack themselves and when Ben Fulton was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on, they took full advantage with a try right on half time.
After the break KCS continued to press hard, but superb defensive turnovers from Simon Preece and Charlie Waite kept them at bay.
Matt Moore had put in a huge shift and was replaced by young flanker Fin Waite whose impact was immediate.
His extra mobility caused two big errors from KCS and with Fulton now restored the Andover back line began to make inroads.
Niko Rowe and Charlie Waite both made scintillating breaks to gain good field position and from a series of scrums, Andover finally got a pushover try to pull clear, with Preece touching down and Retallick converting.
Sensing that KCS were reeling Andover went for the throat.
The Andover front five were almost running forwards in the scrums and it wasn’t long before from another pushover Jenvey touched down with Retallick again converting.
Andover needed the bonus point and went for broke.
They threw everything at a tiring KCS who defended bravely, but eventually they had to break.
Ollie Lindridge rose at the lineout and Luke Linssner drove for the line.
He was held, but after a series of attempts to force the score, Fin Waite set the ball up superbly and Nic Reed powered over for the all-important fith point try.
The referee blew for time to the cheers of the big home crowd and Andover lived to fight on the final day.
Afterwards director of rugby Andy Waite said ‘I take my hat off to these lads. We looked dead and buried five weeks ago, but we had an honest reappraisal, changed what we were doing and now we at least have given ourselves a real chance.’
‘Our youngsters and club stalwarts like Harry Foxwell have performed incredibly to get us to this stage. Huge credit as well should go to our skipper Alex Hibdige who was rightly and proudly awarded the ‘supporters player of the year award’ after the game.’