News from the 1st-XV

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Saturday, 21st October 2017

Effingham and Leatherhead 25 Andover 27

In a hard-fought game made even more difficult by the strong winds of Storm Brian, Oakwood sponsored Andover ground out a second away win of the season at Effingham and Leatherhead, gaining a try bonus point to boot.

In a tense affair Andover had to fight their way back from a 13-point deficit and survive a late scare from the home side, to secure a victory that looked improbable five minutes before half time.

‘The All Blacks’ started the game strongly against a howling wind and used their powerful pack to drive upfield and put real pressure on the home side.    

After a series of fantastic scrums, young winger Jack Potter forced a defensive error with huge hit on his opposite number and from the resulting five-meter scrum, Simon Preece dotted down as Andover drove over the line.

The game then became a to and fro affair as Andover Attacked and Effingham kicked long with the wind to relieve the pressure.

The home side reduced the deficit with a long-range penalty and then took the lead after a spell of pressure with a try.

Andover continued to press with Charlie Waite, Potter and Jack Stott countering well from deep and despite another Effingham penalty looked most likely to score.

Then came a controversial moment that almost turned the game.

Influential flanker Tom Waite was shown yellow for a late tackle after some theatrics from the Effingham player and soon after the home side took advantage with a further try.

Andover rallied though and even with seven forwards still dominated scrum and lineout.

Tom Erskine, Billy Pollard and skipper Alex Hibidge drove their team forwards and a fired-up Ollie Lindridge began to put himself about in the loose.   

No more damage was done and with Tom Waite restored five minutes before half time Andover went for the hosts.

The impressive Niko Rowe and Evan Roll ran hard in midfield creating good field position and from a resulting penalty Charlie Waite’s superb touch kick against the wind gave Andover a lineout on five meters. 

Andover caught and drove and as the ball came from the ruck, Andover’s go-to ball carrier Nic Reed, crashed over for a try well converted by Charlie Waite.

After half time with the wind at their backs Andover were relentless.  

The hard working Preece again touched down from a pushover, in which prop James Monck almost carried his opponent over the line, with Waite converting.

Soon after a wonderful break from Jonny Rogers fed Kieran Jenvey and the in-form scrum half needed no second bidding to sprint away and give Andover the bonus point try.

Andover continued to press and when Effingham offended Charlie Waite punished them with a long-range penalty which was to prove crucial. 

Although Andover were still well on top they became wasteful and the home side gained heart.

Talented youngster Ioan Gwynne Davies and giant prop Carl Sievewright entered the fray and both helped halt the home sides resurgence, but with moments to go the game almost turned on its head.

From looking comfortable Andover suddenly creaked as the home side pressed and with minutes to go they forced their way over for a converted try.

Andover didn’t panic however and kept the ball well.

With one last chance Effingham pressed, but the Andover defence held well and when Potter made another fine tackle out wide the ball went into touch and Andover had a precious win. 

Afterwards director of rugby Andy Waite said ‘We’ve not won here since we were promoted back to this division and this was a game that Effingham had clearly targeted as must win, but we withstood their pressure well.’

‘We were far more mature in our decision making and saw this game out where perhaps we wouldn’t have two years ago and that is a measure of our progress.’

‘We are still learning our game plan is still developing but overall we have had an incredibly tough start with four long away games and Camberley at home out of six matches, so three wins is a very good return and I am very proud of the squad and what they are trying to achieve.’


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