News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 9th December 2017
Andover 10 KCS OB 17
A much improved performance from Oakwood sponsored Andover was still not enough to give them an elusive win at the Goodship ground last Saturday.
Andover had fourth placed visitors KCS on the rack for much of this game, but just could not provide the knock out blow and in the end had to settle for a losing bonus point.
Andover welcomed back James Monck from work duties and Jack Potter, Josh Middleton, Fin Waite and long term absentee Ben Ciccotti from injury, but were rocked by a midweek injury to Charlie Waite which may leave him sidelined for several weeks.
Playing up the slope Andover began well and it was obvious they were up for the fight with some strong early carrying and some powerful scrums.
KCS missed a penalty but that really was the only scare in the first quarter for a much more solid Andover defence.
After twenty minutes Andover did themselves no favours, when centre Evan Roll was yellow carded, but the powerful forwards drove the visitors off of a five meter attacking scrum and the danger passed.
Andover kept possession well and even a man down dominated the game. Four minutes later numbers were evened by the referee Simon Aldridge after a dangerous tackle and Rich Retallick finally opened the scoring from the resulting penalty.
A further yellow for each team did nothing to help the flow of the game, but despite constant possession Andover could not add to the score.
With both sides restored to full strength Andover pressed repeatedly and with Tom Erskine and Alex Hibidge carrying strongly camped on the visitors line.
A mixture of brave defence and some poor finishing from Andover however kept the score at just 3-0 at the break.
Playing down the slope Andover were full of hope in the second half, but went to sleep from the kick off.
They were soon punished for their slumber as KCS had a try disallowed for crossing, before drawing level with a ruck penalty.
Andover did not heed the warning and soon after conceded a soft converted try.
Worse followed as KCS sprinted over unopposed from a lineout and Andover looked sunk.
Andover rang the changes bringing Ciccotti into the fray and his extra energy soon made an impact as Andover began winning ball in the loose.
Finlay Waite replaced the hard working Billy Pollard to add even more pace to the back row and Andover suddenly changed gear.
Andover pressed hard and went through the phases and after a series of strong carries, Nic Reed powered over for a trademark try well converted by Retallick.
Andover smelt blood and pressed hard, but once again decisions in attack cost them dear.
Prop Carl Sievewright added huge power to the scrum, but inexplicably Andover chose to run a penalty on the twenty two when a scrum was the obvious choice and the chance was gone.
As time ticked down a third yellow card, this time for the impressive Erskine, gave Andover a mountain to climb to get level and with the last play, Hibidge sensibly chose to take the bonus point as at least some reward.
After the game Director of Rugby Andy Waite said ‘We were much better today but we are still killing ourselves by panicking when we are in good positions.’
‘We must be more patient and individuals need to stop thinking they can win games on their own if we are to progress further.’
‘Our systems and game plan are working, its just execution that must improve. The signs are there and I’m confident that despite the frustrations if we stick together we’ll be fine.’