News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 3rd February 2018
Andover 17 Effingham and Leatherhead 44
Injury and unavailability finally caught up with Oakwood sponsored Andover last weekend as they crashed to an alarming home defeat to fellow relegation battlers Effingham and Leatherhead.
Games between these two sides are normally fairly close affairs, but that was not to be the case this time as Andover were run ragged in a very disappointing first half.
Behind to an early penalty, Andover seemed comfortable enough behind a strong scrum and powerful ball carrying, but poor decision making, compounded by weak tackling soon turned the game on its head.
Effingham could not believe their luck as Andover's generosity handed them the first try and a silly penalty, before an absent blind side defence allowed them to stretch the lead further.
Andover at last responded with a good spell of possession and on the half hour the excellent Tom Waite powered over for his first try converted by Josh Gibbs.
This success showed Andover how they could win this game, but they failed to respond and once again loose play allowed the visitors chances they accepted with ease past a hapless Andover defence.
Well behind at the break Andover hoped for better attacking down the slope but dropped the kick off to hand Effingham a further score.
This proved to be the killer blow, as the Andover forwards finally took control but saw a mountain in front that was jut too big to climb.
Tom Erskine, Billy Pollard and Sam Earle all carried strongly and at every opportunity the powerful scrum led by skipper Alex Hibidge, climbed into the Effingham pack.
Andover finally took the ascendancy and from a short scrum Tom Waite powered over again to reduce arrears.
With tails up Andover sensed they could at least get bonus points from the game and pressed strongly.
Effingham clung on desperately and should have received at least one yellow card after conceding a lot of penalties in defence.
Andover eventually made them pay however, when at a scrum on the visitors line, Dean Andrews struck against the head and Tom Waite completed his hat trick.
Twenty points behind Andover poured forwards but once again decision making and poor execution cost them.
With time running out for the vital fourth try Andover went for broke and with the last play of the game were caught with a sucker punch to give Effingham a comprehensive win.
Afterwards director of rugby Andy Waite said ' This was our worst performance for some time and its a shame because after last weeks heroics we didn't see it coming. They showed us that at this level you need to be organised, accurate and stick to your game plan and I'm afraid we did none of these in the first half.'
'Players need to be more committed and more disciplined in what they are doing, or we are going to be dragged back into the fight for survival which is a shame because we are capable of so much more.'