News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 24th March 2018
Andover 13 Twickenham 50
Despite an improved performance for much of this game, Oakwood sponsored Andover once again were well beaten at home and are now firmly in the relegation zone of London South West Two.
In the end the high flying visitors had too much fire power for a brave home side, who ran out of steam in the final quarter.
Andover must now win at least one of their final two games to have a realistic chance of survival and on their current form that looks a tall order.
Playing down the slope in the first half Andover began well, but after just five minutes generous defending at a ruck gifted Twickenham the opening score.
Behind their dominant scrum Andover did not panic and soon had the visitors under pressure with Nic Reed and Tom Waite and Sam Earle carrying strongly.
Andover's backs looked more threatening of late with Charlie Waite and Evan Roll linking well and before long Rich Retallick struck a penalty to give Andover their first points.
Andover continued to threaten and on twenty minutes Roll intercepted and broke strongly to feed Ioan Gwynne Davies.
As the young stand off went for the line he was hauled down, but from the ruck stand in skipper Tom Erskine drove powerfully over for the try to give Andover the lead.
Even as they took the lead though Andover's current run of bad luck struck again, as in the build up young flanker Fin Waite, who had been playing superbly, suffered a season ending knee injury.
Andover continued to press and almost scored again as Ross Kier chased a long kick superbly, but soon after the self destruct button was once again pushed as Alex Arter was yellow carded for dangerous play.
Twickenham needed no second bidding and with the extra man tore into Andover to score their second try.
Then came five minutes that Andover will point to that could have changed things. Firstly Twickenham scored again from a penalty given for wheeling a scrum when Andover had already won the ball and were dominating.
Then moments later Andover felt they had scored themselves, but the referee decided he could not see the ball on the line and the visitors kept their lead.
After the break Andover again began well and with Billy Pollard making inroads things looked promising.
Inexplicably however Andover kicked away good possession several times and so it was fifteen minutes before their dominance finally told.
From a scrum penalty fully twenty meters out the Andover pack drove Twickenham backwards and as they disintigrated Simon Preece celebrated his return from long term injury with the touch down.
Back in touch and so dominant up front Andover should have had their tales up, but it was almost as though they collectively relaxed and Twickenham made them pay and some.
Almost immediately Andover conceded again and then came a horror show as a series of dropped passes, lost lineouts and missed tackles, virtually handed the visitors the game as a tiring Andover collapsed.
After the game Director of Rugby Andy Waite said ' Can't fault the effort of the lads and for sixty minutes it was anyone's game. I'm very concerned about the way we collapsed in the last quarter though. I think it's a mixture of lack of fitness and tired minds as the pressure keeps building, the belief goes. We've just got to keep fighting and do everything we can to survive.'