News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 29th September 2018
Trojans 36 Andover 29
It was a case of deja vous for Oakwood sponsored Andover, as not for the first time this season they enjoyed the lions share of possession, scored a number of good tries but still lost narrowly in a game they probably should have won.
It was not all doom and gloom though, as Andover secured two bonus points playing some thrilling rugby at times and with new signing James Smith grabbing a hat trick of tries the green shoots of recovery were there for all to see.
Andover begun the game badly conceding to an early quick penalty and after just fifteen minutes an interception try, when Andover seemed set to score themselves, looked to have put the home side in control at 14-0.
Andover quickly rallied and through their powerful forwards made big inroads into Trojans defence. From a scrum Smith fed Callum Farr and after Andover were held up on the line Smith finished the resulting five meter scrum to put Andover back in it with a conversion from Rich Rettalick.
Three minutes later Andover scored the try of the game.
A kick ahead from Josh Gibbs was brilliantly chased by debutante centre James Hardiman and as the ball came to Smith he set off on a breathtaking run to the corner to score.
Andover however not for the first time this season visibly relaxed after closing the gap and Trojans profited from their generosity to score again to lead 21-12 at the break.
After half time Andover tore into the Trojans defence. Tom Waite and Nic Reed carried hard and after a catch and drive in the corner was held up, James Monck went over for a lovely try converted by Rettalick.
Then the self destruction button was pushed, as Andover failed to deal with the resultant kick off, Smith was yellow carded for a high tackle and Trojans took advantage to score on the counter.
Smith returned but soon after it was Waite's turn to see yellow and after slotting the resulting penalty Trojans scored twice more to seemingly put themselves out of sight.
Andover were having none of it however and soon had the home side under heaps of pressure.
Harry Phillips and Flanker Alistair Dunnon were everywhere and when another debutante Tyler Gabriel's sheer pace on the wing had Trojans side reeling, Andover camped in their twenty two.
Trojans were forced to conceded a yellow themselves and from a short scrum Smith completed his hat trick and crucially Rettalick converted to give Andover a sniff with a minute to go.
Waite stormed back upfield, set up good possession as Andover kept the ball well a penalty for a high tackle gave them the break they needed.
Retallick stroked the ball over and with the last kick of the game Andover had their second point.
Afterwards Director of rugby Andy Waite said ' It was big day for the club all round and we made the decision to not have a bench for the firsts and seconds so that the thirds could also play and although it may have cost us a little to do so the lads really stepped up to the plate to make it work.
I cannot thank the likes of James Hardiman, Tyler and Jack cooper enough for the spirit they've shown alongside the others today and I think going forward, if we can cut out silly errors, victories are not far away.'