News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 6th October 2018
Andover 18 Old Whitgiftian 15
In another tense encounter, Oakwood sponsored Andover took the spoils at the Goodship ground last Saturday, but once again not before being forced to come from behind.
Andover do not make it easy for themselves at the moment, as despite having the lion’s share of possession they once again spurned chance after chance to put themselves out of sight.
Andover began well, and their forward dominance was soon evident.
Driving the visitors off of their own scrum ball despite playing up the slope, the front row of Nic Reed, skipper Alex Hibdige and James Monck had a field day.
With James Smith and Simon Preece similarly dominating the lineout Andover were in the driving seat.
In the backs the returning Charlie Waite, Ioan Gwynne Davies and Jack Stott all added to the attacking threat and things looked set fair.
A Waite penalty gave Andover an early lead before the visitors replied in kind.
Andover were then slowed for a while when back rower Alistair Dunnon was sin binned but normal service was resumed on his return.
Dominance isn’t points however and as chance after chance went begging Andover turned to the powerful boot of Waite once more.
Against the wind he struck a monster penalty, for three points that would turn out to be pivotal in the game.
Andover continued to attack but just before the break disaster struck.
In a rare foray into the Andover half OW’s showed how dangerous they could be given the chance, to score a neat try and take the lead.
After half time Harrison Pape, also back from injury, took over as stand off and as Andover reorganised OW’s struck again.
With plenty of time on the clock Andover did not panic and soon turned the screw up front again.
Man of the match Conor Green making his first team debut, and second row partner Jack Cooper were everywhere in the loose, providing extra mobility and OW’s began to creak.
After a patient spell of possession Hibdige dived over and Andover were back in touch.
Waite narrowly missed a penalty from the kick off given for back chat by referee Simon Aldridge but as Andover grew in confidence it only looked a matter of time before they went back in front.
And that proved to be the case. The all powerful scrum had a chance from five meters and as the visitors collapsed for the third time, the referee awarded a penalty try.
Soon after Smith thought he’d repeated the dose from another scrum, but the referee ruled he knocked on and OW’s clung on.
Try as they might however they could not come back again and Andover claimed the win.
Afterwards director of rugby Andy Waite was happy with the win but realistic about the performance ‘We had so much possession today especially in the second half and we were so dominant up front that we really should be scoring more’
‘The forwards need to be more controlled when they are near the line and the backs need to recognise space and get the ball wide earlier when the time is right.’
‘ Overall though we played ok and with real spirit and we’ll take the win.’