News from the 2nd-XV
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Saturday, 5th November 2016
Andover 2’s 17 – 5 Portsmouth 2’s
Andover 2’s welcomed Portsmouth to the Goodship Ground for their second home game of the season. Still pained by last weekends result, Andover were keen to bounce back and give the home supports some great Rugby.
A much changed Andover team saw both Craig Allen and Josh Gibbs on 1st team duties, but did see the welcome return of Jack Buckley and some quality players “on loan” from the third team.
The game kicked off with Harry Foxwell taking the captains armband, and in typical fashion, Andover were slow to start as the powerful Portsmouth forwards traded blows and tried to take control of the game. Both teams looked equally matched throughout the first 30mins with the only chance at points being that of Portsmouth, but the penalty kick went wide and Andover were let off.
Sticking to the game plan Andover pushed hard towards to Portsmouth try line and the resulting maul saw Matt Moore break from the back to crash over the Portsmouth line, only to be held up. Next came an Andover scrum and the “big man” was at it again, but desperate defending from the Portsmouth players saw him held up for the second time.
Clearly proving they were not going to be out muscled, Portsmouth returned the assault and were soon parked in the Andover 22. Andover gained possession and as the ball made its way to Paul Gilbert, a miss pass saw Marcus Mercer light up the field as he out sprinted the whole of the Portsmouth team to get Andover’s first just before half time.
With only 5points on the board and 40minutes played this game was really on a knife-edge until a well timed pass from Jack Buckley saw Marcus Mercer cut the line of the game, beat three defenders and score under the posts for his second of the game.
Tails up Andover could smell victory but Portsmouth had other ideas, a well struck kick saw them again on the attack and hungry for a try, Andover now had to put bodies on the line and as Portsmouth went for the corner it was only pure luck that a Andover hand stopped the ball being grounded. Unfazed by this Portsmouth retained the ball, pushed it out wide and claimed a well-deserved try.
Realising the job was not done nor was this game won, Andover again made roads into the Portsmouth defence, Matt Moore, who throughout the game was outstanding, made a break for the try line with Harry Ward hot on his feels but the Portsmouth defence stood strong, the ball was lost and a penalty awarded to the visitors. Opting for the kick, Portsmouth kicked for touch only for it to fall short into the arms of Jack Lucker who carved up the defence then released Marcus Mercer for this third of the game, completing this Hat trick and Andover’s third win of the season.
Man of the Match went to Marcus Mercer