News from the 2nd-XV
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Saturday, 28th October 2017
Andover 2nd XV vs Portsmouth 2nd XV
Andover Hinds and Portsmouth are known for a having big dominating packs so it was guaranteed to be a physical outing at the Goodship last Saturday, but luckily that is exactly how the Hinds like it.
From the start it was obvious that this was not going to be a high scoring game with two well matched teams, but Andover looked the more dangerous in attack despite some unforced errors.
Andover had much of the pressure in the first half but seemed unable to turn this pressure into points as Pompey managed to keep their heads when pinned in their own 22 for long periods.
Andover had the measure of the Portsmouth scrum at the start and while the advantage lessened as the game went on, it was enough to score the first try. Number 8 Matt Moore and scrum half Callum Farr created a gap on the blind side for winger David Catt to score in the corner.
Andover went down to 14 men when Karl Atherton was given a yellow card for a third team high tackle.
It was a measure of how physical the game was that there were a number of injuries, mostly on the Portsmouth side, but including Andover centre James Byrne.
Pompey were aggressively committing men to the breakdown but Andover continued to steal their ball, especially through flanker Giacomo Taglietti.
Portsmouth are not in the top four for nothing though and after a period of pressure they managed to score and level the game shortly before the end of the half.
Into the second half and the game continued much in the same mould. In frustration Portsmouth began to be over aggressive in the breakdown, but the Hinds were not interested in getting involved and stayed disciplined.
It looked like Andover would take the lead when David Catt cut an amazing line through the Portsmouth backs and found himself in space, but Portsmouth managed to isolate him from his support and bundle him into touch.
Portsmouth rallied and found a weakness in the tired Andover defence to take the lead and It then came down to how much Andover wanted the win.
Things were then made even harder when Matt Moore was handed a yellow when his shoulder made contact with a falling Portsmouth player’s head.
With 10 minutes left Carl Sievewright replaced Harry Phillips, who had performed impressively in his first game at prop. The big man made an immediate impact in defence.
With two minutes to go Andover created a final chance as Josh Gibbs kicked a penalty superbly to the corner for a line out.
There was only one option; Giant prop Sievewright took the ball short and powered for the corner. Portsmouth moved to stop him and left hooker Nick Richardson open for the score after a cheeky pop. Andover had levelled against the odds and happily put the kick off into touch to take the draw.
The Hinds continue to improve week on week and are gelling into cohesive team able to take on the best in this league. Even with the loss of a couple of key players there is the depth and experience in the squad to match the toughest opponents in this league.