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Sunday, 26th March 2017

Under 16 / Colts Integration fixture v Farnborough

As usual during the closing stages of the season, in addition to finishing their own respective leagues and cup competitions, thoughts start to turn to preparations for next season.

On a glorious, special spring day, the Under 16's and current colts attempted to provide enough of a distraction for the mums in the stand to stop drinking fizz to celebrate Mother's Day and instead cheer their offspring on.

Farnborough travelled down the M3 to provide the opposition for this integration fixture. Sponsored by Basepoint and Woodstock Plumbing Andover had a great turnout and fielded 37 players for this fixture which was split into four periods to allow squad rotation and time for reorganisation.

The All Blacks mixed up the two squads in all periods, which in the end proved a little disruptive, but Farnborough, who had less players, managed a bit more continuity which paid dividends in the end.

The home side started well. Defensively Andover were strong, the scrum and lineout functioned well and the players settled in as they got to know each other. Unfortunately the period was very disjointed with lots of scrums and penalties due to inaccuracy at the breakdown and as a result Andover couldn't play their usual high tempo game. The two occasions the ball did find its way down the line, Andover scored a brace of unanswered tries from full back Ioan Gwynne Davies, the second of which was a really well executed backs move the squad had worked on in training. One try was converted by Doug Armes. Farnborough managed one try in reply following strong running and good handling.

The second period saw Andover field a completely different 15. This set of players built on the success of the first period. The scrum continued to be totally dominant and the lineout again functioned well. However, numerous direct, strong carries from the loose forwards took the game to the visitors and eventually this led to to a well deserved try from Jacob Culley-Wilson. This was converted by Harrison Pape making the half time score 19-7.

During periods three and four Andover continued to rotate players to allow everyone to have match time and all played well, however, Farnborough started to get a bit more continuity and confidence and began to turn the screw. Despite a good kicking game, lack of discipline, especially at the breakdown started to cost Andover possession and penalties and eventually this led to two yellow cards. The sin bins straddled both of the final periods and with two extra players Farnborough managed to turn the game on its head scoring three unanswered second half tries, one of which was converted to make the final score 19-24.

Despite the overall loss, there was a lot for Andover to be pleased with and there is undoubtedly a lot of potential and promise from this new crop of players to come as they move towards next season.


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