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Sunday, 2nd April 2017

Tier 2 semi final

Andover 17 - Totts 10

A gorgeous spring day greeted the Basepoint sponsored colts at the Goodship ground as they hosted Totts for the Hampshire Tier Two semi final play off match.

The squad started the day in jubilant mood after they were presented the League Two trophy by Gary Self from Hampshire RFU. A few photos under the posts followed the presentation and then it was back to the rather long warm up due to the referee being stuck in traffic.

Eventually proceedings started about fifteen minutes late and the 'All Blacks' set about the task of undoing their League One rivals. Totts had proved to be a thorn in Andover's side for the past two seasons, but Andover were in no mood to lie down without a fight. In fact the home side started really well, taking the game to the visitors and the early exchanges were certainly in Andover's favour. Aggression at the breakdown and strong carries from Jack Cooper, Callum Smith, Jake Dixon and James Reeder gave the home side a good platform to work from and they spent most of the early exchanges in the visitors half. The scrum was dominant, the lineout was functioning well and the forwards were disrupting Totts throw ins too. This pressure eventually led to a breakthrough. A well executed backs move following an Andover lineout saw Gabe Williams add to his seasons tally with a well deserved score in the corner.

Andover extended their lead shortly afterwards following another lineout, this time with a catch and drive. Finlay Waite emerged from the pile up of bodies with the ball and the referee signalled another try.

Totts came back strongly and enjoyed some pressure in the home sides 22, but Gabe Williams intercepted a wayward pass and ran the length of the field to score his second of the day. JJ Thomas converted.

Any thoughts of an easy afternoon were quickly snubbed out when Totts picked a good line through the middle with a strong run and finished in style with a well executed final pass to score under the posts. The conversion was also good to make the half time score 17-7.

Andover made hard work of the second half. Numerous penalties led to three points being eroded from the score line and further infringements eventually saw the referee lose patience and award a yellow card for a high tackle. This was compounded a couple of minutes later with a second yellow card for not rolling away and for a five minute spell Andover were down to 13.

They weathered the storm though and once they were back up to full strength they turned the screw to finish the match strongly. Two good kicks through with a good chase kept Totts pegged back for the final few minutes and Andover were unlucky not to score a fourth, due to a marginal forward pass.

This was a match that could have gone either way, but Andover ultimately deserved their victory in the end and put in a very good performance.

As a result they can now look forward to the final next week v either Tadley or Havant with confidence prior to a well earned Easter Break.


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