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Sunday, 22nd October 2017
Wimborne Colts 33 - Andover Colts 26
Basepoint sponsored Andover travelled to Wimborne with the bare bones of a squad; half term holidays taking its toll on availability. Wimborne had similar issues, however, with a full squad of 52 players, they were still able to field 28 for this friendly fixture.
The game was split into three 25 minute periods to give the 16 Andover players an additional break and allow Wimborne opportunity to rotate all their players.
All there periods were very competitive and this was a game that was entertaining throughout. Andover showed real progress from previous fixtures this season and mixed up the usual forward carries with some backs play to produce a good team performance which was nice to see.
Wimborne started the first period strongly, taking the game to the visitors with strong carries. The 'All Blacks' defence was up to the job on many occasions, but indiscretions cost them two penalties, which Wimborne duly kicked. A good handling move from the home side extended their lead to 11-0, before Alfie Appleton reduced the deficit with a typical crash over from short range.
After a nightmare start, which saw Wimborne extend their lead, Andover dominated the second period and spent lots of time in the oppositions territory, but a lack of precision in finishing from close range kept the home sides nose in front. A try from Jack Moffat following a charge down brought the scores closer, before Wimborne restored their advantage with a number 8 pick up. The final points of the period came from Lewis Reed with a typical scrum half's sniping try. Ronan Walker converted both of Andover's tries.
With only four points separating the teams going into the final period, everything was to play for. Wimborne were the first to score again with a lovely break following a well timed run from their centre. Andover again then had lots of territory and a good kicking game kept the Dorset side under further pressure. This eventually told and a good break from John Hair saw him put the ball down under the posts, which Walker duly converted. The game was perfectly poised with just two points separating the teams with five minutes to go. Unfortunately the game became a little disjointed and with the last play of the game Wimborne crashed over to extend their final points tally to seven which the 'All Blacks' didn't really deserve.
This was Andover's best performance of the season and one the whole team should be proud of. They maintained their intensity throughout the match in all aspects of play, played a more expansive game in addition to the usual forward carries and Ronan kicked well in difficult wet and windy conditions.
They welcome Basingstoke to the Goodship ground next weekend as their Hampshire League campaign continues.