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Sunday, 28th January 2018

Having had a week off due to a cancellation v Basingstoke last week, Basepoint sponsored Andover were looking forward to their return fixture against Alton, but with many players unavailable they were down to the bare bones of a squad.

Despite a good start by the All Blacks in the first ten minutes, any hopes of a change in fortunes were quickly brushed aside as Alton capitalised on the home sides unforced errors to open the scoring.

At times, Andover showed glimpses of what they can do in attack and more carries from runners close to the breakdown caused the visitors problems. The scrum again functioned really well and was dominant all day, even pinching a few against the head, but ultimately misplaced kicks, a lack of cohesion in the defensive chase line which caused doglegs, missed tackles and unforced errors allowed Alton to counter and score 26 points before the break.

Andover did manage a score of their own, when the ball was moved through the hands to left wing Gabe Williams, who made a good break and almost made it to the line, however, when he was finally brought down just short of the line, Alex Arter was on hand on the inside shoulder to receive a great offload to finish off a rare flowing move.

The second half, unfortunately saw more of the same. Unforced errors from Andover gifted possession to Alton and their runners caused havoc at times, capitalising on numerous missed tackles, scoring another four tries to make the final score 50-5.

To their credit, as usual, Andover never gave up and their second half performance was a definite improvement. Austin Doherty, Lewis Reed and Harry Scobie tackled well, Alfie Appleton, Tommy O'Brien, JD and John Hair offered themselves as willing runners and James Wallace made a good debut at full back, taking the high ball well and showing positional awareness.

Despite the positives on show from the home side, ultimately the result suggests another uncomfortable day at the office for Andover and another game to put down to experience.


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