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Sunday, 14th January 2018

In the return leg of the league, Basepoint sponsored Andover made the trip to the south coast to play Havant in the division 1 tie.

Andover had enjoyed a good spell of training since the Christmas break and were keen to put some of it into practice, however, their hopes were dashed in the first three minutes as Havant capitalised on a mistake and put the ball through the hands to open the scoring. This pattern unfortunately continued for much of the half. Havant backs ran riot at times, often through errors from Andover, and try as they might, Andover just couldn't live with the power and pace on display. Their kicker was also on top form and rarely missed a conversion all day.

Towards the end of the half Andover managed to string a few phases together with several strong forward carries. This then allowed them to move the ball out wide for Gabe Williams to score in the corner in what was easily the best phase of play they have shown all season.

The half time score however told a different tale and at 47 points to 5 it looked like a cricket score might be on the cards.

To their credit, Andover came out all guns blazing and took the game to the home side. The increased pressure eventually told and forced a few errors and ultimately created two tries, one for Tom Wiles and another Alfie Appleton to take his individual tally to five for the season.

Their backs continued to cause problems however, and a smart kicking game from their fly half kept the defence honest and enabled Havant to add three more to their tally too to make the final score 66-15.

Andover should however, take great credit for a much better second half performance and should take confidence into the remaining matches. They had parity in the loose forward play for much of the game, had a totally dominant scrum and when they kept the ball tight, enjoyed success going forward too.

They need to take stock of what works and try to play to their strengths, cut down on the unforced errors by getting the set piece right and I'm sure more points will come their way in the remaining games.

 They look forward to home league games against Basingstoke next Sunday and Alton in a fortnight.


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