News from the Under 16s

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Sunday, 13th March 2016

"The Adept Power Solutions sponsored Andover U13's welcomed Basingstoke on Sunday 13th March, to the Goodship ground, for the Hampshire County Plate final. A strong start by the team saw some dominant play by the forwards, winning good quick ball in the loose, and allowing the backs the time and space to move the ball out to their wingers Leo Lee and Louis Pereira who were able to test the Basingstoke defences out wide. Some good covering defence by Basingstoke restricted the scoring opportunities, however they could not stem the tide for long and Leo Lee soon went over in the corner. Another backs move involving Sam Harding breaking into the line from full back,soon brought Andovers second try. 

By now Basingstokes forwards were beginning to dominate play, both in the tight and the loose. The Andover forwards were now being severely tested around the fringes, and were having to make far more tackles than the opposition, and were also giving away too many penalties for infringements at the breakdown. This was the most severe test that the forwards have faced all season. However, they dug deep and managed to stick to the task in hand, with prop Caden Ash playing a pivotal role in ensuring Basingstoke did not get a score. Mention must be given to scrum half Seb Norris, who often had to act as an additional forward, in making tackles against much bigger and stronger players. Supported by fellow forwards Bruno Matley, Ben Compton, Will Ward, Harrison Walls and Mikey Summerfield, they somehow managed to keep the superior Basingstoke pack at bay, enabling to set up a break away try for Sam Harding, against the run of play. 15-0 to Andover at half time.

The forward battle was taking its toll and changes were made at half time with Joe Western coming on as wing and Louis Pereira switching to scrum half, to try and combat the strength of the opposition forwards. An injury in the second row meant a move around in the pack and Jo Taylor coming on as hooker. Basingstoke continued as they had left the second half, dominating up front, and they were justly rewarded with a try after winning good second phase ball and moving the ball out to their right wing.

Another injury in the forwards, saw Billy Batson come on and add some steel to the forward effort, and the fresh legs of Elliott Byrne came on for Caden Ash, who had run himself to a standstill. The forwards began to get back on even terms with Basingstoke, but it was hard going.

In the backs, the central midfield was being orchestrated well by fly half and captain Tom Edmunds, with both centres James Hayes and Jack Mackenzie making probing line breaks, and tackling everything that Basingstoke could throw at them.

One more forward injury, meant that Andover were a second row short, until Henry Smith bravely put his hand up to volunteer. With 4 of the pack playing in unfamiliar positions, they rallied as Basingstoke tired, and began to win some decent ball. The introduction of James Crossley on the wing added some more pace and direct running, and towards the end of the half, some great backs moves were rewarded with a try for Joe Western and a third for Sam Harding.

The 25-5 scoreline is flattering to Andover, who were made to work for every yard they made. Indeed Basingstoke had the majority of the possession, deserved more scores out of the match and caused Andover some real problems throughout the game.

A great game of rugby played by both teams, and fitting for a County final."  


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