News from the Under 17s
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Sunday, 7th March 2010
Andover 20 Portsmouth 17
Newcotech sponsored Andover U17’s welcomed Portsmouth RFC to a sun blessed Hants County Plate final at the Goodship ground on Sunday. The home side elected to play against both the slope and blustery wind in the first half. A strong Portsmouth side soon put Andover under pressure, pinning them deep in their own half. For the next 20 minutes, Andover defended well and stopped Portsmouth just short of their try line several times.
Through their strong defence, Andover’s confidence started to build and they battled their way back up the slope. A blood injury to scrumhalf Thomas Redshaw forced a change in Andover’s line-up, which the coaches also used for a tactical change, a quick ball from the resultant scrum saw Callum Staff dodge through Portsmouth’s defence to dive over for 5 well earned points.
Despite locks Harry Coughlan and forwards ‘Man of the Match’ Elliot Copestake’s strong tackling, Portsmouth managed to squeeze over in the corner for a try on half time levelling the score.5-5.
Following a change of ends, Andover used the slope and wind well in the second half forcing Portsmouth deep into their own half, with some great forward surges and ball carrying from Marc Chillek, which saw Rob Golding pick up from a metre out and collapse over the line for a try. Elliot Copestake added the conversion to an earlier penalty, giving the home side a ten point lead.
Andover applied further pressure with some good tactical kicking from Callum Staff, and some great loose forward play from Ollie Lindgridge and Cameron Jobson Wood, a precise grubber kick through the Portsmouth back line from Staff saw Backs ‘Man of the Match’ Ed Carins chase hard and touchdown in the corner.
However in true Cup Final spirit Portsmouth would not give up the game and came back with converted try.
From the re-start Andover pinned Portsmouth down deep in their own half and kept them there for a nervous final 6 mins to ensure there was no further points added to the score.
Following this great team performance Andover skipper James Bacon stepped forward to receive the County Plate from Andover RFC Executive Chairman Shaun Rule.
Youth Academy Chairman – Dickie Staff commented ‘ this was always going to be a very hard and close fought game and the Andover players did especially well to keep calm and stay focused despite Portsmouth trying to rattle them on several occasions. The boys played exceptionally well together as team, and the whole club is very proud of their achievement’.
View the photo gallery here.
Download press release here.