News from the 1st-XV
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Saturday, 27th October 2018
Andover 5 Warlingham 37
It was a bad day at the office for Andover at the Goodship ground last Saturday, as a strong Warlingham side ran out comfortable winners.
The visitors were sharper and more organised than a strangely lethargic Andover, who for the first time this season didn't look capable of getting anything from the game.
Preparation for the game was disrupted by the late withdrawal of Charlie Waite and Harrison Pape, but the return of Rich Rettalick, Evan Roll and Jack Stott still gave them plenty of fire power in the backs and with a steady supply of possession Andover should have done much better.
From the outset though the 'All Blacks' defended poorly and made too many errors with the ball to cope with their well drilled opponents.
A penalty just after the start gave Warlingham the lead and when four minutes later a move of pace and power saw them score a lovely converted try, the writing was on the wall for Andover.
Andover to their credit fought back immediately and after a spell of pressure Stott cleared out superbly at a ruck and Nic Reed drove over to score.
Unfortunately much of the good work was immediately undone when a silly penalty from the restart gave the visitors a further three points.
Andover continued to press but failed to score from a series of short scrums and Warlingham sensed they had weathered the storm.
The Andover pack fought hard, but didn't have their normal dominance at scrum time and with a lineout that was sporadic, quality ball was at a premium.
When they did have good ball, Andover tended to go too wide too early and Warlingham were able to shut them out.
As the half wore on Warlingham got back on top and when James Smith was yellow carded they soon made Andover pay with a further try and penalty.
After the break, with the slope in favour, Andover still believed they could get back into the game and immediately went on the attack.
Carl Sievewright and Ali Donnan carried well but just when Andover seemed certain to score a poor option saw them lose the ball and Warlingham never looked back.
Samson Earle and Jake Dixon were brought on as fresh legs as Andover kept trying to narrow the gap, but when the visitors broke to score a further try, well converted from the touch line, the door was firmly shut.
As the game drew to a close the visitors lost one player to red card and would have lost another if the referee had seen a blatant punch on skipper Alex Hibdige, but it did nothing to change the course of the game, and with Stott also off to a yellow card Warlingham had the final say with a bonus point try to wrap things up.