1:36am Wednesday 2nd October 2013
Andover 24 Fordingbridge 17.
Andover came through their toughest test of the season so far with a display of power and pace that league favourites Fordingbridge found too hot to handle.
In a pulsating game both sides produced a quality of rugby far beyond the division and after 80 minutes Andover emerged just the stronger.
Their pre match preparation was disrupted by a car accident and they were caught cold by the visitors’ onslaught.
A try in the corner was followed minutes later by a successful kick and chase and the team that have been scoring for fun this season looked ominously like they were at it again.
Andover however had other ideas and began to get into the game through the extra power of their forwards.
They turned the screw and after missing a couple of penalties and from a ruck Craig Snook drove over.
Andover pressed again and after a third penalty from a short scrum the excellent referee Ian Brown lost patience with the ‘Bridge’ pack to give Andover a penalty try, which Jack Stott converted.
With Marc Wilding directing operations in defence and a couple of crunching Henry Rennison tackles Andover held firm until ‘Bridge retook the lead against the run of play with a neat try.
Andover stayed calm and after a spell of pressure Tom Waite took a flat pass from Andy Franklin to smash Andover back ahead.
Stott converted and just five minutes later he finally sealed the win.
The superb Franklin once again put Andover away and Stott won the race to his kick for the winning try.
Afterwards Andover coach Andy Waite was full of praise for both teams. “What a game of rugby that was for this division” he said.
“They are a very good side and we had to dig deep. I must give huge credit to our skipper Alex Morgan who really led from the front today but I think the game was won in the end by a front five that were just superb in the tight and loose.”
“To have such strong scrummagers who are also so dynamic around the park is a huge bonus. So Alex Hibdidge, Tom Waite, Nic Reed, Craig Snook, Aaron Hatcher and Matt Moore, take a bow.”
On Saturday Andover travel to Millbrook for another big test against a team who have started well.
More reports and pictures from Andover RFC in Friday's Advertiser
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