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Overton take All Blacks close in Hampshire County Cup
12:44pm Tuesday 19th March 2013 in Rugby
Overton 19 Andover 27.
AFTER a tense close fought derby, Oakwood sponsored Andover came away with the spoils last weekend, in their Hampshire Cup clash with neighbours Overton.
The home side performed splendidly and ran Andover close, but in the end the gap in class told as Andover held them at arms’ length to go through.
Despite the heavy rain the game was played on a suprisingly good Overton pitch in front of watching Hants RFU president Peter Topham and he was not left disappointed by the thriller which unfolded.
Andover were relieved to be back in action after the trauma of the previous week and with referee Peter Woodward trying to let the game flow as much as conditions would allow, began the game well.
The pace of Jack Stott troubled Overton throughout and after just ten minutes his break fed Dan Pearson whose dash for the line was held up just short.
Hooker Tom Waite picked up from the resulting ruck and powered over for the first try.
Three minutes later it looked ominous for Overton as a wonderful interchange between Alex Kane and Elliott Copestake set the young winger clear to score. Stott added the conversion and Andover seemed to be on their way.
Overton, however are made of stern stuff and just three minutes later stormed back with a converted try of their own from a lineout.
Andover then pushed again and after a period of dominance Copestake was on hand once more to finish after good work from Josh Gibbs.
Andover thought they were clear but Overton showed them yet again that they relaxed at their peril and from a scrum, an error let Overton in to score a second try which they converted to leave them just three points adrift at the break.
In the second half Andover came out with all guns firing and in the main controlled play.
A fine kick and chase from Pearson, converted by Stott extended their lead and Overton looked like they were running out of steam.
They kept doggedly going forward however and were rewarded with another try from a lineout to give them hope.
Andover kept their cool and played a percentage game utilising their kicking game and pace out wide.
With ten minutes to go a tiring Overton conceded territory and then a penalty as Andover presssed again. Stott was successful with the kick and Andover finally had the breathing space they needed to run out 19-27 winners.
After the game coach Andy Waite reflected: “This was a tough place to come after a very difficult week for the club and I am really pleased we dogged out a win. ‘Overton could be in our league next season so this was never going to be easy, but in the end I think we just about deserved it. ‘We really must learn though that good sides will always hurt you if you lose concentration and especially after we have scored we can’t afford to relax.”
In the semi-final Andover face Fordingbridge and will hope to do a lot better than last week.