ANDOVER Rugby Club finally ended their run of late defeats with a last gasp 37-34 home win over Old Tonbridgians.

The All Blacks had previously suffered late heartbreak in four of their five opening league games this season.

But they were finally on the right end of a tight finish on Saturday thanks to a clutch last-minute penalty kick from Charlie Waite.

There was a heavy cost to Andover though, as Ollie Lindridge was carried off with what turned out to be a broken ankle early in the second half and he now joins Billy Pollard on the long-term injury list.

Andover were buoyed by the return of hooker Tom Waite for his seasonal debut after a knee operation and Jake Kane, Ben Fulton and Niko Rowe in midfield, as they faced a side, much improved from when they last met in the lower division two season ago.

Playing up the slope and against the breeze Andover began badly conceding a penalty and three points from the first play.

However Andover took the lead after just three minutes, great work from Rowe, Tom Erskine and Kieran Jenvey put Stefan Long in for an excellent try.

Charlie Waite missed the difficult conversion, but soon added a further three points from a penalty.

Andover struck again 10 minutes later when Rowe set Waite off with a lovely scoring pass.

OT’s fought back well and narrowed the gap to five points with a try after a lapse in Andover’s defence.

Kane’s try restored Andover’s comfortable lead, but an error quickly took the wind out of the host’s sails.

A mix-up while Andover were in OT’s 22 allowed the visitors to run the length of the pitch and score a much-needed try.

More defensive errors allowed OT’s to equalise, and when Lindridge went down after a lineout things looked bleak for Andover.

However Youngster Ben Cicotti came in and did well as Andover recovered quickly.

OT’s were reduced to 14 and Jenvey took full advantage to score a neat try. With 15 to go Andover finally looked to have put the game to bed with an outstanding second try from half way by Kane.

However Andover were then reduced to 14, and with the man advantage OT’s roared back to level things with two consecutive tries.

With seconds to go Andover mustered one last effort which ended when referee Donald Swart judged that OT’s had been offside in defence.

The crowd held its breath, Charlie Waite held his nerve to kick the winning penalty.

Andy Waite said “I’m not sure my heart can take much more of this.

“It was a fantastic game for the neutral and the lads showed real character.”