ANDOVER Rugby Club moved nine points clear of the relegation zone with a thumping 58-6 victory over bottom side Warlingham.

Eighteen-year-old academy product Ben Ciccotti stole the show with a splendid hat-trick of tries to help his side record a much needed home victory.

The plucky visitors arrived at the Goodship ground knowing victory would put them back in the hunt to stay up themselves.

However, they were unfortunate to find an Andover side close to full strength and in no mood to give them anything.

Andover showed their intent from the kick-off when Tom Waite fielded the high ball superbly to give brother Charlie an easy penalty shot for an early lead.

Warlingham looked a much improved outfit themselves and soon gave warning they would not lie down easily with a penalty of their own.

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(Hat-trick hero Ben Ciccotti)

Andover stuttered nervously for 10 minutes before Charlie Waite, showing his versatility at centre, made a fine break.

This allowed Jake Kane and the hard-working Tom Erskine to put Dave Catt in for a try at the corner.

The visitors rallied and were awarded a further penalty of their own.

But the power of the Andover forwards and pace of an impressive back line started to tell.

With Kane pulling the strings in midfield Andover began wave after wave of attack.

His feed to the excellent Ben Fulton was finished neatly by the centre, with Charlie Waite adding a fine conversion from wide out.

Andover suddenly went up a gear and from a deep kick Catt and Josh Gibbs interplayed superbly from their own 22 before Gibbs finished the move with a try.

Minutes later and a quick penalty saw a series of rucks, from which second row Luke Linssner crashed over.

Waite again converted to give Andover the try bonus point before the half-time break.

The second half began badly for Andover with Fulton seeing yellow for dangerous play.

But for once it didn’t rattle the All Blacks who easily soaked up the pressure, before a series of short scrums allowed Kane the space to dance over for a try.

With Fulton restored Andover went for the throat and attacked from every position.

Man-of-the-match Ciccotti grabbed his first try from his own charge down as Andover began to turn the screw.

Ten minutes later Jack Stott finished superbly from a set scrum move with Waite converting.

Ciccotti’s pace was by now wreaking havoc with the tiring Warlingham pack and before long Tom Waite’s deft pass sent him racing for the line, again with Charlie Waite converting.

Andover were camped on the visitor’s line and came close to adding to their lead on a number of occasions.

They finally did when from a short scrum Ciccotti once again spotted space to dash over for the final try – again converted by Waite.

Warlingham battled on and came at Andover for the last few minutes. But even then Andover defended excellently and appeared to score on the counter, but referee Simon Aldridge judged Aaron Hatcher had knocked on and blew time on a very good Andover performance.

After the game director of rugby, Andy Waite, said: “I thought the ref let the game flow today and we played well and looked a much more balanced side.

“Although struggling, Warlingham were by no means a push over and we had to work hard for this much needed win.

“Dave Catt and Josh Gibbs both showed they have improved tremendously this year. It was great to have Kieran Jenvey and Jake Kane back in the half back spots. The challenge for us now is to get greater consistency away from home.”