THE last time these two old rivals met in the league was three seasons ago, in a game that ended in a defeat for Andover that cost them the London South West Three title.

On this occasion there was more at stake for the home side as they desperately needed to win to lift them away from the relegation zone and once again they proved too much for the All Blacks winning 25-13 in this London South West Two encounter.

In a close, hard fought affair that was in the balance with 10 minutes to go, Andover three times allowed the lead to slip and when it came down to the wire, it was they who blinked first as Eastleigh finished the stronger.

Andover began the game well when a monstrous hit from Tom Waite gave brother Charlie the chance to give Andover a first minute lead with a long-range penalty.

Just three minutes later the home kicker sounded a warning Andover were not to heed, drawing the teams level.

For the next 25 minutes, Andover enjoyed almost continuous possession behind a powerful scrum and with Ollie Lindridge dominating the lineouts.

Andover’s carrying game was strangely out of sorts however despite the efforts of Simon Preece and James Monck, as they struggled to deal with Eastleigh’s desire at the breakdown.

Eastleigh’s defence was effective, but they gave away a string of penalties from which Andover failed to capitalise on.

On the half hour though the pressure finally told and Andover took a lead that looked to be decisive.

From a short scrum Kieran Jenvey fed Jack Stott on the blind side and the winger broke a tackle to score with Charlie Waite converting superbly from the touchline.

However, from the kick-off Andover’s hesitancy led to Eastleigh kicking a penalty.

Andover pressed again, but once were wasteful and on the stroke of half time the home side reduced the lead further with another good kick.

After the break, Andover were camped on the Eastleigh line with youngster Ioan Gwynne Davies orchestrating the attack, but a dropped ball from a catch and drive and a controversial free kick from a scrum allowed Eastleigh to clear.

With their tails up the home side began to attack more and they took the lead from a penalty.

Almost immediately, Charlie Waite replied in kind to retake the lead for Andover and with 10 minutes left it was looking good for the visitors.

However, two more successful kicks for Eastleigh finally edged them back in front and when Charlie Waite missed a difficult reply, the writing was on the wall.

A couple of defensive errors gave the home side good field position and they dived under the posts for a try, which denied Andover even a bonus point.

Afterwards director of rugby Waite said: “I thought our youngsters all played well again especially Jack Potter in the centre and it is a learning curve for them. In the end Eastleigh had a very simple game plan that they executed well.”

This Saturday (2pm), the All Blacks are at home to Old Reigatian, who are second.