HUGE relief met the final whistle at the Goodship ground last Saturday, as Oakwood sponsored Andover saw off the challenge of relegation threatened Teddington to move further towards safety in London Division Three South West.

With some tough games to come in the next few weeks this game took on extra importance for both sides and Teddington gave it a real go, but in the end the home side had just too much for them and probably should have won by more.

Playing down the slope in the first half Andover began the game brightly with some strong carries from front row boys Tom Waite and Nic Reed.

Teddington defended well but after fifteen minutes the Andover broke through.

Andover made a hash of a catch and drive in the visitors 22, but smart work from Rich Rettalick put winger Dave Catt through a gap on the inside and his neat pass found skipper Alex Hibdige for a neat try.

Andover looked in total control but not for the first time this season lost concentration to let the visitors back in.

A loose defensive kick gave the visitors turnover ball and they showed how dangerous they could be with a fine try.

Andover were stung back into action and as the forwards took control with some powerful scrummaging, Ioan Gwynne Davies was cynically fouled when about to score.

Teddington received a yellow card, Andover scrummaged again from the penalty, and the excellent James Smith touched down with Rettalick converting.

Sensing blood Andover piled on the pressure. Jack Stott entered the fray from the bench and immediately forced a turnover from which Andover gained good field position.

From a resulting lineout Hibdige powered through and this time it was he who fed the lively Catt for a good try.

At half time Andover lost debutante new signing, big French Lock Alexis Tremblay to a leg injury, but welcomed Jake Dixon back to replace him, alongside the impressive Conor Green.

Andover seemed set for a comfortable victory, but soon found out Teddington were not laying down. Andover continued to dominate but spurned several chances to score a bonus point try and crucially also turned down kick-able penalty chances.

Teddington sensed they were not out of it and once again made Andover pay for a missed touch kick running it back to narrow the gap to just seven.

Andover once again switched back on and began to dominate possession but couldn't find a way through a stubborn defence.

With five minutes to go Andover won a penalty as Teddington received a second yellow and this time Retallick sensibly kicked the three points on offer.

With time running out Andover pressed again to go for the bonus point. As Andover won a short scrum hopes were high, but the ball and the opportunity were lost and Andover had to settle for a hard won four points.

Afterwards Director of Rugby Andy Waite was happy enough and said: "The important thing today was to win and we did that. Although we didn't get a bonus point we did stop them getting one, which was equally important in the overall situation.

"Although with better game management I think we would have won by more, I can't take anything away from the sheer effort some of the lads like, Alex Arter and Tyler Gabriel and young CJ Feirn are putting in. Our scrum and Line-out are really going well too and Alexis looks a real addition to the forward power."

This Saturday, Andover are away at Warlingham.