ANDOVER RFC produced a performance full of power and passion with some of their best rugby of the season to take the spoils against Warlingham with a 20-14 victory and avenge their home defeat earlier in the season.

The Oakwood sponsored side made the long journey to Croydon knowing that victory against the side directly above them would send them well clear of the threat of relegation and they were in no mood to let the opportunity pass.

Warlingham's dangerous backs dispatched Andover with ease at the Goodship ground earlier this season, but this time round they found a very determined and committed defence in which youngster CJ Feirn and Dave Catt were outstanding from the start.

The home team started with the wind and slope in their favour and soon had Andover under pressure.

They were awarded an early penalty which was well dispatched from almost half way and soon after extended their lead in similar fashion after a further transgression at a ruck.

With a quarter of the match gone however the home side had failed to add to their score despite a lot of possession and Andover visibly grew in confidence.

A tough defensive shift was starting to pay dividends as Nic Reed, Jack Cooper and Tom Waite began to make inroads with some powerful running, and with man of the match James Smith imperious at the lineout and controlling operations in the loose, the tide started to turn.

As Andover turned the screw the home side found themselves pinned in their twenty two and eventually the pressure told.

A good lineout steal from flanker Harry Batt led to a series of penalties which Andover opted to scrum.

Despite some very good home defence Andover stayed patient and as Rich Rettalick flashed the ball wide, Dave Catt dived in the corner to reduce the deficit to just one point at the break.

With conditions in favour after half time Andover poured forwards and soon had Warlingham in trouble.

The returning Charlie Waite was becoming an increasing menace to the home team, going close on several occasions and forming a dangerous double act with Ioan Gwynne Davies.

The home team could not cope and after great carries from Jake Dixon, Ali Donnan and skipper Alex Hibdige, Tom Waite set his brother Charlie free to score Andover's second try.

Warlingham tried to regain the initiative and added a third penalty to their score, but were soon under severe pressure again.

Andover's driving maul was in fine form and from one such drive, a great break by Smith was continued by Gwynne Davies, before Nic Reed put Charlie Waite in for a neatly finished second try, superbly converted by Retallick.

Warlingham once again came back hard but found Alex Arter and Charlie Deaval in no mood to give ground and as Andover once again went forward, they proved their growing maturity as Charlie Waite dropped a fine goal to leave the home side needing two scores.

With a couple of minutes left Warlingham went for it and despite some brave defending managed to squeeze over in the corner to give themselves a bonus point.

From the resulting kick off they were awarded a penalty but when their kicker missed touch Gwynne Davies calmly kicked the ball out and Andover had taken a huge step forward in their season.

After the game Director of rugby Andy Waite said: "We are an improving side and we're learning to manage games better than earlier in the season. Obviously having our best players available is a big part of that and they were all superb today, but some of our youngsters are really starting to learn from them and develop. We have a week off to prepare for Portsmouth at home in two weeks time who are still in with a shout of promotion, so we won't get carried away just yet."