ANOTHER superb performance saw the Oakwood sponsored Andover once more gained revenge for a defeat earlier in the season and ended the promotion hopes of high flying Hampshire rivals Portsmouth in the process beating them 29-27.

Fourteen points, including a try, from stand off Rich Rettalick, was the difference between the sides as Andover fought off a dramatic late comeback to take a maximum five points.

The visitors arrived full of expectation after beating Andover comfortably on their own turf before Christmas and brought with them a huge pack that have been destroying all comers since.

Andover are rarely intimidated by anyone however and this was to be no different as the visitors ran into a brick wall up front and were second best for most of the game.

Playing up the slope but with the wind Andover started strongly, with the front row of Alex Hibdige, Tom Waite and Nic Reed quickly imposing themselves at scrum time on their big opponents.

Waite and James Smith are also forging a formidable pairing in attack and soon took the game to a startled looking Portsmouth.

With good field position Andover were unusually wasteful at the lineout however and Portsmouth survived the early pressure unscathed.

After fifteen minutes Retallick finally got the score board moving with a well struck penalty for offside at the ruck.

Portsmouth immediately hit back however with a neat try to take the lead.

In the second quarter it was all Andover.

With Charlie Waite returning every Portsmouth kick with interest the visitors could not get out of their 22 and with Simon Preece and Alexis Tremblay more than matching the Portsmouth power in the loose, Andover took control.

First Retallick restored Andover's lead gathering his own kick ahead for a lovely try which he also converted.

Then as the pressure up front told, after a series of penalties, Smith finished a fine pushover scrum which Rettalick also converted to put Andover in control.

Just before the break however having seemingly dealt with a Portsmouth counter, a poor kick from defence handed the visitors a life line score.

After the break, against the elements, Andover knew they would have to defend, and in a young back line they found some real heroes.

Alex Arter, Dave Catt and Charlie Waite were excellent as a back three, keeping Pompey's prolific wingers quiet, but it was the centers Charlie Deaval and CJ Feirn who really shone, with Feirn in particular belying his youth with a display of real pace and power.

Portsmouth soon gave warning they would not lay down though with a try to draw level, but Andover hit straight back.

From a series of penalties Andover elected to scrum and the excellent Smith fed scrum half Ioan Gwynne Davies for a neat try.

Then came the moment of the game.

Charlie Waite's monster boot kept Portsmouth pinned back even against the wind, and as they tried to counter from half way, a dropped pass fell kindly to Deaval.

The young centre set off from sixty metres with lots of visiting cover in front. On came the after burners, away fell the cover and Andover had their bonus point try again converted by Rettalick.

Harry Scobie replaced Catt on the wing and continued the stirring defensive effort, but Portsmouth to their credit would not lie down and as Smith saw yellow they grabbed a lifeline try.

With fifteen to go, the visitors threw everything at a fourteen man defence, but could not find a way through.

With just three minutes left and Andover back to strength they did finally manage a score in the corner, but crucially missed the difficult conversion.

As a desperate Portsmouth ran back the kick off Andover won a fine turnover and from a resultant penalty, they ran the clock down well, to kick the ball dead for another famous victory.

Afterwards Director of Rugby Andy Waite was very happy with his sides performance 'Some of these young lads have developed so well over the season, so to turn in performances like this and others in recent weeks is really encouraging.'

'Earlier in the campaign we were really worried with six front line players out for the season and a couple of others having left, but given the chance, the likes of Jack Cooper, Jake Dixon and others have more then covered the gaps.'

' Although not mathematically impossible, we should be pretty safe from relegation now so we use the rest of the season to develop players further and start moving towards the future. With all the injured players coming back and new ones coming through from our fantastic academy, the future looks really bright.'