Havant Dolphins 27 Andover 22

Despite another stirring second half comeback Andover once again narrowly lost to a strong Havant side on their Hooks Lane 4G pitch.

Andover started the game with many changes due to unavailability and injury and indeed had four players making their first team debut, in Will Scobie, Olly Warner and eighteen-year-olds Max Graham and Louis Davies.

All performed well individually and didn't look out of depth at this higher level, but it was perhaps understandable that with all the disruption Andover started slowly.

Havant in contrast were straight out of the blocks and for periods of the first half it looked like Andover would be blown away.

Havant took an early lead after running back a loose kick before a Rich Retallick penalty drew Andover back.

The home side soon added a penalty of their own, but Andover then had a good spell.

A piece of wonderful defending by Graham saw Andover gain field position and from a series of scrums they should have done better.

Poor hands and a struggling lineout didn't help, and Havant survived.

From a catch and drive Havant then added to their score and soon after scored again in the corner after a slick handling move.

Andover again had a good spell, but another lineout went astray when they looked to be in for a score and again Havant made them pay with a length of the pitch effort.

27-3 at the break and it did not bode well for Andover.

A half time tweak in tactics and a rise in tempo from Andover however turned the game on its head. Andover were quicker off the line and started to really get into Havant at scrum time and the home side's discipline buckled under the pressure. 

From a series of penalties Andover won a lineout and when the ball flashed wide Will Scobie beat two defenders for his first senior try converted from wide out by Retallick. 

From then on Andover dominated. From a collapsed scrum Havant had a yellow card and Andover sensed they were back in it.

Eventually the pressure told when from a great James Monck break CJ Feirn went over for a lovely Andover try with Retallick again on target. 

Andover poured forwards and when brilliant work from Harrison Pape gave Ioan Gwynne Davies the chance to score again Andover were right back in it.

The conversion was missed however meaning Andover needed another try with time running out.

Andover pushed hard with man of the match Jake Meek everywhere and the returning Harry Batt giving everything but in the end it was not to be for skipper Alex Hibdige and his team.

Afterwards Director of Rugby Andy Waite said: “First half was easily the worst rugby we've played all season. But the way the lads turned it around deserved massive credit. Senior lads like Tom Erskine, Robbie Duncan and Fin Waite really stood up and helped the new lads through a tough baptism. Results have not gone our way in these first matches but we're confident we will turn this around very soon.”