Andover 20 Gosport and Fareham 5

Andover overcame the challenge of a spirited Gosport and Fareham side with a solid performance at the Goodship ground last Saturday.

Andover saw the return of influential hooker Tom Waite and pacey winger Jake Harwood for this one and although it took some time for the score board to start ticking, Andover dominated possession from the outset.

Behind a powerful scrum and with Bryn Waite, brother Fin and Jake Dixon ruling at lineout time, Andover enjoyed plenty of the ball.

Playing up the slope Andover began well but looked a little hesitant and after just two minutes gifted the visitors a chance to take the lead. The penalty for offside was missed however and Andover soon powered up the park.

Ten minutes later Andover did finally take the lead. From another good scrum Sean Higgins fed man of the match Ollie Carr-Smith and his superb triple cut out pass hit Harwood on the wing, who made no mistake with the finish.

Andover then suffered a setback when they lost Tight head prop James Monck shortly before half time to a red card for a dangerous clear out at a ruck, but they held on comfortably to lead at the break.

In the second half Andover brought on impressive young tight head Elliot Byrne to replace Monck but suffered further problems when star centre Stan North (shoulder) and Conor Green (knee) were both forced off with injury.

Undeterred the home side pushed forwards and soon won a penalty for offside from which Rich Retallick increased the lead.

Andover then went on to take a scrum against the head with only seven forwards. The sheer power of Tom Erskine, skipper Alex Hibdige and Dixon was just too much for the visitors as Andover turned the screw.

Andover camped in their twenty-two and from a series of scrums, CJ Feirn standing in at number eight neatly controlled a push over scrum to score.

Andover didn't let up and when Gosport had a yellow card themselves, they took full advantage.

Gosport tried several times to kick long from defence but with young winger Stan Bell countering with incredible pace they came under increasing pressure.

From a great run by Feirn Andover went through phases and when the ball came to Carr Smith he calmly cross kicked for Fin Waite to superbly pluck the ball out of the air to score a lovely try wonderfully converted by Retallick from the touch line.

With the game won Andover relaxed for the last part and were made to pay. In an incident which saw Tom Waite yellow carded, and a Gosport player see red, Gosport had their best field position in the game, and with the last play they forced themselves over for a consolation try.