Andover - 17; Havant 2 - 14

Andover secured fourth, their highest-ever league finish, with a nail-biting win over Havant at the Goodship ground last Saturday, to earn a place in the inaugural Papa John's national trophy.

Saxon Safety-sponsored Andover came in to the game having won 10 of their last 11 games as the in-form side. But Havant had no first team game and fielded many of their starting national league players in this one, fully expecting to overcome the 'All Blacks' themselves.

Andover began up the slope and soon had the visitors on the back foot. Andover, with James Monck in fine form, edged the scrum even going up the hill and with Bryn Waite disrupting Havant's lineout and Andover having a steady stream of their own ball, a series of sweeping attacks was launched.

Andover went through the phases with Nic Reed, skipper Alex Hibdige and Jake Dixon prominent, and Sean Higgins, possibly having his best game of the season, controlling the attack splendidly.

Andover had a hat full of chances, with the excellent CJ Feirn going close after great work by Billy Pollard and man of the match Jake Harwood, but also spurned the chance to kick several penalties, which may have put the struggling visitors to bed.

Indeed it was all of 32 minutes before Andover finally kicked a penalty through Rettalick which in the end, as so many of the full backs kicks this season have, proved to be crucial.

When Havant then attacked for almost the first time in the game, only a brilliant tackle from Harwood stopped them from going into the break with an unlikely lead.  

After the break Andover did finally take control.

After five minutes another good turnover from Bryn Waite at the lineout gave Andover a five-metre scrum. Excellent young hooker Callum Barber Starkey struck, and Dixon needed no second invitation to crash over from his number eight birth, for a try converted by Rettalick.

Ten minutes later Andover scored again.

A catch and drive from Andover's very secure attacking lineout saw the maul held up fifteen metres out, but influential flanker Finlay Waite saw space and his dash for the line was again well very well converted by Rettalick.

Havant then had their best spell. Andover relaxed a little and the visitors finally started to go through phases and before a rare defensive error allowed a neat converted try.

Five minutes later they repeated the dose, from a tap penalty the unfortunate Stan Pearson saw yellow after tackling too soon from a quick penalty and Havant seized the advantage to pull within three points.

With ten minutes still to go the balance looked to have tipped but Andover were having none of it. Experience can sometimes be as important as some of the breathtaking attacking play and on this occasion it proved so.  

Andover went back to the tried and trusted keep ball and play for territory. Tom Waite, now on for Barber Starkey, Reed, Hibdige and Tom Erskine simply overpowered their opponents, and when the ball did get out, Charlie Waite's monster boot from stand-off constantly pushed Havant deep into their own half.

As they mustered one last attack, Havant committed an error. Back chat to the referee saw them marched fifty meters back to their own goal line, (a first for most in the ground) but for once, being the last play, the wise old heads once again kicked in and Andover kicked the ball dead to take the win.

Afterwards, director of Rugby Andy Waite said: "This is a monumental day for this club at every level. The first team have been immense this season, but its all down to the whole club being excellent. Our thirds have just won their league on the next pitch, with a crunching win over Farnborough to gain promotion, and the seconds have also secured promotion with a superb fourth place in counties three. It's going to be tough for all of us next season, but we'll be up for the battle wherever it takes us."