Ellingham and Ringwood 25 Andover 46

In an incredible match full of incident and controversy Andover came up with a splendid win on the road against Ellingham and Ringwood.

The home side, newly promoted and fresh off of a good away win themselves last week, promised to be difficult opponents for the 'All Blacks' and their large partisan crowd certainly roared them on throughout, but in the end, despite some big setbacks, Andover had too much in attack and ran in seven very good tries.

Problems started in the pre-match warm-up when stalwart centre Billy Pollard pulled up with a groin strain.

With no back on the bench Andover were forced to put star lineout jumper Bryn Waite on the wing and youngster George Goodridge came into hook, with Harry Scobie stepping across to centre and hooker Callum Barber Starkey going to the back row.

If Waite was missed in the pack, an imperious performance in the air by summer signing Matt Green made up for it as Andover dominated from the off.

Ten minutes in Andover suffered another blow when winger Arthur Ratuvou was also forced off injured with a nasty-looking knee injury and Andover looked in real trouble.

Andover undeterred however used their big pack and ever developing offloading game to immediately pressure the home defence and took a good lead through tries from Tom Erskine and skipper Alex Hibdige.

Soon after they just failed to score again after a wonderful attacking move, but Rich Rettalick slotted a resulting penalty.

Goodridge was next up with a lovely try to cap his man-of-the-match performance and Andover looked in complete control.

E and R had other ideas though and came back at Andover well. 

They scored two good tries of their own and kicked a penalty to briefly threaten a comeback, but the superb Niko Rowe snuffed that out with a lovely offload for Jake Dixon to confirm the bonus point for Andover.

Then the wheels came firmly off for the visitors as Barber Starkey saw red for a high tackle and soon after Bryn Waite was given an inexplicable yellow. 

Then replacement Stan Pearson went off injured and Andover had just twelve players on the park.

E and R took advantage despite some heroic defending and scored another try, but with still only twelve on the pitch Andover immediately struck back with Hibdige completing his brace after great work from Goodridge.

Back to thirteen Andover again went for broke. Max Graham was orchestrating things from nine and with Scobie carrying hard, they made more inroads.

Erskine grabbed his second try powering through the defence and Harrison Pape finished brilliantly after more good work from Rowe. Rettalick added his fourth conversion to wrap things up for Andover, before the home side grabbed a late score to take a bonus point themselves.

Afterwards Director of Rugby Andy Waite said: "Sometimes adversity can really pull a team together and that's exactly what happened today. To score three tries with twelve and then thirteen on the pitch against a good side is quite remarkable, and the manner of it was very impressive. hats off to all of the players who played."