Andover 5 Petersfield 34

It was a tough day at the office for Andover last weekend as they endured only their second defeat of 2023 against a well-drilled Petersfield outfit.

It was billed as a battle between two teams likely to be challenging for the league, but in the end, it was the visitors who looked the more likely, as Andover imploded after what they saw as a huge piece of injustice.

Playing up the slope Andover started brightly with good phases of possession from George Goodridge and Roman Barton Knott. 

The Andover scrum began dominantly, and the ever-secure lineout was performing well through Bryn Waite and Matt Green.

But with the ball in hand Andover seemed edgy and it was Petersfield who eventually took the lead with a penalty.

Andover continued to attack and went close several times, but poor decision making was to cost them dear later as they struggled to score.

Eventually Petersfield did crack however and after a yellow card, a smart lineout move between Goodridge and Bryn Waite ended in a lovely try.

All looked good for Andover,  but when they lost Rich Rettalick to a yellow card given for a perfect text book tackle, they rightly felt very aggrieved and allowed it to affect them.

Petersfield soon made them pay with two tries either side of half time, but going down the slope Andover still felt they could come back.

Restored to fifteen they enjoyed a lot of good field position, but time and again executed poorly. Even the much-lauded scrum and lineout creaked a little and too often Andover failed to move the ball wide when they had opportunities.

After fifteen minutes 'Field' made them pay again against the run of play when a quick free kick from a scrum caught Andover napping.

Andover shored things up with the extra physicality of Tom and Fin Waite coming into the back row, but even that was soon nullified as Tom Waite and an opponent saw yellow for a brief scuffle.

As the game continued Andover emptied their bench but to no avail as 'Field' ran in two more late tries to seal the win.  

After the game, director of rugby Andy Waite said: "Against good teams you have to take chances and we didn't today. We weren't helped by Rich's yellow which was very harsh, but also we had some very good players out there who never really got going. We didn't stick to the game plan and we got punished. Back to the training park this week to put it right."