Havant Second 26 Andover 37

In possibly their best performance of the season so far, Saxon Safety-sponsored Andover overcame a very strong Havant side in their own back yard last Saturday to keep the pressure on leaders Petersfield and further consolidate their own second place in the league.

The game was played on Havant's all weather 4g pitch in front of a large noisy home crowd, not used to losing at home, so when the excellent Bryn Waite made a turnover that allowed brother Charlie to give the 'All Blacks' an early lead from a penalty there was little panic in the Havant ranks.

Soon after however the loud banter from the stands turned to concern, when Charlie Waite executed an excellent 50-22 to give Andover great field position and Fin Waite and Tom Erskine carried hard before Bryn Waite once again linked superbly with Nic Reed to grab the first of his brace of tries.

Havant woke up to the danger and launched an attack that Andover defended very well until a tap penalty caught them out and Havant pulled to within a point.

Unperturbed Andover roared back and won a penalty in front of goal. With scrum dominance Andover went for the try and when man of the match Max Graham fizzed the ball wide. winger Harvey Maloney finished superbly to increase the lead.

Andover then suffered a blow when Fin Waite pulled a hamstring, but the replacement hooker Tim Marx took full advantage of his opportunity and Andover continued to pour forwards.

On 25 minutes Bryn Waite stole a struggling home lineout and once again Nic Reed was the beneficiary  crashing over for his second.

Havant are not a top side for nothing though and they soon had a spell of pressure of their own. Andover defended well but just before the break they forced their way into things with a second converted try of their own.

After the break Andover started badly and Havant gratefully exploited their generosity to pull within a point.

Andover settled however and introduced Arlo Matley and Ryan McGealy for his seasonal debut and both made an immediate impact.

Graham made another electric break and found willing runners in Bryn Waite and Matley, who's fine work allowed center Stan North to finish well.

Havant responded again and grabbed their bonus point try and took the lead for the first time again from a short penalty.

It would have been easy for Andover to crumble under the pressure but Andover turned to their dominant scrum to turn the screw.

Led by skipper Alex Hibdige the engine room delivered in the Havant 22 and that man Graham again set Stan North over for a try superbly converted by Graham from wide out.

Still not done Andover went for the kill as Havant tried to press, using the pace of Jake Harwood, Harrison Pape, Maloney and the influential Jake Dixon to terrify the hosts on the counter. 

Matley won Andover a penalty after Graham was held up and when Bryn Waite won the lineout to set try machine Tom Erskine up Havant's resistance was finally broken.

Afterwards, director of rugby Andy Waite said: "This is a tough place to come but the locals here know their rugby and we think they appreciated what they saw from us. We scored six tries on the road again which is wonderful, but it was our defence and forward power that made the difference, and I'd like to single out Jake Harwood in this area, because fine attacker that he is, his defence is even more phenomenal."