Petersfield 31 Andover 10

It was a tough day at the office for Andover RFC last weekend as they went down in a disappointing defeat away to league leaders Petersfield.

It was a game to forget for many reasons for Andover who lost four players to injury, but in a contest that was much closer than the scoreline suggests, they were left ruing their own inability to turn pressure into points.

Petersfield on the other hand were more clinical in the Andover red zone and despite soaking up a lot of pressure, took their chances when they came.

The game began badly for Andover with Bryn Waite sustaining a shoulder injury in the first minute that forced him from the field and disrupted Andover's lineout from the start.

The Andover scrum also creaked a little but Andover enjoyed plenty of possession in the Petersfield half. 

With Louis Pereira pulling the strings, Harrison Pape went close after good hands from Stan North but was adjudged to be in touch. 

Andover knocked on the door repeatedly with North, Niko Rowe and Nic Reed carrying hard, and when North was late tackled, Ollie Carr Smith gave Andover the lead with a well-struck penalty. 

Andover continued to press but were wasteful and soon Petersfield made them pay when a weak defensive kick led to the home side's first try.

Andover continued to do good things, including a monster hit from man of the match Tom Waite, but too often followed that with an error.

The loss of Matt Green soon after left the Andover lineout in real trouble and although Bryn Waite returned to try and do a job, the normally unlimited supply of ball was not there.

Petersfield increased their lead before the break with a second try to leave the game still in the balance.

After half time with Callum Barber Starkey adding his pace to proceedings Andover again pressed repeatedly. Chance after chance went begging however and once again Petersfield made them pay with two further scores of their own.

Andover also lost Jake Harwood and Roman Barton Knott to injury to make matters even worse.

Andover finally struck back when good hands from North and Rowe put Pape in in the corner with Rich Retallick converting superbly to give Andover a chance of at least a bonus point.

Andover went for it and desperate home defence just about kept them at bay with, North, Jake Dixon, Rowe and Reed all going close.

But it was not to be and with almost the last play, Petersfield scored again to make sure their closest rivals left with nothing. 

Afterwards director of Rugby Andy Waite said: "I'm more disappointed with the way we played than the result. We put Stan Bell in for his blistering pace, but we didn't give him or our other quick wide players a chance. The one time we did move it we scored and I think we need to think about that and put it right for our next game. We still have plenty to play for and are still well in the promotion hunt, so we will lift ourselves and go again."