ANDOVER were again on the end of a narrow defeat despite a gutsy performance, losing 28-21 to Hampshire rivals Portsmouth.

In what was a nail-biting encounter between the two sides, Andover drew first blood through a Charlie Waite penalty after just five minutes.

The home side nearly caught Andover napping moments later getting close to the try line before the referee blew for a knock on, with Andover clearing well from the fivemetre scrum.

However, Portsmouth did score soon after when their number eight ran a strong line off the base of a ten-metre scrum and crossed the line for a try, which was converted.

Waite slotted away his second penalty to put Andover 7-6 ahead after 17 minutes.

From a well worked Portsmouth lineout they once again used their forwards well, crossing the line on the 22-minute mark, taking the score to 12-6.

Portsmouth tried to pull away and eventually scored again in the corner, taking the score to 17-6.

Andover failed to find any real rhythm in the remainder of the half, eventually giving away a penalty on the stroke of half-time to hand Portsmouth a 20-6 lead at the break.

The away side started well and Waite was once again involved, scoring a try out wide but missing the conversion.

Portsmouth received back-to-back yellow cards but continued to be strong despite their disadvantage and scored again after an effective catch and drive, taking the score to 25-11 after 55 minutes.

The home side completed their scoring after a penalty for a ruck infringement.

Andover weren’t finished however and scored a good try through their three quarters out near the touch line, but the conversion was missed.

Portsmouth received another yellow card for an early tackle.

More pressure from Andover saw Portsmouth under the cosh for a period.

Portsmouth were then put under pressure at scrum time by Andover after resorting to three props in the front row, as the impressive Billy Pollard, who was returning from injury had nothing else to give.

Andover worked tirelessly in the scrum and eventually released their back-line, scoring in the corner to bring the final score to 28-21.

Andover travel to London Exiles on Saturday, November 7.