Andover 71 Isle of Wight 0
Stand in skipper Marc Wilding had a 40th Birthday to remember as Oakwood sponsored Andover literally stormed to victory against a brave but outgunned Isle of Wight last Saturday, with Wilding helping himself to a celebratory hat trick of tries.
He wasn’t alone as fellow back rower Simon Preece also crossed the whitewash three times and not to be totally outdone the third of the back row trio Paul Tuinasakea grabbed a well taken brace.
Apart from his tries Wilding had a superb day, ruling the lineout and running the play from the number eight birth as Andover ran amok.
Despite high winds and rain Andover produced some devastating rugby to run in 13 unanswered tries and only horrendous kicking conditions saved the visitors from further misery.
The islanders were by no means the worst team to visit the Goodship ground this season and played with spirit throughout, but Andover were simply too quick, too powerful and too clinical for them in every department.
Andover had several changes due to injury and unavailability, but with the excellent Callum Staff returning to the backline along with Billy Pollard and 18 year old Colts scrum half Dan Farr also looking very comfortable at this level, the depth of the Andover squad is there for all to see.
Andover began with purpose and after just two minutes Tuinasakea opened the scoring in the corner.
Just four minutes later Wilding got his first from a pushover scrum and soon after Jack Stott set up Preece for his first.
Wilding then got his second from a lineout drive and Preece did likewise after Staff was clotheslined when certain to score from his own kick ahead.
A yellow card followed for the visitors and just two minutes later Tuinsakea made them pay further with his second after being superbly set up by Nic Reed.
After the break with slope in favour the Andover scrum was almost running forwards and Referee Stephen O Brien kept play flowing superbly by being very sharp at the breakdown.
The islanders put up a fight but after just ten minutes Wilding completed his scoring from another short scrum, before Tuinasakea fed Rich Retallick to score under the posts.
Winger Dave Catt was next up striking from 50 metres, before Pollard and Staff again combined for Stott to go over.
Staff was soon at it again putting Farr in for a debut try before grabbing his own score after a great Martin Smiles break.
He then provided Preece with the final word as Isle of Wight completely ran out of steam. Retallick added three conversions to the score, but also claimed the strangest hat trick of the day striking the uprights with three other attempts in a dreadful day for kickers. Afterwards Coach Andy Waite was very happy with the performance “With all the changes and uncertainty with the weather, we did very well to focus today.” He said.
“The conditions were difficult, but we played some very impressive stuff at times. The tight play was superb and we used all of the possession very well. It was nice to give Dan Farr his debut and show once again that there is a clear pathway to first team rugby for Academy players who work hard.”
Next week Andover travel to Alton as the league gets tighter and tighter at the top.