Andover 27 Warlingham 18
If there were any lingering doubts that Oakwood sponsored Andover can be a threat at this higher level of rugby, they were firmly dispelled at the Goodship ground last Saturday as high flying Warlingham were overcome in a bruising but very entertaining encounter.
Both sides played a fast open and exciting brand of rugby and it made for a fantastic first home game for the Andover faithful to enjoy.
Andover began well and took the lead through and early Charlie Waite penalty and the same player was soon involved at the other end as he and Stefan long produced a last ditch double tackle to prevent a certain try.
Warlingham drew level with a penalty of their own but Andover then retook the lead.
The Andover pack began turning the screw in the tight and from a penalty Kieran Jenvey was held up but hooker Tome Waite picked up and burrowed over for a try.
Soon after came the first of three marvellous Andover scores in the backs.
From quick ruck ball Jenvey was again the provider, as his double miss pass gave Elliot Copestake the chance to dance over for the ‘All Blacks’.
Andover were then put under sustained pressure by the visitors but defended well before conceding a further three points and just before the break were reminded once again that at this level you are casual at your peril.
A loose kick gave Warlingham an easy run in and despite their dominance Andover were once again level.
Andover didn’t panic though and showed they are learning as they kept the ball and hammered at the opposition line for almost fifteen minutes after the restart.
Warlingham defended bravely but the pressure had to tell and when it did it was a peach of a move.
Ollie Lindridge was reigning supreme in the lineout and from his lovely ball, Alex Kane’s deft pass put Niko Rowe through the gap and he fed Sam Froggett for a fine try. Charlie Waite converted and Andover seemed to be clear.
Not so though as poor concentration from the kick off handed Warlingham the ball and they showed just why they have title aspirations of their own with a lovely score.
To their credit though Andover once again took it on the chin stuck to their game plan and finally put the game to bed.
From another lineout Copestake galloped fifty metres and fed the evergreen Froggett for his second try again converted by Waite and the bonus point win was finally secure.
Afterwards Coach Andy Waite was in a very happy mood: “We made some tactical adjustments at half time and the players did exactly what was asked of them to produce a fine win” he said.
“Nic Reed is doing a superb job at stand in skipper and his leadership was a key factor. They were a very good and physical side but we played to our strengths, kept calm and won a pulsating game. It’s lovely to be up and running in this league.”