Andover 43 Sandown and Shanklin 11
As the league enters its final weeks Oakwood sponsored Andover show no signs of letting nerves get the better of them, as they once again overwhelmed a spirited visiting side last Saturday.
Sandown and Shanklin were off the back of four wins in five themselves and desperate for points to avoid the drop, but they found Andover in no mood for charity, as a seven try blast kept the home side top of London South West division three.
Andover are now a point clear of London Exiles, but as two go up it is looking good for both sides, as third placed Eastleigh lost again to give them genuine breathing space.
In truth this one was never in doubt as ‘The Hurricanes’ as Sandown are known, were themselves blown away, in an incredible opening twenty minutes.
The pace and intensity with which Andover started the game would have been too much for many more illustrious opponents and Sandown soon succumbed.
A superb passage of interplay between forwards and backs took Andover deep into the Sandown twenty two and when Alex Kane fed George Roscoe, his pass fizzed to Charlie Waite to open the scoring.
Minutes later Andover repeated the dose with an almost identical try.
This time Dave Catt finished neatly in the corner after being fed by Kane and Charlie Waite added a superb conversion from the touchline.
Sandown to be fair fought back and put Andover under some pressure, but excellent defence kept them at bay.
The visitors landed a long range penalty and missed another as Andover became a little careless, but they soon made amends when a fantastic Nic Reed break saw the teenage duo of Roscoe and Waite only denied by a cynical penalty offence.
From the resulting lineout Simon Preece completed a catch and drive to put Andover in complete command.
Sandown showed belligerence and responded with a penalty just before the break but in the second half playing up the slope with a strong wind at their back, Andover soon finished them off.
A lack of patience prevented a couple of chances being taken, but when Charlie Waite fielded a long kick there came a moment of wonderful counter attacking that had the large crowd in raptures.
Waite beat the onrushing chasers and fed Elliott Copestake who scythed through the defence on a fifty yard run, before giving Niko Rowe a perfectly timed pass to go in under the posts for a try converted by Waite.
Not to be outdone soon after Roscoe took a lovely Kane pass from a scrum and dummied the defence before sprinting forty meters to score himself, with Waite again adding the extras.
Andover were rampant and all Sandown could do was try to keep the score down.
From a lineout a neat set move put Sam Froggett away and he showed the youngsters he still has plenty of pace finishing excellently from distance.
Andover went close several more times as Tom Erskine, Matt Moore and Alex Morgan and all shone in the loose, but over enthusiasm and desperate defence kept them at bay.
Andover were not done however and from a lineout catch and drive the ball was held up short and the ever reliable Tom Waite was on hand to dive over for a try he and his front row colleagues richly deserved.
Brother Charlie converted and that should have been that.
With the last move of the game however Andover’s attacking ambition got the better of them and instead of kicking the ball out to end the game, they got turned over and Sandown grabbed a consolation for all of their hard work.
Afterwards Coach Andy Waite was very happy with the performance “We played very well today and I don’t think many teams could have lived with us at times.”
“We dominated lineout and scrum, played some lovely open running rugby and gave our supporters a real treat. I thought Marc Wilding was excellent and Alex Kane ran the game at scrum half.”
“Nick Reed and Tom Waite were excellent as always and when they play well together like this, they give us such an attacking platform.”
“Next week away at New Milton is now a massive game in the context of the season. If we can get any kind of win there we really are in touching distance of a great achievement.”