Andover 9 London Cornish 16
After a brave and skillful effort from Oakwood sponsored Andover, it was once again small margins that saw them just fall to a defeat at the hands of high flying London Cornish on 14th November.
The visitors who along with Cobham are red hot favorites for promotion expected a comfortable victory, but soon learned that no one gets an easy ride at Foxcotte Park as Andover matched them blow for blow in a pulsating affair.
‘The All Blacks welcomed back hooker Tom Waite, center Niko Rowe and stand off Callum Staff to give the lineup a stronger feel and all three were excellent.
Waite, strong in the tight and lineout and very aggressive around the park took the man of the match honors, but in truth the whole side played splendidly for most of the game and especially defensively put in a stirring performance.
Playing up the slope but with wind in favour, Andover soon let Cornish know they were in a game with some good physical forward play.
Cornish hit back but excellent defence from forwards and backs, including a thumping tackle from Ed Williams shut the door firmly.
The half continued to to and fro and it was obvious there would be little between the sides by the end.
Simon Preece turned over magnificently to prevent a Cornish score and skipper Alex Morgan was his normal disruptive self, upsetting the visitor’s game plan with some excellent floor work.
When the visitors missed an easy penalty therefore, it seemed the error could be costly and just before the break Charlie Waite punished them with a kick of his own to give Andover a half time lead.
Andover seemed to be in the driving seat but a feature of their problems so far this season, came back to haunt them after the break.
A silly penalty gave Cornish an easy three points to tie the game and then another gave them a lead that was almost a gift at this level.
Andover roared back and worked hard. The backs with Sam Froggett again outstanding more than held their own and the forwards with Tom Matt Moore and Ollie Lindridge carrying hard gained the upper hand.
Ash Gait and Ben Hall came on to try and exploit the extra space and it was the visitors turn to creak under pressure.
They soon transgressed after some desperate defending and Charlie Waite evened the game up again with a further penalty.
Having worked so hard Andover needed to focus, but a silly error from the resulting kick off gifted a try to Cornish and it was all uphill from then on.
Andover once again clawed their way back, but then came a moment of controversy in which once again Andover did not get the rub of the green.
Cornish committed a blatant killing of the ball when Andover were certain to score and although the referee rightly penalised them, there was no yellow card and Cornish were grateful just to see Charlie Waite narrow the gap again with the boot.
From the kick off Andover once again inexplicably switched off and a still full strength Cornish finally made them pay dearly by seizing the advantage to score a second try.
Afterwards Coach Andy Waite had mixed emotions “Before kickoff most people would have said getting a bonus point in a game like this would have been satisfactory” he said.
“But as the game unfolded it was clear that we are right up there and able to compete with the best sides and in the end it was only our own slight lapses in concentration that cost us.”
“We are in a bit of a false position at the moment because we’ve had an incredibly hard start to the season and haven’t played any of the sides around us yet, so if we can cut out some of these errors and play to our potential over the next few weeks I am confident we can climb the table.”
“We have Basingstoke away Saturday, the first time we’ve ever played them in a league fixture and the boys are so motivated it’s unreal. If we play like we played today we can really get our season rolling.”