Andover 50 Teddington 3
A sensational sporting story unfolded at the Goodship ground last Saturday as two established Andover players were joined by younger siblings in the Oakwood sponsored first fifteen and between them blew away a plucky Teddington outfit.
It was all brotherly love as Centre Niko Rowe was joined in the back line by 19 year old brother Taro for his first team debut and hooker Tom Waite likewise welcomed his younger brother Charlie for his first start at fullback, at just seventeen years old.
It was Charlie who grabbed the headlines with a stunning display of pace, power and skill for such a young player, but in truth Taro equally impressed with a defensive performance that belied his years.
“Obviously as his dad I am very proud of what Charlie achieved, but I was equally pleased with Taro who put in some monstrous hits and looks a real prospect” said director of rugby Andy Waite.
Club legend and equally proud dad Johnny Rowe watched on from the sidelines, as Andover took this game by the scruff of the neck from the start and never let go.
Tom Erskine led the charge and looks a dangerous animal at the moment, crashing over after just three minutes for the opening score.
Charlie Waite was just wide with the conversion, but soon got his personal tally ticking with a well struck penalty.
The visitors came back well and soon struck a penalty of their own, but it proved to be a false dawn for them as the Andover forward power began to tell.
Once again Andover reigned supreme at scrum and lineout with Erskine and Marc Wilding in imperious form.
The front five were given a tougher test this time, but still drove the visitors back mercilessly at the scrum and with this platform Andover’s excellent backs took full advantage.
Andy Franklin and Alex Kane pulled the strings at half back as Andover turned the screw and after great work from Nic Reed, Niko Rowe crashed through the Teddington defence to score.
Charlie Waite added the extras and Andover began to take complete control.
Sam Froggett went close after a superb run and was not to be denied, as from a resulting scrum he was fed by Wilding for a lovely try.
Charlie Waite was again successful and Andover went into half time with a healthy lead.
Teddington came out of the blocks like men possessed in the second half and it was Andover’s turn to defend.
And defend they did. Taro Rowe was outstanding as the whole Andover team put in tackle after tackle and this defence led to a turn over that proved the decisive moment of the game.
Awarded a scrum on their own line Charlie Waite mishit the resulting clearance kick badly, but was on the loose ball in a flash to sprint the length of the pitch and score a breathtaking try he converted himself.
Minutes later Froggett shut the door completely on the visitors plucking a deft Wilding cross kick out of the air to score before leaving the pitch with a foot injury.
With game and bonus point secured Andover could have relaxed but they were having none of it.
Tom Waite not to be outdone, capped a powerful display with an opportunist try and Simon Preece was soon on hand to finish the move of the game, both tries again converted by Charlie Waite.
Teddington pulled themselves together after this onslaught and fought back well in the last quarter.
As Andover rang the changes and used the bench they were forced to defend and once again were outstanding.
In truth the visitors deserved a try but it was testament to the Andover spirit that simply would not yield in front of a large noisy crowd willing them not to concede.
With the last move of the game it looked as though Teddington had got their score but a brilliant last ditch double tackle from Martin Smiles and Charlie Waite held them up and that was that.
“I cannot speak highly enough of that performance” said Andy Waite afterwards.
“Obviously it was great for me and Johnny from a personal perspective, but from a team and club point of view it was a wonderful all round performance.”
“Teddington were a good side and made it tough but we just kept going and going and showed we are in this league to stay.”
“We now have two tough away games in London to navigate and if we can get something from either of those we will be in a decent overall position.“