Sat 13
GT Academy U16s
U16s 26 - 26 Andover

U16s 26 - 26 Andover

By Natalie Davidson
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A wonderfully exciting Hampshire U16s League game under the lights at Footes Lane

The home side had led 26-12 but Andover came back for a deserved draw and the visitors also had a kick for the match, but the penalty flew well wide.

‘I would have been absolutely gutted if that guy had scored with the last kick,’ admitted joint coach, Brian Evans.

‘Considering it was just our third game of the season we did well,’ he added.

‘But we need to work as a team and learn game management when we are in winning positions. But that will come with experience.’

Andover had started the stronger and the home team were forced into some good defensive work in the opening five minutes.

The visitors had a chance to go ahead with a penalty from range wide on the right, but the kick was pulled horribly wide and in the seventh minute home winger Jamie Baines sprinted fully 60m down the left touchline and such was his turn of pace that he was then able to continue his run beyond the try line and score under the posts which made it all nice and easy for kicker Dan Rice.

The lead did not last long, though, as Andover’s skilful skull-cap wearing scrum half reached out to score under the posts and with the conversion going over it was 7-7 midway through the half.

The home side lost front-rower Liam Torode to suspected concussion after 25 minutes’ play but the home side did not allow the loss to worry them and Theo Cross raced clear to score.

Rice added the extras, but by the break they had been pegged back to 14-12 after Andover’s excellent centre ran 40m to score a fine try.

Early in the second period Brad Webb scored in the corner following a quickly taken penalty and the home side looked to be safe when Corey Wallace added the fourth try, which Rice converted.

Guernsey now led 26-12 but a spirited Andover side were not laying down and after concerted pressure their No.12 raced over to score for a converted try.

The home side were defending for their lives by now and in the final moments they were denied the victory when the visiting full-back raced clear and swallow-dived under the posts.

The talented centre converted and it was 26-26.

A great covering tackle by Alex King prevented Andover from scoring again and with the last kick of the match the visitors had a penalty for the match.

If Guernsey’s Dan Rice had been kicking it the likelihood was that it would go safely over, but the Andover No. 12 made poor contact and seconds later the referee blew time on a great game.

Brian Evans reckoned his team needed one more score when they led by 14 points.

‘It would have killed their enthusiasm,’ he said.

‘It was quite a ferocious game from both sides.

‘Alex King made an outstanding tackle to save a try and our rucking was very good as was our breakdown play.’

That makes it now one win, one draw and one defeat in the side’s three Hampshire League games.

They look forward to playing Overton early in the new year and then five more league games following that.

‘They are a good side with some good players. It bodes well for the club with some good youngsters coming through.’

On the medical front, the good news is that young Liam was released from hospital later in the evening with mild concussion which means he will have to serve a 28-day mandatory rest.

Andover also had a player taken to the PEH and while he was kept in overnight for observation he was able to fly homer with the rest of the squad the following morning.

Team: Corey Wallace, Billy James, Liam Torode, Brett Hewlett (captain), Brad Webb, Toby Taylor, Theo Cross, Ben Dumont, Alfie Penney, Dan Rice, Jamie Baines, Simon Bradley, Piers Holbrook-Sanderson, Jacques, Le Vallee, Alex King.

Replacements: Edmund Morgan, Fraser Lloyd, Nathan Levick and Michael Le Huray.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 13, Dec 2014