Effingham & Leatherhead 44 – Andover 17

Andover RFC 17 – 44 Eagles

Seniors 1XV • League • Sat 3rd Feb 18, 2:30PM

Effingham & Leatherhead travelled to Andover on Saturday securing a fantastic win that takes them out of the relegation places for the first time this season. Kicking off and playing down the sloping Andover pitch, E&L enjoyed the early possession and exchanges and a frustrated Andover pack gave away 2 penalties which were comfortably converted by Eagles fly half Brian Collins. Playing with pace and moving the ball wide at every opportunity, it wasn’t long until some slick interpassing saw Eagles skipper Jamie Thompson finish off a great move. It was converted taking the score to 13-0. Eagles maintained the pressure and continued to move the ball wide, securing another 2 tries, 1 from each winger Antony Penny and Robert Ellis. Again these were converted to take the score to 27-0. From the re-start the ball was knocked on and Andover were awarded a rare scrum in the Eagles half. Andover then managed to get their forwards working together and from the resulting rolling maul and pick and drives got over to score a converted try to take the score to 27-7. Eagles hit back immediately and again with a smart bit of backs interplay saw winger Robert Ellis go over for his second, securing the bonus point try and taking the score to 32-7 at half time.  

 The second half started as the first finished and with the Eagles playing uphill, with only 1 minute of the half gone, winger Antony Penny finished off a superb back move to push the score to 37-7. This score jolted Andover into action and they suddenly started to control the possession a bit more and worked their way close to the Eagles line. From the resulting scrum, Andover massively out-weighing the Eagles forwards were able to drive over to score. They repeated this 10 minutes later and the score stood at 37-17. Andover were desperate to get another try to get a bonus point but The Eagles defended superbly knowing that every point counts in this league and with the Andover focussed on trying to score, Brian Collins nipped through a gap in their defence line to score under the posts. He converted his try to finish the game 44-17.

 Coach Dan Blythe said, “We had completely the opposite tactics to Andover, needing to get the ball into our backline where they are weaker and knowing that they would want to have the ball stay in their forwards which is their style.” He added, “ For the first 50 minutes we played with speed and intensity that Andover were unable to match allowing us to implement our game plan to almost perfection. It was an amazing team performance and a great away win.”

Report by Dom Cornwell