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‘Fitness and athleticism’ help Winchester to the win

“We knew that Andover would bring a powerful pack and build their attack around that”, said Winchester captain and No8 Matt Golding after last Saturday’s 30-17 victory at North Walls Park, “so we trained accordingly.” writes Tim Fell.

In a stop-start match marred by 36 penalties awarded by Hampshire Society referee Peter Woodward and by a bitter northerly wind, the first score came when Winchester were penalised for pulling down an Andover attacking maul, and the visitors’ full-back Rich Retallick kicked the penalty.

But Winchester could maul too, driving Andover up on the right until they were penalised in turn for pulling it down. Fly-half Josh Tolan kicked for the corner, Winchester won the lineout, and after six phases of pick-and-go Winchester second-row Isaac Batho was over the line for a try. Tolan added the extras, and Winchester were in the lead 7-3.

Five minutes later, Winchester won a lineout on Andover’s 22-metre line and another of Winchester’s youngsters, scrum-half Jack Phillips, raced up the right-hand touchline and round to touch down behind the posts. Tolan converted and the score moved to 14-3.

The last 10 minutes of the first half saw two more scores. First, Andover left wing Stan Bell caught the Winchester defence out of position and touched down in the corner for an unconverted try, and then Tolan kicked a penalty, and with the score at 17-10 Mr Woodward whistled for half-time.

It was not until the fourth quarter of the match that, as Andover’s big men began to tire, there was any further score. Attacking up the middle in Andover’s half, Tolan wrong-footed the Andover defence with an outrageous dummy, passed to second-row Matt Lown, who offloaded for winger Alex Horger to touch down in the corner. 22-10.

A penalty for Tolan followed, but after yet another penalty, this time against Winchester, Andover scrum-half Sean Higgins tapped and went, touching down under Winchester’s posts. 25-17.

Following another penalty against Andover, Tolan kicked to the corner, Winchester won the lineout, and blind-side flanker Jack Coles was over the…


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