Newly promoted Reeds knew that they were going to face some big town sides with heavy aggressive forwards and the script for this game could have been written before the game had even started, Andover are a side who can physically dominate their opponents and they were up against a lighter Reeds side who prefer to play the game in the open spaces. Reeds problem in that first quarter was getting their hands on the ball as the big Andover forwards, playing down the slope, recycled possession hammering into the rucks and mauls driving ever closer to the try line. Reeds delivered some shuddering tackles whilst keeping their discipline, but points had to come from a series of rolling mauls, and it was flanker Simon Preece who finally touched down for an unconverted try to put Andover 5-0 up around the 15 minute mark. Out wide it was a different story, with a potent combination of Ollie Palmer at the base of the scrum firing out some bullet passes to fly half Jonny Rogers, they began to unravel the Andover defence with their shrewd reading of the game, it was Rogers blind side move that unleashed young Rhys Lewis out on the wing, Lewis has some serious pace and he was away, try line bound without a hand being laid on him for a converted try. Reeds were back in the game and sensed if they could secure enough possession, they had the backs to collect all the points. Reeds went on the attack, up the slope deep in Andover territory. Young Rhys Lewis was in the action again, he broke free, thirty metres out but close to the touchline, the defence almost put him out of play, but he has such blistering pace and finishing power and that took him over the line close to the flag for an unconverted try. Reeds had their noses in front at 12-5, but not for long, when those big Andover forwards were within Reeds 22 they set up a series of rolling mauls that rumbled metres at a time, Reeds couldn’t stop them and it brought rewards for Ian Smith the No 8 as he burst off the back of the maul to level the scores. It was skipper Billy Maddock who collected Reeds third try of the day, all pace and power with some sharp footwork as well, he took a pass some fifteen metres out and bashed his way over for another seven pointer. Just before the break those Andover forwards were on the march again and they rumbled over to bring them within a couple of points of Reeds lead, resulting in a half time score of 17-19 to Reeds.

Crucially Reeds had the slope in the second half and it became clear that they were the fitter side as well. Reeds second half bonus point try came from an unlikely source, a lineout some thirty metres out from the Andover line, a long throw ended up in the hands of Alex Corner, Reeds influential No 8, he accelerated away off the back of the line, the defence were caught napping and the No 8 was in by the flag. Andover were seven points adrift, struggling up the hill in the hot conditions against Reeds who were mounting a series of attacks from all parts of the park. Reeds looked good for more points but unusually they spilled a couple of scoring opportunities that would have put the game to bed. It wasn’t until late on that Reeds made the game safe and it was by way of young Rhys Lewis who collected his hat trick with a mazy run that took him over the line. Rogers banged the conversion over leaving the town side with just ten minutes to score at least two converted tries to draw the game. Andover finished the game on the attack in Reeds territory, but it was Reeds who came away with the win and the four try bonus point as well.

No question about the Man of the Match, young Rhys Lewis collected that honour for his hat trick of tries on his debut.


Next week Reeds are Away against local rivals Old Georgians, Kick off 3:00pm and where they can expect to come up against a side who play in a similar style to them.

George Spinks
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