Below-strength Basingstoke RFC third string lose to Andover

Basingstoke Gazette: Below-strength Basingstoke RFC third string lose to Andover Below-strength Basingstoke RFC third string lose to Andover

THE Basingstoke third team welcomed league leaders Andover II to Down Grange last Saturday, with injuries forcing the hosts to field a side containing several players out of position and without a bench to call upon.

Andover started strongly, scoring a try within the first few minutes of the match as ’Stoke were caught flat-footed. This was quickly followed by another score as Andover showed why they are top of the league, securing good ball at the breakdown and working it wide to stretch the home side’s defence.

It took a while but ’Stoke did begin to settle and play some good phases, forwards working hard at the breakdown, with Alan Sturgess and Iain Coles seemingly hitting every ruck and securing it.

This possession finally resulted in a penalty some 10 metres inside the Andover half, which was despatched by Sion Hughes. Another penalty followed 10 minutes later, bringing a cracking first half to a close.

Basingstoke started brightly after the break, but they were unable to convert territory into scores and Andover became dominant, running in a series of tries.

Basingstoke never stopped working and can take heart from a good team performance but Andover were the better side and won the game 40-6.

The fourth team faced Tottonians IV with just 13 players. The visitors provided a man but that was where their generosity ended as they dominated the game from the first whistle.

A serious injury to Basingstoke’s Scott Barnard saw the flanker take an ambulance to hospital but the visitors picked up where they had left off once the game restarted.

The final score was a 26-5 victory for Tottonians, with Martyn Bagshaw scoring the ’Stoke try.

Basingstoke coach Steve Parker said: “It was a tough week. Our injury list seems to grow on an almost daily basis, but on the positive side we are sending several players to the second team, which is great for the boys.

“At the moment, it’s a case of patching them up and sending them out as we near the Christmas break. I cannot fault the effort from either side though. It shows how much of a squad we are that the players all put in 100 per cent for each other.”

There was more bad news elsewhere as the second team lost 43-5 at Gosport and Fareham and the fifth string game had to be called off.

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