IN A battling performance full of heart and spirit Oakwood sponsored Andover claimed what could be a vital away bonus point in South London last weekend, as they narrowly lost 10-3 at Warlingham.

Indeed but for better finishing and a bit more luck with the official, Andover could have come away with more.

Andover travelled with just 16 fit players and a much changed mix and match side saw the return of Billy Pollard at centre and it was his man of the match performance, along with Rich Rettalick that inspired the youngsters around them to produce a gutsy display.

Andover began with the slope and elements against on a very muddy wet day and were soon under pressure.

The powerful Andover pack struggled at scrum time in the slippery conditions and with the lineout also misfiring, they struggled to clear their lines.

Undaunted though led by youngster CJ Fiern in the back row Andover's defensive work was impressive.

Fine tackling from Josh Gibbs, Rettalick and a corner to corner try saver from Mark Vigneaux typified the spirit and frustrated the large home crowd for much of the half.

Up front the big carrying of skipper Alex Hibdige, Nic Reed and the guile of James Smith were also a constant menace.

After 25 minutes of siege Andover did finally succumb to two tries in the corner, but with neither converted it was game on in the second half.

After the break Andover took control and poured forwards.

Fin Waite standing in at hooker for brother Tom began hitting the lineouts and Harry Batt, who volunteered to play despite illness, suddenly grew into the game.

A series of penalties gave Andover several chances and when Callum Farr was high tackled when certain to score it looked like Warlingham had cracked.

The referee duly issued a yellow card but not a penalty try and Andover had to think again.

It was all one way traffic, but a tough home defence wouldn't give in and with time running out Retallick kicked three points after a good decision from Hibdige.

With the impressive Simon Preece off to a yellow card from the restart Warlingham launched their only real attack of the second half.

With minutes to go Warlingham looked like they were about to break Andover's hearts, but when their big second row broke through Andover's 17-year-old replacement Bryn Waite put in the best tackle of his fledgling career, the ball was dropped forward and Andover had their precious point.

Afterwards director of rugby Andy Waite said: "When you're up against it you're looking for people who want to fight and we had that in spades today.

"From Sam Earle who answered the call late, to harry who played when he shouldn't have done really and the two superb young colts, these guys stood up to a man and got what could be the point that makes a difference."

Andover this weekend in London Three South West have a tough game as second placed Old Tiffinians are the visitors.