OF ALL the close games Andover have had this season this was definitely the one that got away, as they lost 17-10 to the visiting Weybridge Vandals in their latest London Three South west contest.

It defies logic that the Oakwood sponsored All Blacks lost this game such was their dominance.

However, in the end they managed to courtesy of some wasteful finishing and some key decisions that didn’t go their way.

Playing up the slope in the first half Andover began well with Conor Green prominent in the loose.

The scrum was dominant and in the lineout James Smith gave a steady supply of ball.

Andover seemed nervous and edgy and a series of handling errors, one with the line begging, allowed Weybridge Vandals to survive.

After continuous pressure a knock on gave the visitors a scrum in their own twenty two and from there they managed to break away and score despite the brave efforts of Rich Retallick’s cover tackle.

Andover and the large home crowd were stunned but the home side responded well.

The hard running of Tom Waite led to a penalty.

This was slotted over by Retallick, but as Andover pressed again several great chances went begging fro the home side.

Andover kept going and finally took a half time lead when the Andover pack drove over a five meter scrum for a try converted by Retallick.

It all seemed fine with the slope in favour but almost as soon as the half began Andover were put on the back foot.

Impressive Andover centre Billy Pollard was harshly yellow carded and although that 10 minute spell was negotiated, soon after skipper Alex Hibdige was given the same fate for allegedly pulling down a driving maul when the hoem side looked to have weathered a rare Vandals attack.

Missing the big prop was a blow but once again even a man down Andover dominated and could have retaken the lead.

With half back debutant Sean Higgins and Harrison Pape pulling the strings great breaks from Green, Alex Arter and Josh Gibbs all went close, but Andover were denied by a last ditch tackle.

As time went on frustration grew and Andover gave away several silly penalties that allowed Weybridge Vandals to clear. Eventually one was in kicking range and the visitors needed no second bidding.

Even then Andover had chances but it was not to be and once again had to settle for a bonus point.

Afterwards director of rugby Andy Waite said: “It’s very frustrating for the lads at the moment. They are working hard and actually playing quite well generally, but you can feel the nervousness at times and we’ve got to overcome that.

“We don’t seem to be getting the rub of the green anywhere at the moment, but we’ll keep at it as we know that can change and there’s plenty of games to go to get out of trouble.”

Andover’s final game of 2019 will see them make the the short trip across north Hampshire to Basingstoke.

Their Hampshire rivals are fourth in the table, while Andover are ninth.