Andover bridge the gap in Hampshire League title race

Action from Andover's clash with Romsey.

Action from Andover's clash with Romsey.

First published in Rugby Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Rugby correspondent and sub-editor

Andover ’Bridge THE gap in title race Andover moved from second place to red hot favourites to claim the Snows Group 1 title – and with it automatic promotion – in the space of 80 minutes.

Battling Fordingbridge started the afternoon in pole position and produced a great victory at US Portsmouth.

But the New Forest side could not manage to produce the vital bonus point they needed to stay on top and Andover pounced with a 74-12 walloping of Romsey.

The new leaders are on the same points total as ’Bridge but have a superior ‘for and against’ difference. The sides both face teams from the other end of the table in the final games on Saturday – ’Bridge are at home to Southampton and the All Blacks are on home turf to rock bottom Overton who have won just once this season.

Paul Tuinasakea struck three times in Andover’s 11-try demolition of Test Valley neighbours Romsey.

And there were braces from Marc Wilding and Jack Stott and single efforts from Nic Reed, Dave Catt, Jake Kane and James Dawson.

Martin Smiles added 19 points with the boot.

Coach Andy Waite said: “We now need to just win with a bonus point at home to bottom club Overton next weekend to ensure we finish as champions and gain direct promotion back to the London leagues after Fordingbridge blinked first in the stand-off at the top of Hampshire Division 1.”

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