Ellingham and Ringwood welcomed Andover on Saturday for their first home game of season, as a newly promoted club in Hampshire Counties Division 1, writes Steven Benson

The pitch looking splendid bathed in autumnal sunshine and before kick off the players and spectators held a minute's applause for former first-team captain Dave Carter, who sadly passed away and will be missed, but not forgotten.

Andover got off to a strong start and within five minutes they'd muscled their way through the Ellingham defence with their lock forward Tom Erskine crashing over for a try that was converted. With direct running and pulling Ellingham's defence this way and that, Andover soon scored their second try, which was again converted to give them a 14-0.

Ellingham started to fight back and after some sustained pressure, Andover conceded a penalty that Ellingham's fly half Sammy Veneroso kicked to reduce the deficit.

No sooner had Ellingham restored some parity, Andover fought back and within a couple of minutes a penalty was awarded to Andover, which they duly kicked. Ellingham then began to string some passes together and put Andover's under pressure close to their line.

From this, Ellingham's lock forward Duncan Soden, who was later made Ellingham's 'player of the match', used his strength to power over for their first try of the game, but unfortunately Sammy Veneroso was not successful with the conversion.

Andover fought back and scored their third try, but could not convert it.

Then, due to constant infringement by Ellingham players, their flanker Lewis Nicholls was shown a yellow card, but with 14 players on the pitch, they scored their second try of the game, when after sustained pressure Sammy Veneroso sniped through to score, but again was not successful with the conversion.

Not to be outdone, Andover secured a bonus point when they scored their fourth try shortly before half time, making the score 13-29 at the break.

Andover also started the second half well, scoring a converted try to extend their lead. The game then got a little feisty, with both teams being warned by the referee about constant infringements and tackle heights.

This resulted in Andover's flanker Bryn Waite being shown a red card. This was followed shortly afterwards by another Andover player being shown a yellow card.

Ellingham capitalised on their advantage well and using the width of their pitch and the pace of their backs, their wing three-quarter Jack Kelly scored in the far corner in front of the clubhouse and the large crowd watching.

The try was not converted and Andover then showed their strength and fitness levels by scoring two more tries to extended their lead.

At this point, Ellingham's only hope of getting something out of a hard fought game was to score a fourth try, which they eventually did when their lock forward Mike Treloar dived under the posts with the last play of the game, which Sammy Veneroso converted.

Allen Gilbert, Ellingham's former prop forward and owner of their main sponsor Westmade, attended the game and the picture shows Allen (on the right) before the game with Ellingham's 1st XV captain Andrew Lorton, who's currently injured.