Firsts turn on the power
ASHFORD regained their pride and structure this Saturday with a comfortable win over old rivals Gillingham Anchorians at Kinney’s Field.
After the frustrations of the previous week Ashford were able to field the first XV as selected, this gave the side confidence to play the game they wanted and took the game to Anchorians with great determination and control.
The first quarter turned into a forwards battle with neither side being able to set their backs loose to open up the game.
Ashford stuck to their game plan and with tireless work from Joe Lakin in the back row managed to turn over some good ball for JJ Murray to distribute to the strong powerful runners of Pete Walsh and Trevor Marama in the midfield.
Anchorians, however, had pace of their own and defended well to keep Ashford from crossing the line.
Ashford maintained the pressure and were winning set-piece ball with Joe Adams doing well in the line-out, and Shane Bushell working hard around the base to allow the home side to keep attacking, with Duncan Mckay breaking free to score the first try.
Both sides continued to defend solidly so the game developed into a bruising encounter leading to a brawl situation that saw both sides loose a man to the sin bin for 10 minutes.
Ashford regained their composure better than their opposition and started to look the better side with a growing confidence. Mckay and Marama were rewarded with tries and JJ Murray, who kicked solidly all day, was rewarded with a conversion and a penalty.
There were solid performances from all Ashford players, James Ferne made his first team debut and performed well with a spirited second half, Rhys Fussell again showed his determination when he came on at scrum-half.
With the game all but over and with Ashford 20 points up Anchorians managed to use their forwards to drive a maul over the line to score a consolation try.
This was a great performance from Ashford but they must keep the same intensity and passion for the entire season and especially for their encounter with Old Gravesendians next week when they travel away to take on not only the opposition but also their sloping ground.
Pete Walsh was awarded with man of the match for his endless hard tackling Team; Norman Hainey Murray Adams Richter Lakin Ferne Bushell Bushell Murray Farai Walsh Bright Mckay Marama Ward Fussell Williams.
ASHFORD 3rd overcame a well drilled Dover 3rds 31-12 at Kinneys Field on Saturday.
Dover, who use their thirds as their development squad, have a good reputation for fast flowing rugby.
It was Ashford who started strongly though and it was not long before Shaun McLeod scored under the posts for the opening points. New Zealander, Karl Harding played for the 3rd XV as he was not yet registered to play for the first team having just flown in on Tuesday. Harding added the conversion.
Shortly after, James Goodwin romped over the line to increase Ashford’s lead and Harding added the extras. Harding then set himself up for the next try and duly converted to give Ashford a 21–0 lead at the break.
Harding converted a penalty early in the second and then Dover came back with two tries and one conversion and set the last 20 minutes up as a real nailbiter until Dover kicked out of their 22 straight into the arms of Carlum McLeod, 17 who, had been kicking the ball back before but was told to run on this occasion.
He ran from his own 10 metre line and went through the entire Dover side to score in the corner. Ashford were victorious with a well deserved 31 – 12 win over a well drilled but disheveled Dover.
Chris Menon bursts through to score for Ashford U19s against Saracens on Sunday Picture: MARTIN APPS pd1488248