Firsts turn on the power

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport -

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

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