Crucial win could be turning point
EFFORTS REWARDED: Skipper praises team’s work ethic
AFTER losing their previous five Kent 1 matches, Ashford got back on track with a 26-17 victory over a Cranbrook side who had soundly beaten them a month earlier.
They started the game strongly, dominating in scrums and line-outs, and Trevor Marama produced a typical run and strong finish from 30 yards to score under the posts. Karl Harding converted for 7-0.
With the pack winning solid clean ball, winger Billy Bright fielded a crossfield kick to score a try in the corner which Harding converted superbly.
Although Ashford then put themselves under some unnecessary pressure with examples of the indiscipline that has caused problems in their recent matches, Cranbrook were unable to capitalise and went in at the break trailing 14-0.
But soon after the restart Cranbrook scored a soft try, following some sloppy defence, which they converted for 14-7 to put them right back in the game.
However, good line-out work from hooker Paul Curry and jumpers Nigel Body and James Fearne saw Ashford spin the ball wide to find Grant Burden, who spun out of several tackles to finish a great move for an unconverted try.
Cranbrook struck back quickly with another try but the conversion attempt hit the post, leaving Ashford 19-12 in front.
And the home side then produced their best spell of rugby of the game.
With all 15 men working together, they moved upfield resulting in a line-out eight metres from the line. A good throw from Norman to man-of-the-match Fearne set up a maul which the Ashford pack controlled to allow Owen Roberts to stretch over the line and score the deciding try, with Harding again adding the two points.
Ashford captain John Norman said: “If we can keep up this momentum and desire to win, we can easily turn this season around in 2009.
“We are working hard in training and the team spirit on Saturday was superb.”