Leaders tested in first half
ASHFORD PUT IN A STRONG PERFORMANCE AGAINST KENT 1 PACESETTERS BEFORE FADING IN THE SECOND HALF
AFTER holding Dartfordians to a 7-5 lead at half-time, Ashford’s young side were overpowered by the Kent 1 leaders in the second half of Saturday’s game.
Ashford captain Pete Walsh said: “The boys were tremendous in the first half. We knew we had nothing to lose and really took the game to Dartfordians. But in the second half, they made their greater experience and weight in the pack tell.”
Trailing to an early converted try, Ashford grabbed a try of their own that their first-half efforts deserved when, from a Dartfordians 22m drop-put, Ashford skipper Peter Walsh made the catch and then charged to the home side’s 5m line.
He was tackled by two players but still managed to find Mike Watson with a pass and the inside centre dived over the line.
That try gave Ashford renewed hope for the second half, but what it couldn’t do was to make up for the disparity in the size of the respective packs, and Dartfordians gradually turned the screw up front as the Ashford youngsters tired.
The consequence was several more tries for the home side while Ashford could only respond with two penalties from fly-half JJ Murray.
Walsh said: “I was proud of our performance against a team who have won every one of their league games this season and we should take great encouragement from it.” fourth-placed Gillingham Anchorians.
ASHFORD took a strong 2nd team to Thanet on Saturday and beat the home side’s 4ths 10-5.
The visitors opted to play the first half with what little wind there was behind them and that proved useful as it was difficult for Thanet to clear their lines.
The first 20 minutes saw Ashford camped in the opposition’s half but a combination of strong defence and bad communication in the Ashford ranks meant that it remained scoreless.
That changed, however, when the ball was recycled quickly from the breakdown and passed to Tom Morris on the Thanet 10 metre line. Morris threw a long pass to Bobby Smith on the left wing who then evaded two tackles and broke through a third to score.
Shortly afterwards, they were awarded a scrum on the opposition 22. Steve Mantkelow spotted a gap and raced through to make it 10-0.
The second half was a different story, with Thanet in the ascendancy for much of the time. Excellent cover defence from Ashford, combined with superb scrummaging from the forwards, disrupted Thanet well but a try was eventually conceded. The last 10 minutes was keenly contested but Ashford held out.
ASHFORD under-14s ploughed their way through the mud to record a 29-10 victory at Aylesford on Sunday.
They opened the scoring when Zac Porter raced down the wing for a try, with Tom Hinckes adding the conversion.
Liam Jackson was instrumental in the next try, timing a perfect pass for Max Reeves to dive over.
From the restart, Aylesford’s forwards were now keeping the ball at close quarters and they mauled and rucked their way up the pitch for a try in the right corner.
The final score of the half came when Cooper and Dray moved the ball out for Pearce to touch down. Hinckes hit the upright with his conversion attempt to leave Ashford 17-5 in front at half-time.
Ashford made some changes for the second half and one of their replacements, Tom Killeen, drove through Aylesford’s defensive wall to touch down.
The rain continued to come down but Aylesford didn’t give up and were rewarded with a well-worked try.
Aylesford then tried to pressurise Olli Gray at full back but he responded with a huge kick upfield into the wind, which bounced beautifully for Jackson to gather and sprint in under the posts. Conybear added the conversion to round off a satisfying afternoon for Ashford.