Leaders tested in first half


Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

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.

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