Lead­ers main­tain their edge

ASH­FORD SKIP­PER KNIGHTS HAILS HIS PLAY­ERS AF­TER THEY SE­CURE NINTH SUC­CES­SIVE WIN WITH SU­PERB ALL-ROUND PER­FOR­MANCE

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - All The Week’s Action... -

Ash­ford’s three-try dis­play in the Kin­neys Field mud en­sured the Lon­don South East 3 lead­ers started the New Year in win­ning style on Satur­day.

The game took place on the sec­ond team’s pitch, the only one of four playable on a windy, rainy af­ter­noon.

Rhys Fus­sell, JJ Mur­ray, and man-of-the-match Dan Brown were the try scor­ers, with Gary Crox­ton kick­ing a hat-trick of con­ver­sions.

Ash­ford got stronger as the game con­tin­ued on their way to a ninth suc­ces­sive league win – a run which be­gan af­ter a 30-33 home de­feat against this weekend’s op­po­nents Hor­sham in early Oc­to­ber.

Skip­per Adam Knight said: “Con­di­tions weren’t easy but the team per­formed great as we could eas­ily have got com­pla­cent half­way through the first half but we car­ried on play­ing.

“We worked hard in train­ing over the Christ­mas break and it all worked out well. “We have a tough game away at third-placed Hor­sham this weekend and we need another win as the gap be­tween us and Thanet Wan­der­ers is only three points.”

For­mer lead­ers Thanet kept up their pro­mo­tion hopes by beat­ing Folke­stone 27-10 at St Peter’s.

Knight added: “There were many stand-out play­ers. Both half backs Rory Beach and

ASH­FORD JJ (Mur­ray) pro­duced great dis­plays, as they al­ways do.

“The back three of (Gary) Crox­ton, Grant Burdon and (Rhys) Fus­sell also per­formed well, es­pe­cially un­der the high balls.

“We won 90% of our own ball in the line-out, which set up a great plat­form to play.

“The back row of Lewis Stimp­son Ben Knight and ( Dan) Brown we r e also prom­i­nent.”

“The weather was bad at the start and never got any bet­ter, giv­ing nei­ther t e am any ad­van­tage.”

Full-back Fus­sell drew first blood for Ash­ford, scor­ing the open­ing try to round­off some great pres­sure by the home team.

Crox­ton con­verted but Dart­for­dians replied soon af­ter with a Ciaran Kent penalty.

Both teams main­tained a good tempo, de­spite the wors­en­ing con­di­tions.

Ash­ford’s backs kept to their game plan of mov­ing the ball quickly, while Beach and Mur­ray both kicked clev­erly, keep­ing Dart­for­dians deep in their own half.

A deep kick into the Darts 22 saw winger Burdon chase well, box in his op­po­site num­ber, caus­ing him to fum­ble, which al­lowed Mur­ray to snap up another try. Crox­ton added another con­ver­sion.

Darts then scored a well worked try off a line-out, cour­tesy of Danny Tay­lor and Kent’s con­ver­sion closed the gap to just four points at half­time. The sec­ond half proved a real strug­gle for both sides as the pitch turned into a mud­bath. Nei­ther side looked like scor­ing, with both teams can­celling each other out. How­ever, Ash­ford pro­duced another break­through with around 20 min­utes left, as No.8 Brown went over. Crox­ton added the con­ver­sion to com­plete the scor­ing.

Pic­ture: Gary Browne FM2973830

OUT OF REACH: Ash­ford look to slip the Dart­for­dians de­fence at

Kin­neys Field on Satur­day

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