Leaders maintain their edge
ASHFORD SKIPPER KNIGHTS HAILS HIS PLAYERS AFTER THEY SECURE NINTH SUCCESSIVE WIN WITH SUPERB ALL-ROUND PERFORMANCE
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.
OUT OF REACH: Ashford look to slip the Dartfordians defence at
Kinneys Field on Saturday