An away fixture at Worksop has always provided a stern test for Ashfield RUFC’s first team, but with their new found belief and momentum their 41-5 victory was one to savour as they made it 10 games unbeaten on Saturday.
A catch by Ashfield’s captain, Gareth Jones from the Worksop kick-off set the tone of the game that allowed him to charge forward.
With Daniel Chapman running on his shoulder, an attacking platform was soon fashioned.
A pass from Jones found Chapman in space, and he played a delightful ball to Billy North who had one thing on his mind, to power over the line and to score the opening try. He then picked himself up and stroked the ball majestically between the posts for an Ashfield seven-point lead.
This was nearly extended by a fast-flowing move, resulting in a knock-on by Gareth Purnell with the try line begging to be crossed.
Purnell would have an influence on this game as it progressed.
A good break by Jake Manning on 10 minutes set up Billy North for his second try of the game, but this time he failed to convert.
With only one team in this contest Worksop should have been shut out by a vastly superior Ashfield side and would have been but for a piece of improvisation.
After the ball was spilled by an Ashfield player, Worksop’s Billy Stewart fly-hacked a crossfield ball and set off like an express train with the Ashfield defence trailing in his wake.
With two further kicks, he was deep in the Ashfield half, and gathered the ball just short of the try line and crossed to score a 50m try.
With a missed conversion Worksop had reduced the deficit to 12-5.
Back came Ashfield and a fast-flowing move saw full back Pete Alldread dive over for Ashfield’s third try of the day. The conversion was tight on the touch line, but the boot of Gareth Purnell was true as Ashfield went 19-5 ahead.
A penalty to Ashfield 22m out gave Purnell another opportunity to add a further three points and with unerring accuracy the Ashfield lead was increased to 17 points. With half-time fast approaching and a scrum to Ashfield in centre field, an attacking platform was set to further extend their lead.
Scrum half Matt Upton picked the ball up at No.8 Gareth Jones’ feet, setting off down the blind side where a lurking Brent Leivers was waiting. Upton’s pass was inch-perfect and, not wanting a second invitation, Leivers steamrolled his way over the line for a good try.
North, kicking from his favoured right side, converted the try making the score 29-5 at the half-time whistle.
The second half was largely uneventful with Worksop enjoying more possession without troubling the Ashfield defence.
Ashfield crossed the try line twice more, the first a move involving Matt Upton, Jake Manning and Gareth Jones culminated in Jones scoring in the corner, Ashfield now 29 points ahead.
The final scoring play of the game saw wing Danny Wilson weave his way to the 5m line, but the ball was recycled on the Worksop side and, with time, their fly half should have cleared his lines. North had other ideas as he charged his opposite number’s kick down for Mark Denman to score from close range. The Ashfield starting XV plus replacements all played their part in securing this convincing victory. With some spirited defending and inventive attacking it was just the tonic they needed before an away trip to high flying Belper this weekend.