With the first team out of action for the Easter weekend, all eyes at Ashfield RUFC focused on the development squad’s last league game of the season.
And they didn’t let anybody down, signing off for the campaign in style by scoring seven tries in a 39-0 whitewash win over North Hykeham.
in the first half, Tom Childs crossed the line twice and Kenny Lang once, and after the break, further tries from Dan Littlewood, Lang, Stephen King and Matt Upton secured the runaway home triumph.
The success suggested that the future of the club is in good hands, and manager Geoff Lang was full of praise for his troops at the final whistle.
“The guys were outstanding today against a very strong North Hykeham side,” said Lang.
“The visitors competed well in the first half, but we took our chances when they came along. As the second half progressed, our quality was the difference.
“It was a fantastic performance from everyone involved, but the biggest plus for me was the clean sheet. There is no doubt that a good defence wins games.”
The tone for the match was set from the first whistle when Ashfield launched a high-tempo start. Their set-piece of scrum and line out worked to perfection and with shrewd interchanges from manager Lang, the North Hykeham pack were faced with fresh players, through rotation, on a frequent basis.
The scrum was strong and stable and also drove the Lincolnshire visitors’ pack backwards on many occasions. The line out was also solid, showing a good variation of jumper at two and four that set a solid platform for the backs.
Forwards John White, Richard Hutchinson and Scott Chapman, all pushed by scrum-half Tim Gibbons, contributed throughout too, giving that much-needed continuity and allowing the backs to do what they do best -- running strong and making direct lines.
This was typified by Kenny Lang, King and Cal Sheriff, who never refused the opportunity to turn defence into attack. They were lightning quick, forcing their opposite numbers on to the back foot and allowing them very few opportunities to mount any meaningful attacks.
This created the space for the willing runners to exploit, resulting in the fine tally of seven tries.
The match was a fitting end to a league campaign that, at times, has been challenging, but has also heaped credit on the players for their commitment, which has been underlined by the high numbers turning up on matchdays.
Ashfield’s first team return to National League, Midlands 3 East (North) division action this Saturday when they travel to meet Lincoln, who sit third in the table, albeit 16 points behind the leaders, Kesteven.
Their next home game is an attractive clash against second-placed Loughborough on Saturday, April 9.