Eight-try romp for awesome Ashfield

Eight different players grabbed a try each as Ashfield cruised to an emphatic 48-0 victory at Keyworth, during which they scored an even 24 points in each half.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 3rd March 2014, 2:28 pm

Captain Gareth Jones insisted in his pre-match rallying call the team should: “dig in for 20 minutes, repel early attacks and then win with ease”.

It was a game plan that worked to perfection and enabled Ashfield to stay in touch with the division’s leaders at the top end of the table.

The first 20 minutes saw Keyworth put together a string of attacks that drove them deep into the Ashfield half and fashion several try scoring opportunities.

One was smothered by front row Nick Brearley for a 22 drop out and the boot of Billy North also relieved the pressure that Keyworth were slowly building.

However, the game changed in one key play when Tom Childs collected on half way and decided to take on the Keyworth defence.

Majestically gliding passed three players, he off-loaded to Jake Manning, who within a few metres unleashed Brent Leivers and with work to do from the 22m line, he made light work of what was in front of him.

The latter even had the presence of mind to make the conversion easier by running around under the posts, which was duly kicked by Billy North.

The lead was extended straight from the kick-off as Jake Manning broke a couple of tackles, drove into the home side’s half, drew the last defender and released North on his outside for another converted score.

With a 14-0 advantage, sustained Ashfield pressure led to a defensive mistake and, as the ball was knocked loose in the tackle, the ever-alert Matt Upton scored an opportunistic try.

The conversion was missed, but the visitors were soon in the points again when good work from the back allowed Guy Jones to cross in the corner.

With a 24-0 buffer at the break Ashfield were encamped in the Keyworth 22 on the resumption.

Just as it looked as though the hosts had repelled the onslaught, Jono Richardson had other ideas.

He intercepted a pass from the Keyworth fly-half and raced in to score under the posts. North added the conversion.

Richardson was involved again for try number six, breaking free and offloading to second half replacement Gareth Purnell, making it 36-0 after a failed conversion attempt.

Although this was a backs-dominated performance, the unsung Ashfield forwards more than played their part with tenacious tackling and good rucking setting up countless platforms.

One of those opportunities allowed the influential Richardson, who was the pick of the Ashfield players, to break again from deep in his own half from a quick tap penalty and, this time, Tom Childs was in support to scamper in unopposed.

North added the extra two, but there was still time to record one last try thanks to the sportsmanship of Keyworth.

A rolling Ashfield maul set up Jordan Shead for what appeared to be his first senior try.

Instead, the referee awarded a penalty to Keyworth for sealing off by Jones, who tried to reverse the decision in a conversation with the referee.

He was having no luck until the intervention of the home players, who confirmed the legitimacy of the try, which was duly reinstated.

Ashfield will hope to carry on where they left off in hosting Leesbrook on Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm.

l Ashfield Ladies suffered a 12-7 home defeat to vastly-experienced Scunthorpe on a blustery afternoon at Larwood Park.

The hosts went in front when Lydia Alesbrook-Bowen, playing at full back, spotted a gap and sprinted 60 metres to score a great individual try converted by Trish Hart.

A spirited response by Scunthorpe got them back in the game with a converted score, leaving it all square at half-time.

The second half did not start to well for Ashfield with Scunthorpe running in their second try.

The home side stuck to their task, but the Scunthorpe pack kept it tight and prevent further scoring, leaving Ashfield third in the league with three games of their encouraging inaugural season to play.

Ally Sanders’ player of the match performance was well deserved for her tireless efforts.