Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Abbey's survival bid back on track

ABBEY staged a remarkable comeback against Chippenham at Rosehill to keep their South West One East division survival hopes alive, writes Mark Hoskins.

The visitors looked in control of the game in the third quarter but Abbey turned the match on its head thanks to stand-out performances from winger Olly Walton, who contributed 25 points to his side’s total, and number eight Will Woodward.

The hosts struck first when a penalty award resulted in Abbey opting to take a scrum and, after a run from Woodward, Ellaboudy got close to the line. Another penalty was awarded under the posts and Walton was handed a straightforward kick.

Abbey quickly regained possession and were awarded a scrum in the visitors’ 22. Woodward collected and ran towards the right where his pass gave Walton a 20-metre run to the line, after which he converted from the touchline.

The visitors began the second quarter with a fine handling move from their own 22 and, after being awarded a penalty, opted for a five-metre scrum. After two forward drives, Luke Corbett went over for his side’s first try, which was converted.

Chippenham then conceded a penalty to the right of the posts. Walton opted to go for goal but the wind held the ball up and it dropped wide. However, Chippenham failed to spot that Mitchell had chased the kick and he got to the ball to claim the try, which was converted.

The visitors continued to attack and they scored their second try and conversion in a copy of the first. A third followed when Abbey lost the ball in the tackle leading to a breakaway.

After the restart, Chippenham got another try. Abbey lost a scrum on the head and Doggett was allowed space to burst clear and run under the posts to give his side a bonus point. Riccio converted.

Woodward then made a 60-metre break before Hallett plunged over to score. Walton again converted, and Chippenham’s lead was reduced to two points.

A series of penalties put Abbey under immense pressure and they got their fifth try after 67 minutes when hooker John Turner touched down. Riccio could not convert but his side now led 31-24.

Within three minutes Abbey had drawn level and collected a bonus point when Walton crossed under the posts. His simple conversion levelled the scores.

Flanker Ed House then got over the line for Abbey after Huggins burst through the middle and Ellaboudy was stopped just before the line. Walton converted and Abbey were in front.

With two minutes remaining, Woodward, supported by prop Patrick McSweeney, culminated in Mitchell sprinting clear to run in for a try under the posts and Walton landed his sixth conversion.

Abbey: G Dampies, O Walton, A Ross (J Greenaway, 53 minutes), T Huggins, C Gingell (J Saunders, 66 minutes), B Mitchell, W Bevan (A Ross, 84 minutes), P McSweeney, M Toland (C Gingell, 76 minutes), J Saunders (L Daniels, 39 minutes), C Shaw (O Ellaboudy, 56 minutes), S Hallett, C Shaw, O Ellaboudy (J Knights, 32 minutes), W Woodward.

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