Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Abbey relegated following defeat to champions

ABBEY were relegated back to Southern Counties North last Saturday after they went down to defeat at home to Maidenhead, who were in turn crowned champions.

Abbey started the brighter team with strong carries from flankers Ed House and Omar Ellaboudy setting the tempo of the game as table toppers Maidenhead struggled to assert themselves.

Mark Toland and lock Chris Shaw combined well in the lin-eout, but handling errors in contact denied the home side an early score. Play threatened Abbey’s try line but a crucial turnover found Gavin Dampies, who sprinted the length of pitch, showcasing some immaculate footwork to step neatly across the line and allow centre Ollie Walton to convert. Maidenhead soon found their form, capitalising on a turnover deep inside their 22 to exploit Abbey’s fragmented defence, which saw fullback Tom Finnie slip through several tackles to score underneath the posts. Moments later, they added a second try after a period of exchanged kicks from either side.

The away side then sent a penalty kick deep into touch on the Abbey five-metre line. A solid lin-eout allowed them to pass the ball through the hands to the wing who was desperately tackled on the line by Abbey winger Theo Everett. A third successful conversion by fly-half Perry Jansen signalled the end of the first half. The second half saw Abbey lock Chris Shaw release Dampies who in turn passed to Mitchell, and the winger sprinted the length of the pitch to score in the corner.

Maidenhead responded with the same intensity and were quick to pounce on turnover ball, releasing their speedy players to reply to Abbey’s try.

But determined Abbey once again pushed to close the gap in the score. Centre Tom Huggins made an excellent break, well supported by his back partners of Greenaway and Walton. Superb forward play then brought the
home side closer to the line
when Bevan picked to cross the whitewash.

Dominant Maidenhead closed the game on their terms, taking advantage of Abbey’s depleted ranks, securing them both victory and the league.

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