A BRACE of tries from man-of-the-match Gavin Dampies put Abbey on a three match winning streak
A BRACE of tries from man-of-the-match Gavin Dampies put Abbey on a three match winning streak in Division 1 East of the South West League at Rosehill last Saturday.
Captain Sam Hallett also put in a stirring performance with his outstanding ball carrying, laying the foundations for a solid victory.
With several Abbey players resting knocks for this game, head coach Fungai was forced to make changes, so in came reliable Jim Dye at outside half whilst Patrick McSweeney came into the front row. Elsewhere there was a welcome return for Dylan Baptista on the wing, with Aaron Ross moving into the centre.
Early skirmishes saw both sides off target with penalty goal attempts, but Abbey’s Jim Dye and Witney’s Jake Thomas provided some action by scuffling on the ground and being yellow carded for the effort. Aaron Ross moved to outside half to hold the ship together.
Witney were the first to seriously threaten during the 14-a-side period as they broke Abbey’s first line of defence but Gavin Dampies backed up with a try-saving tackle.
On the half hour Abbey made the breakthrough they deserved. A good line-out catch from lock Michael Kruzycki was well used in the centre, and after good work from forwards and backs, Dampies, out wide, was put clear for the first of his tries, centre Ollie Walton adding the two points.
Five minutes before the break Abbey went further ahead when Dylan Baptista stepped forward to snatch an interception pass and race 30 yards, rounding the fullback and touching down in the corner, too far out for the kick to take the extras.
Witney responded with both their big second rows leading the assault on Abbey’s line. The defence held good and Abbey were relieved to clear their lines and to hear the half-time whistle.
With the turnaround score of 12-0 in their favour, and having had the better possession, the Rosehill faithful were looking for the score to move decisively in their favour but it was not to be.
Witney punished Abbey’s errors. A throw-in did not travel five metres and a quick free kick caught Abbey napping with Witney’s number 10 George Lewis racing down the wing to touch down in the corner, but he was off target for the extras. He made amends by being on target for two penalties to narrow the scores to a single point.
This was Witney’s best period as they applied pressure, failing to ground the ball for a try to take the lead. From the ensuing scrum Jim Dye found a good touch to turn the tide. With 15 minutes left, Mark Toland secured his scrummage ball which Dye slung out to Dampies who raced from the half way line, weaving his way through the Witney defenders to touch down. It was a tricky kick from five metres in, but centre Ollie Walton slotted it over.
A careless knock on by Abbey from kick-off played by a team mate in front gave Witney an immediate penalty riposte from the boot of number 10 George Lewis, grabbing all his side’s points.
With time almost up Witney prop Jamie Burke went down for a scrum eight metres from Abbey’s line, and chose to give the referee some advice, for which his side retreated 10 metres. Burke decided that decision was worthy of further advice, and despite suffering another 10-metre retreat, gave a third word of advice and was rewarded with a yellow card, and Abbey were rewarded with three points from Ollie Walton’s boot, as the goal was now within distance.
After the game the referee insisted Witney had kicked four penalties, one more than the three that appeared to have been scored, giving them 17 points and a losing bonus point putting them one ahead of Abbey in the league. It remains to be seen whether Abbey will attempt to have the score line corrected.