Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Abbey lose ground following heavy away defeat

ABBEY crashed to their heaviest defeat of the season as they failed to contain a lively Aylesbury side who revelled in the width of their new artificial pitch running in six tries to Abbey’s one. The heavy loss sees Abbey remain in sixth position, but they lose substantial ground to the promotion contenders.

Abbey had three changes from the team that performed with gritty determination in the win over Thatcham and did well against Wallingford. The key difference was captain Will Woodward switched from a back row forward to inside centre alongside fly half Tom Burns.

The start was promising for Abbey, as Aylesbury conceded six penalties on the trot, none were in kicking distance but it allowed Abbey to dominate territory. It seemed an Abbey early score was inevitable, and so it proved. But it was just a penalty goal from the boot of Diego de Marcilla Bahlsen which came in the sixth minute to open their account and take the lead.

The lead was soon wiped out when a wayward kick from Abbey failed to find touch and elusive running and quick hands put over winger Alex Shearer wide out. From the touchline he added the extras.

Aylesbury went down to 14 men when their scrum half was yellow carded which saw Abbey again press from within the five metre line. Aylesbury rose to the challenge and prevented the score and kept a clean sheet whilst a man down and even added a penalty when Abbey held on to the ball as they defended a breakout run from Aylesbury.

The game moved in the home side’s favour as wayward passes and kicks brought Aylesbury into the game. Making most of the opportunities from broken play, with winger Shearer, a constant thorn in Abbey’s side, added his second try and two more penalties.

Abbey, despite having the better of the play, with fullback Gavin Dampies and centre Arron Ross making impressive runs and Woodward regularly breaking the gain line, had nothing to show other than a late de Marcilla Bahlsen penalty after Dampies had been illegally held back.

With the turnround score at 21-6, Abbey were expected to adjust to Aylesbury’s running and handling and narrow the score. Like the first half, Abbey’s start was bright, forcing a penalty chance that went wide. Then, just short of the hour, front row man Mark Toland was yellow carded for a high tackle, which allowed the hosts to take full advantage of the extra man as their forwards went over for their third try, Shearer again adding the extras.

Aylesbury had their tails up as Abbey’s defence was stretched and pulled apart by the home side as Shearer ran in a further three tries, converting two of them to put the visitors to the sword.

All that was left for Abbey was a late uncoverted try from Ross to bring the score line to 47-11.

Abbey: Dampies, Williams, Ross, Woodward, Shackleford, Burns, de Marcilla Bahlsen, Waring, Toland, Postlethwaite, Knights, Shaw, E House, G House, O’Connell. Replacements all used: Charlton, Bradfield, Beckly.

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