Thursday, 18 August 2022

Marlow score late double to leave Abbey reeling

THE final score suggests that Abbey were well beaten on their visit to Marlow in Wadworth 6X Southern Counties North, but the visitors competed on more or less equal terms for much of the game last Saturday.

Abbey tackled well, particularly in the first half, and it was only in the final few minutes that the home side pulled away. The visitors were left to regret some careless moments which allowed Marlow to score their earlier tries.

After a minute’s silence in memory of Marlow founder member John White, the game kicked off with Abbey looking the brighter side.

They secured an immediate turnover, and after skipper Will Bevan, his half back partner Dan Love and centre Olly Walton had taken play into the home 22, Marlow were penalised and Walton landed a simple penalty from in front of the posts.

Abbey lost the ball at the restart, but both Walton and his fellow centre Ben Mitchell put in good tackles as Marlow attacked in the visitors’ 22. The first scrum saw Abbey more than hold their own, but their first line-out throw was not straight. Marlow continued to attack, but Love tackled home skipper, fullback Nicholas Carvey, and the visitors were awarded a penalty. Walton had a chance to double Abbey’s lead after nine minutes, but he mishit a penalty from 41 metres. Abbey continued to attack, with number eight Mike Beckly and second row Chris Shaw making good ground.

From a line-out Marlow counterattacked up the left touchline, and the move ended with centre Charlie Cotton touching down under the posts. Outside half Jamie Maddern converted.

Maddern hit a penalty wide of the sticks a few minutes later, but Marlow were soon attacking close to the Abbey line. Second row Jeremy Knights halted home hooker Dan Hostetler, and then Carvey lost the ball on the line. Abbey were penalised, and Maddern kicked a simple goal. Shortly afterwards, Abbey replaced flanker Gerhard Sutherland with George House.

A good spell of Abbey pressure followed, and flanker Ed House was stopped close to the home line.

Lively hooker Jack Brown featured prominently in Abbey’s next move, but just when they looked as if they might put further pressure on Marlow, Mitchell was shown a yellow card. From the subsequent penalty, Marlow kicked into the visitors’ 22, but Abbey looked to have been handed a lifeline when the throw was tapped back on Abbey’s side. Charlton’s hasty pass was snapped up by scrum half Will Soames, and he ran over the line unopposed to score under the posts. Maddern converted, and Marlow now led 17-3.

Beckly, Postlethwaite and George House attacked from the restart, and then Brown made a great break of 20 metres. He received good support from Ed House, Shaw and Bevan, but after possession was lost Marlow counterattacked once more. Greenaway did well to stop Cotton in the Abbey 22, but Maddern sent a cross-kick to the left wing. The bounce could not have been better for winger Stuart McKay, and he touched down in the corner. Maddern converted from the touchline as the hosts led 24-3 at half-time.

Marlow began the second half strongly and extended their lead quickly when second row Ben Smith won a five metre line-out and Hostetler powered over wide on the left. Maddern could not convert, and Abbey proceeded to match their hosts for the next half hour.

Knights won a series of line-out throws, and a lengthy spell in the home 22 saw Mitchell, Love and Walton causing problems for Marlow. Winger Alex Langford-Pollard was stopped five metres short of the line, and then Postlethwaite was held just under the posts. Abbey really should have scored at this stage, but a wild pass was knocked on and the chance was lost.

Winger David Canham made 20-metres with a good run from the Marlow drop-out and after a fine pass from Love, Greenaway broke into the Marlow half. Brown supported well and another good Abbey spell ensued. There was a triple substitution, with Sutherland returning in place of Shaw, and George Pawlett and Martin Collier coming on for Canham and Charlton respectively.

In the final quarter Collier made an impressive 20 metre break and Shaw returned to the action in place of Knights. Beckly made another good break, and once more Abbey found themselves in the Marlow 22. They got due reward for their efforts when, after Postlethwaite, Bevan and Ed House all went close, Brown, Walton and Collier moved the ball to the right. With Abbey in possession right on the line, Langford-Pollard squeezed over for a try. Walton’s conversion attempt bounced wide off the left post.

The final minutes belonged to Marlow, with Carvey the catalyst as two further tries were scored.

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