Sunday, 26 May 2019

Abbey dominate possession to record back-to-back victories

Abbey dominate possession to record back-to-back victories

ABBEY ran out 30-11 winners at home against Stow-on-the-Wold last Saturday in the Wadworth 6X Southern Counties North division, a result that ended the visitors’ four game winning streak and gave Abbey their first consecutive wins this season.

Despite the fifth straight victory against their opponents Abbey will feel aggrieved that the bonus point went amiss.

The first 10 minutes – and a large proportion of the game – saw Abbey camped in the Stow-on-the-Wold half but the home side only had three points to show from it as Charlie Shackleford kicked a penalty in the fifth minute after the hosts disrupted a visitors’ line-out after a good touch finder from fly half Arron Ross. Only poor discipline prevented Abbey from scoring more.

Stow-on-the-Wold equalised in the 17th minute as a result of their first visit in the Abbey 22 courtesy of fly half Jake Collett and from here on in the visitors started applying pressure of their own.

Abbey defended well, especially from the set piece, stealing five Stow-on-the-Wold line-outs in the first 20 minutes and after some good breaks down the left-hand side, winning a scrum against the head on their own five metre line with some good propping work from Russell Orrburns and Adam Postlethwaite. Following a Stow-on-the-Wold try going begging down the right flank, Abbey were pinged for offside and Collett took the points, making it 6-3 to the visitors with half an hour gone.

This proved to be a reality check for the home side who finished the half the better team, just as they started it. Some good line-out ball and a good carry from Shackleford forced penalties from Stow-on-the-Wold, resulting in a yellow card and a penalty in front of the posts that Shackleford scored with ease.

A good kick return followed and winger John Malivoire could have been in twice from grubber kicks but it was all about the bounce of the ball. Captain Will Bevan opted to kick for the corner with two kickable penalties, favouring Abbey’s superior line-out and this risk paid off, as replacement Ollie Charlton broke off the back of a maul to score on the stroke of half-time with Shackleford adding the extras to put the hosts 13-6 up at half-time.

The second half began with Jeremy Knights kicking through and then being taken off. Abbey stretched the lead to 16-6 via Shackleford due to a storming run by replacement Gereie Sutherland and good line-out ball once again leading to offside. Abbey kept the pressure up and a penalty was missed in the 20th minute before Stow-on-the-Wold had even set foot in the Abbey half allowing the visitors to clear. Number 8 Matthew Simmons charged through to gain around 30 metres and Abbey looked comfortable in possession. After numerous pick and goes the ball was shipped out and Jules Greenaway offloaded inside to Shackleford who scored under the posts and converted, making it 23-6 as a result of strong forward running and good handling in the back line. This try proved to be a turning point as tensions flared and the bitterly cold weather was met with bitter behaviour. Succeeding even more good line-out work from the Abbey pack the Stow-on-the-Wold tighthead was sent off for punching in the 63rd minute.

Abbey capitalised in the 70th minute after a held-up pick and go centre Dan Love crashed through the three-quarter line to score Abbey’s third try which was easily converted. The resulting Stow-on-the-Wold kick-off was met with another yellow card for a high tackle, making it all three of Stow-on-the-Wold’s props in the referee’s book.

The last 10 minutes were frustrating for the home side as they searched for a bonus point try. Despite good territory and numerical advantages Abbey were not very clinical, a common theme throughout the day and even more frustratingly conceded a consolation try via Ed Fanshaw in the last play of the game after Stow-on-the-Wold exploited a three man overlap down the right with ease. The conversion was missed meaning the final score was 30-11 to Abbey.

Abbey: Russell Orrburns, Matthew Hart, Adam Postlethwaite, Adam Brooker, Jeremy Knights, Mike Beckly, Ed House, Matthew Simmons, Will Bevan, Arron Ross, Alex Langford-Pollard, Dan Love, Charlie Shackleford, John Malivoire, Jules Greenaway. Replacements: Ollie Charlton, Gereie Sutherland, David Canham.

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