Thursday, 24 January 2019

Marlow hit back to complete the double

ABBEY started 2019 with the return fixture against Marlow, this time at home last Saturday.

The hosts looked strong for large parts of the game, showing their ability to come from behind and the gap in the score line was not a representation of the gap in class, with the final score 34-24 to the visitors.

Marlow started the game the better side. After Ed House stole a line-out and grubbered through, fullback and captain Nick Carvey picked up the loose ball and countered, leading to Marlow exploiting an overlap for left winger Nick Gorhan to score in the corner. The conversion was missed making it 5-0 after just three minutes.

The visitors capitalised on their early advantage with fly-half Maddern pinning Abbey in their 22 with effective touch finders, with the line-outs resulting in a yellow card for Maurice O’Connell and then Ollie Charlton for disrupting the mauls.

Marlow kept pushing and eventually got their second try after an Arron Ross hold-up, with captain Carvey going over after another simple overlap making the score 12-0 after 15 minutes.

Abbey rallied and forced themselves back into the game. Ed House made a break through the middle and offloaded well to Max Courtnage. The forwards secured the ball well giving Will Bevan an opportunity to chip in behind for Alex Langford-Pollard to chase. He pressured his opposite number well allowing fullback Jules Greenaway to pounce on a loose ball and grab Abbey’s first points out wide. Ollie Walton converted well to close the gap to 12-7.

Abbey kept pressurising and Ollie Walton added three points with a penalty to close the gap to two points. With a spring in their step Abbey pushed on, a scrum enabled number eight Courtnage to make good ground down the blindside, but Langford-Pollard was tackled into touch after taking the offload. However, O’Connell stole the line-out and finished off his own start to the move by breaking a tackle a couple of phases later and scoring left of the posts. Walton added the extras to make it 17-12 after 35 minutes.

The second half began almost identically to the first, a score three minutes after the opening whistle with Maddern making a break down the right, and Ian Brown scoring after a couple of very well executed offloads. The conversion was successful giving Marlow a 19-17 lead.

Marlow started building up the phases. This eventually led to a run by inside centre Miles Noble beating three Abbey defenders to make the score 27-24 as the conversion was missed.

Abbey kept fighting, once again House broke through the middle and offloaded to O’Connell, another one of Abbey’s stand outs, taking Abbey to the Marlow 22. After some impressive phase play Abbey crept up to the try line and eventually House went over for a try. Walton converted to bring the scores level at 24-24 after 60 minutes.

Gorhan took his second of the day seven minutes later after a turnover in the set piece marking a period of messy play and poor handling inflicted by good defence by either side. The last score of the game to put the nail in Abbey’s coffin came with two minutes remaining, Noble going over for his second with an astutely chosen line off a maul. Both conversions went amiss leaving the final score 34-24 to Marlow.

Abbey: Russ Orrburns, Ollie Charlton, Adam Postlethwaite, Chris Shaw, Maurice O’Connell, George House, Ed House, Max Courtnage, Will Bevan, Arron Ross, John Malivoire, Oliver Walton, George Pawlett, Alex Langford-Pollard, Jules Greenaway. Subs: Edd Woodger, Adam Brooker, Chrissy Munce (all used).

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