Thursday, 07 July 2022

Aylesbury Colts make numerical advantage count

HENLEY COLTS lost out in their Oxfordshire, Berks and Bucks League semi-final clash at Aylesbury Colts last Sunday.

Henley finished second in their league behind Marlow and were playing winners Aylesbury from the other league for a place in the final.

Playing on an all-weather pitch Henley played into the wind in the first half. Henley conceded an early try. With the wind making it difficult to move the ball wide Henley were struggling to put any phases together and spent most of the time having to defend. This included a try-line tackle from Rufus Shanagher.

Michael Duda was getting a fair amount of success at the breakdown, either stealing or slowing Aylesbury down while Oskar Browning made a 20m break and was unlucky not to find Rudi O’Keeffe on his shoulder.

However, it was mistakes, dropped passes and discipline that didn’t allow Henley out of their half. Aylesbury were able to put together phases and the pressure told by two scores.

Henley came roaring back as Andrew Biscoe took a short crash ball off skipper George Goodenough to make the hard yards, supported by Ryan Porter, Harrison Bell and Luke Burke. The ball was recycled quickly to allow Max Brown to crash over to reduce the arrears to 21-5 at half-time. The second half kick-off, with the wind having changed direction, meant Henley were playing into the breeze again.

The visitors were looking more composed in attack with Mattie Morris and Jake Shuttleworth combing well in the midfield to give time for the forwards to move up the pitch. However, at the breakdown the referee was penalising Henley and stopped the momentum that was building. Henley then put together a move which took them from their 22m line up to half way.

The game changed when the referee issued a yellow card to Brown and Aylesbury took advantage of the extra man to score two tries.

This didn’t stop Henley wanting to play as Duda took a short ball and was able to bounce and spin his way through the contact to make 40 metres.

Flynn Wilson collected the ball from a kick and busted his way through a hole to be able to make 20 metres. Frustratingly the last pass or a penalty at the ruck stopped Henley from being able to put plays together.

Henley then lost Wilson to the sin bin so they were down to 13 men for a couple of minutes which allowed Aylesbury to take advantage and add to their score.

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