ABBEY had to work hard to achieve a Berks/Bucks and Oxon Premier Division bonus point victory over Hungerford at Rosehill, writes Mark Hoskins.
The home side led 13-0 just before the break, but found themselves trailing 21-13 after an hour of play. With replacement hooker and forwards’ coach Fungai Mutepfa providing inspiration, the Abbey pack got on top in the closing stages, and three tries from close range sealed the points.
Hungerford dominated the early exchanges and missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when centre Dave Cree missed a penalty. Abbey’s scrum seemed to be under some pressure at this stage, but the visitors were penalised at a couple of set pieces after they appeared to have won Abbey’s ball. However, the lineouts were more secure for Abbey, with second row Chris Shaw catching the ball cleanly.
A clever bout of passing from the visitors took them close to Abbey’s line after twenty-five minutes. Fortunately, the home pack stole a crucial lineout ball five metres out, and after Tom Waterhouse — leading the side in skipper Sam Hallet’s absence — and winger Jack Brown had run the ball from their own 22, scrum half Will Bevan made good ground from a tap penalty. Soon afterwards dangerous winger Dylan Baptista was forced into touch just short of the Hungerford line.
Abbey scored the first points of the afternoon in the 33rd minute. Hungerford second row Mark Boulton was yellow-carded and Waterhouse kicked the resultant penalty.