Monday, 15 August 2022

Beckly and Dampies at the double as Abbey march on

ABBEY continued their successful return to Southern Counties North, scoring six tries against Drifters at

ABBEY continued their successful return to Southern Counties North, scoring six tries against Drifters at Rosehill on Saturday.

Abbey started confidently, with fullback Gavin Dampies featuring twice in an early move that saw second row Knights halted just short of the try line. They took the lead after four minutes when hooker Mark Toland released Dylan Baptista 60 metres from the line. The winger raced up the right touchline and eluded the defence to score the try. Centre Luke Burns was unable to convert.

Outside half Callum Wylie, who linked well with half back partner Will Bevan, made good ground with a kick and then followed up well to charge down a Drifters clearance. The visitors were penalised just outside their 22, but Burns was again wide with his kick at goal.

Abbey soon doubled their score after second row Sam Hallett stole a Drifters line-out and made 15 metres inside the visitors’ half. Abbey won another penalty and after the ball was kicked to the corner skipper Mike Beckly was driven over the line following a well controlled drive. Burns failed to add the extras.

Drifters came right back into the game straight from the restart and winger Charlie Gingell did well to force scrum half George Coombes into touch five metres from the home line. Number eight Warren Milne and Hallett also made crucial big hits as the Drifters attacks continued.

After 20 minutes of play Drifters were awarded a penalty in the home 22, but outside half Alex Cannon was off target with his kick. Visiting skipper Rory Hannigan then made a good break, but the home defence stood firm.

Abbey managed to win a scrum against the head, but Drifters continued to press and both Hallett and Knights saved their side with secure line-out catches close to the try line. Just before half-time Abbey broke out of their own half and exerted pressure at a series of scrums. Props Adam Postlethwaite and Paul Emery were causing problems for their opposite numbers but there was no further score as Abbey led 10-0. Abbey made a good start to the second half and scored a try after four minutes. Centre Arron Ross made the initial break, and after Hallett had made further ground in the visitors’ 22 replacement Matt Gingell returned the ball to Ross, who crossed to the left of the posts. Wylie took on the kicking duties, but he was unable to find the target. Emery ran well after catching the restart kick, and he, Wylie and Dampies were all involved in a promising move which ended in Abbey being awarded a penalty just to the right of the Drifters’ posts.

The decision was taken to kick at goal, and Wylie duly struck what would proved to be the only successful Abbey goal kick of the afternoon.

Drifters came back into the match again, and in a series of mauls close to the home line they tested Abbey’s defence to the full.

On the hour mark Burns was yellow carded for a high tackle and shortly afterwards Drifters winger Bradley Parker crossed for a try in the right corner, Cannon converting from the touchline.

At this stage a Drifters fightback looked a distinct possibility, but Abbey battled well with a man short and there were no more scoring opportunities for the visitors. Eventually, just before Burns returned to the action, Abbey got their bonus point try. It was an opportunist effort as a clever kick ahead from Wylie saw two defenders fail to deal with the ball and Dampies showed good pace to dash through to claim the try. Wylie’s attempted conversion bounced wide off the right post.

With two minutes of normal time remaining Dampies chose a good angle to finish off a move by scoring on the right. Then in injury time, after Drifters were reduced to 14 men when Coombes was sin binned, Beckly was again driven over from a line-out drive. Wylie missed both conversion attempts.

Abbey: G Dampies, D Baptista, L Burns, A Ross, C Gingell, C Wylie, W Bevan (S Drake, 83 mins), A Postlethwaite (O Charlton, 74 mins), M Toland (A Postlethwaite, 78 mins), P Emery, J Knights (W Milne, 65 mins), S Hallett, M Beckly, E House, W Milne (M Gingell, 40 mins).

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