Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Ross at the double as table-toppers march on

TWO tries from Aaron Ross in the dying minutes added gloss to a victory that pushed Abbey eight

TWO tries from Aaron Ross in the dying minutes added gloss to a victory that pushed Abbey eight points clear at the top of Southern Counties North.

Early pace setters Abbey again faced the second placed team for a first versus second tussle. This time it was tight as both sets of defences kept a tight rein on events, but Abbey’s fitness coupled with their ability to conjure up tries saw them through.

With Gavin Dampies playing for the Apaches in the Dubai 7s and Dylan Baptista with work commitments, head coach Fungai had to make changes. In came Jules Greenaway at fullback and colt Kaspar Strugar took the vacant wing slot.

A strong blustery wind made conditions difficult, with the home side taking the benefit of playing with it for the first half. Although both were kicking for field position, it took most of the first half for either side to have any great effect. The strong wind also made handling difficult hindering any cohesive moves.

With both teams’ defences solid scoring chances were rare. Beaconsfield’s scrum was strong but by half-time they had not manufactured anything other than a solitary penalty goal.

However by then Abbey had their noses in front, first from a penalty goal from Tom Waterhouse who then added two points to a Sam Hallett touchdown. A drive from him in a maul then twisting out of it to charge the last 10 metres for the score, made sure Abbey turned round 10-3 up.

Handling errors continued as kicking remained off target, but crucially Abbey’s defence was resolute with Luke Burns outstanding, putting in a crunching tackle to deny a try for the visitors.

As the game progressed Abbey’s superior fitness showed. For the last 20 minutes they pressed hard. The visitors raised their game for one last effort and pushed deep into Abbey territory. Prop Tim Brain, having come on at half-time, made his play, carrying the ball a full 50 metres to just beyond the half way line, where he was stopped.

Brain kept the ball alive for sharp ball distribution to put centre Aaron Ross away down the left, putting down wide out, from where Waterhouse produced a wind defying magic touchline conversion.

From the restart Abbey secured possession and with better fitness now telling, got into attacking territory where Luke Burns showed he had creativity in addition to defence, putting away Ross for his second try in almost as many minutes. The conversion was missed.

Abbey: Charlton (Brain), Toland, Long, Knights, Hallett, Shaw, Pawlett (Beckly), M Gingell, Bevan, Waterhouse, Strugar, Love (Ross), Burns, C Gingell, Greenaway.

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