Saturday, 20 August 2022

Abbey run in five tries at Stow-on-the-Wold to stay top of the table

ABBEY won an open game at Stow-on-the-Wold, scoring five tries to their opponents’ four. The win keeps Abbey

ABBEY won an open game at Stow-on-the-Wold, scoring five tries to their opponents’ four. The win keeps Abbey four points ahead of Aylesbury at the top of Southern Counties North with a game in hand.

The visitors had the advantage of the wind in the first half and scored a try after just two minutes. A scrum was won against the head, and after centre Tom Waterhouse sent a grubber kick towards the left corner winger Charlie Gingell chased the ball and crossed for the try. Waterhouse’s conversion attempt from the touchline was just short of the target.

Stow went on the attack and after Gingell did well to halt his opposite number Bradley Wrench, the home side gained a penalty. Second row Nick Cafearo landed the goal to reduce the visitors’ lead to two points.

Abbey were soon further ahead though their second try had an element of luck about it. Drake sent a chip kick into the home 22 and when the ball bounced off a Stow defender Bevan was on hand to catch the rebound and run in to score against his former club. He touched down under the posts, giving Waterhouse a simple conversion kick.

The visitors’ third try arrived when flanker Chris Shaw secured good line-out possession in the 19th minute, and after the ball was moved to the right Dampies cut through before releasing Baptista who held off the Stow cover to cross wide on the right. Waterhouse hooked his conversion attempt.

Stow got their first try after 27 minutes when replacement forward Jeremy Darley drove over after a spell of pressure from the home pack. Cafearo’s conversion attempt was off target.

After 34 minutes Stow scored again when Holmes burst clear and crossed on the left. Cafearo’s conversion was again off target as the first half ended with Abbey 17-13 in the lead. Abbey got their try-scoring bonus point after just four minutes of the half when Bevan’s clever inside pass to Sam Hallett saw the second row embark on an unstoppable 20 metre charge to score a great forward’s try. Waterhouse defied the wind to add a conversion.

Within two minutes Abbey went further ahead, scoring the outstanding try of the afternoon. Waterhouse chipped the ball clear in his own 22, and Dampies and Gingell exchanged passes in a thrilling attack down the left wing before the former sprinted clear to score under the posts. Waterhouse added the extras to put Abbey 31-13 ahead.

Four minutes later the visitors received a timely wake-up call when Holmes burst through some suspect defence to score a try in the left corner. Cafearo sent over his best kick of the afternoon.

Another catch from Daniels set up the next attack, after which Abbey replaced flanker Ed House with Matt Eldridge. Soon after this Gingell looked to have scored on the left after good work from Baptista, Bevan and Dampies, but the final pass to the winger was adjudged to have been forward.

With an hour of play gone, Waterhouse kicked a 35 metre penalty to stretch his side’s lead to 14 points.

With nine minutes left Holmes set up a try for replacement Haydn Elsdale, but rather surprisingly Cafearo missed what for him should have been a reasonably straightforward conversion attempt.

This left Stow still requiring two scores to overhaul Abbey’s total, and although the home side momentarily threatened again, the visitors looked the more likely to score again in the closing stages, with Hallett, Drake, Daniels and Gingell all looking positive and impressive in attack.

Abbey: G Dampies, C Gingell, T Waterhouse, D Love, D Baptista (K Machin, 69 mins), S Drake, W Bevan, L Daniels, M Toland, F Long (O Charlton, 59 mins), J Knights, S Hallett, C Shaw (F Long, 75 mins), E House (M Eldridge, 52 mins), M Beckly.

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