ONLY one bonus point was needed against local rivals Tadley for Abbey’s third team
ONLY one bonus point was needed against local rivals Tadley for Abbey’s third team to be crowned Berks, Bucks & Oxon 4 South league champions for the first time in a decade and with four games still to play.
The initial exchanges were dominated by the forwards as both sides wrestled for control of the ball and the territory.
Abbey took the lead with a penalty after a number of breakdown infringements by Tadley and that lead was extended when captain Kevin Clift crashed over the line from 10 metres. The try was converted by scrum half Scott Dewar to make it 10-0 after 20 minutes. Another penalty soon followed which put Abbey 13-0 to the good at half-time.
Just three minutes after the restart a powerful Abbey scrum resulted in an excellent finish by new winger Mat Spence. A dink over the top from Abbey’s scrum half saw Spence pressure the Tadley fullback into a mistake before gathering for his debut try. Ten minutes later Abbey’s strong midfield duo of Jon Neil and Tony Kirschstein Smith broke through Tadley’s defence and flanker George House scored under the posts.
Despite the scoreline, Tadley rallied and mounted a strong response in the final quarter camping themselves on the Abbey line with desperate tackles.
Then in the last five minutes the ball found its way back into Abbey hands on their line and the break was on. Some quick hands and a powerful boot saw the ball chased down by fullback Peter Cooke. A simple gather just on the line saw Spence get his second and secure a 35-0 victory.
Speaking after the game, vice-captain Peter Cooke, said: “It’s been a privilege to play with such a brilliant bunch of lads. It makes me very proud to see how they’ve developed, bonded and improved. Almost all were strangers at the start of the season but now count each other as brothers in arms.”