Grit and determination gets Ashton a 14-12 win at Hope Valley
Ashton made the long journey to Hope Valley and came out 14-12 winners in a performance full of grit and determination.
In the picturesque surrounding of the Derbyshire hills Ashton kicked off and played down what was a significant slope. Ashton had an early break and only a good tackle from the home side stopped a great charge by No 8 Gaz Price. In the first quarter Hope did throw a lot at the Ashton defence but it held out well and it was Ashton who opened the scoring with a try from scrum half Joel Dore following sustained pressure and a pick up and feed from a scrum by No 8 Gaz Price. Joe Dore converted his own try to make it 7-0. Ashton kept pressing and really needed a couple of more scores to make it difficult for the home side to get back into the game in the second half. A very kickable penalty was missed by Joel Dore but he made up for this with a second try just before half-time, which was converted by Ben Smith, to make the score 14-0 at the turnaround.
The second half was going to be a tough battle with Ashton playing up the slope and within five minutes of the restart Hope scored an unconverted try to make the score 14-5. The second half continued to be lively with three yellow cards for technical offences, two for the home side and one for Ashton’s Stephen Appleby. The Ashton tactics were to keep it tight and drive and drive up the middle and retain possession. This was led by skipper Adam Whitworth and second rows Dave Higgins and Sam Murray who all worked tirelessly to get the forwards going. Ashton came close to scoring with two remarkable driving mauls to put them within inches of the try line – only to be pushed back by a technical penalty. On the 70 minute mark centre Dan Hopwood did superbly well to hold up a Hope Valley player on the try line and ground the ball himself to save a try. This was the turning point of the game as a try at this point would have given all the momentum to the home side. Time ticked by and Ashton’s fitness levels were tested but held up well but with a minute to go Hope did get a second try following a kick through which was converted to make the score 12-14. However Ashton were able to regain possession from the last play restart and kill the game off – much to the delight of the travelling supporters!
A very tough place to come and get a win. A marvellous team effort with standout performances from Joel Dore and man of the match Dan Hopwood. Next week the 1s are at home to Littleborough in a League / Cup double header. Kick off 3pm at Banky Lane.