Aylesbury stern themselves for a hard run in to the end of season
Not a Marlow Donkey in sight
Coach Andy Blake's pre match talk looked back at some key result for Marlow including wins over Thatcham and Oxford Quins - both currently above Aylesbury int he league. This set the tone for the warm up and the match to follow.
Ays were strengthened with Jonny Burgess returning from a hamstring injury, Mark Jeffers adding some serious bulk as well as leadership to the pack and with some serious speed merchants out on the wings in the form of youthful Ollie Sayer and the more experienced Johnny Evans.
Both teams started well with decent phases of play from forwards and backs alike. This game was going to be close - Marlow on home turf and Ays looking to keep up the chase at the top of the table.
Ays were first on the score sheet after a short spell of possession, with Harry Mason-Cook driving over near the posts. Nicky Mercer converted successfully to what would turn out to be a personal points tally of 18 for the game.
Both teams managed to get a try and conversion each before half time with Marlow in the ascendancy.
HT 7 -14
Marlow managed to continue with their momentum before half time and scored 8 minutes after the restart to make the score even at 14 all. Marlow continued to press hard for the next 12 minutes with a high percentage of possession, but Ays defence and fortune held out to keep the scoreline the same.
The deadlock was finally broken by the Ays pile-driver Darren Parker with a try, successfully drop-kicked over the sticks by an eager Dan Butcher. With the scrum dominating set piece, Ays back line started to get good quick ball outto the backs and Ays owned the ball for the remainder of the match.
Apart from a missed penalty just wide of the posts, Nicky Mercer either scored or played a part in all the remaining points with a try and two conversions and an assist in the final try by Nile Weir.
After the game, Andy Blake said of his players that they had shown "great character" to shut out Marlow when it looked like they were going to get a good grip of the game.
Man of the Match: Bradley White at loosehead, but ran close by Nicky Mercer
Next game: Oxford Harlequins at Home