1st XV - Match centre

Didsbury Toc H
Ashton u Lyne
Sat 18 Feb 14:15 - Northern Division - Lancashire (North) Full time

Toc H 1s 65-3 Ashton upon Lyne

Toc H eased to a bonus point victory over Ashton-under-Lyne to make it six wins on the bounce.

Much tougher tests lie in wait for Toc H as the season enters its final stretch - but they once again took care of business at Ford Lane against an Ashton side which was outgunned in every area of the pitch.

After an unsatisfactory performance against Ormskirk the previous week, Toc's backs took advantage of some quick ball and a solid attacking platform to win 65-3.

At no point did Ashton throw in the towel, which is a credit to their players, but these sides were poles apart in terms of intent, ability and execution.

Didsbury showed glimpses of the eye-catching, fluid rugby which is fast-becoming their hallmark - but they also defended hard, allowing Ashton on fleeting visits to their 22.

Late into the second-half the visitors eventually won a kickable penalty and deservedly got themselves on the scoreboard.

The challenge for Didsbury is to execute their rugby when they are put under pressure by the division’s better teams, most of whom they face in the run-in.

Thornton Cleveleys have already shown that they won’t offer up the kind of easy points that were on offer here, regardless of how tidily Toc H took advantage of those opportunities to presented to them.

Winger Tom Makin led the way with three more tries to add to his increasingly impressive season tally, the best of which was gifted to him after some silky hands from props Dave Morgan and Mark Chambers.


Jonathan Beardmore bundled over from close range after an up-and-down half in the centre and Toc’s new, impressive back-row Charlie Campalani made it four tries in his two appearances for the 1st XV this season. Fly-half Will Smith chipped and gathered his own inventive kick to race in from the halfway line for the standout individual score of the game - but arguably the most rewarding try was number eight Chris Craig’s second, which saw him stroll over after a promising first outing of a new team pattern. Flanker Harry Rigby again hit hard, well-timed lines throughout the game and crossed for a well-deserved try of his own.

Toc’s depth in the pack is as deep and impressive as it has been at any time over the past few seasons. And it looks set to get even stronger.

Former player-of-the-year Mark Harrison returns from London at the end of this month and some of the outstanding performers from the first half of the season are fit, firing and available again in March - the irrepressible James Howarth, number eight Brad Cliff and openside flanker Richard Stovell all coming back into the frame. In the front row, new additions Tom Dewland and Toby Thurgood are close to being back fit and the added competition for places has seen the intensity level increase at training.

That intensity will be needed because Toc’s unbeaten home record will be severely examined between now and the end of the season, with second-placed Burnley and league leaders Tarleton the only teams still to come to Ford Lane.

Man of the match: Chris Craig.

Next game: Thornton Cleveleys (A), March 4. Bus Trip to Blackpool post-match followed by Haye/Bellew at the RFC £5 Entry.

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Lancashire (North) results

31
18
Ormskirk
Tarleton
13
11

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Tarleton 18 84
2. Didsbury Toc H 19 75
3. Burnley 18 73
4. Orrell 18 68
5. Garstang 18 42
6. Thornton Cleveleys 17 40
7. North Manchester 17 32

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