Abbey Monks 54-5 Thatcham
Abbey entertained both Thatcham and the crowd at Rose Hill running in eight tries in a comprehensive victory.
They were helped by the appearance of Malcolm Rushbrook at scrum half who controlled the game and kept Abbey moving. However it was the forwards who took charge from the outset and won the scrums and rucks. They drove into the Thatcham half and when Scott Mansfield picked up from the base of a ruck Ashley Pomeroy came steaming through to collect a simple pass. Pomeroy broke the line and two tackles before crashing over the line.
The Abbey movement and interplay was creating gaps all over the park and Chris Shaw made good use of the space. Pomeroy was there again to add the finishing touch. Paul Woodrow slotted his second conversion.
While the backs had plenty of ball with Woodrow Jon Neil and Justin Hewgil having strong runs it was again the forwards who created the third try. Mansfield again supplied the telling pass to Simon Jarvis. Jarvis was making a guest appearance having flown in especially from Australia for the game. Jarvis whose runs caused Thatcham problems all day released Shaw whose perfect line saw him cross the line. Woodrow converted once more.
Finally the backs got there reward but it took a piece of individual brilliance from Rushbrook. Mark Oldfield had come close to scoring but Thatcham cleared their lines from the resulting ruck Rushbrook slipped through the defence and raced forty yards to score.
Abbey’s stalwart prop Adam Dent was injured just before the break and Abbey took the chance to reorganise with Richard Greville coming on and at half time further changes were made. These Included replacing both Shaw and Pomeroy for Treacle and Josh Williams. Knights was ineffective but Williams worked hard to keep Abbey going forward.
Thatcham did regroup and started the half better. They had the benefit of a number of penalty decisions as they pressed the Abbey line. Andy Verran saved Abbey but eventually Thatcham scored. Abbey made sure Thatcham did not profit any further and quickly restored their 26 point lead. This time Verran was influential at the other end of the pitch. He seized the ball when it spun loose five metres out and needed no further invitation to dive towards the line. His incredible strength enabled him to just ground the ball on the whitewash.
John Goulding who had replaced Christian Harris converted.
Rushbrook repeated his trick of the first half sprinting from half way to score and Goulding converted once more.
Oldfield nearly broke through again taking a wild pass from Tom Hogan and cutting inside the Thatcham defence. Thatcham stayed strong and mounted a rare attack of their own but Oldfield quashed it with a fine tackle, it was his last contribution to the game and Harris came back on the resume his full back duties.
With twenty minutes left Abbey shuffled their players again bring back on Craig Fullicks who had excelled at second row in the first half but was now was keen to play centre and Mick Lennarz came into the pack.
Abbey swept up the field moving first to the left and when Goulding was stopped in the final third Abbey switched play and attacked the other flank with Thatcham stretched Matt Eldridge could have scored but chose to spin it wider for Tom Hogan to take the try.
With five minutes to go Verran won the ball from a horde of Thatcham players and started an equally flowing move to release Fullicks for a debut try which sealed Ed House’s decision to award him Man of the Match