Solid win in local derby
Very promising team performance
Matches between these two sides, going back to when the lads were barely tall enough to see over the top of the grass, have always been exciting affairs. As the boys got bigger so a strong dose of physicality was added into the mix - but the games remained competitive and keenly contested. In more recent years Ays have come off second best, often succumbing to the physical pressure of the High Wycombe pack, allowing themselves to be pushed around (both literally and figuratively). So it was with a bit of trepidation that both players and coaches approached this fixture - not sure whether it would be more of the same or if finally we were going to stand up and be counted.
Player for player, High Wycombe were still the bigger team, and in for the first five minutes it was a closely fought contest. Both teams were playing expansive exciting rugby, with all four wingers and both full-backs quickly into the game both in attack and defence.On two early occasions Ays got the ball into the 15m channel with an overlap but on both occasions either the ball didn't stick or some very good scrambling defence closed down the opportunity. Meanwhile, High Wycombe's forwards were gaining ground with their pick and carries down the centre, and inside lines from the back three changed the angle of attack on numerous occasions - although good work at the breakdown by Ays back line ensured they weren't able to generate any real momentum. Honours even in the opening exchanges.
Gradually Ays got territorial advantage and soon were camped inside the High Wycombe 22, where after a patient build-up they managed to score two tries to edge into a 12-0 lead. Both of High Wycombe's restarts were very good, with their 10 dropping a superbly placed dro-kick into the arms of their on-rushing winger (or full-back, not sure) who was able to push the gainline close the Ays 22. On both occasions though Ays were quickly able to secure turnover ball and it wasn't long before a third try was scored as Ay's backs started to get their flowing passing game into gear. (19-0). Shortly after this High Wycombe has a yellow card for what was thought to be a high tackle. To add injury to the situation, High Wycombe's second row went off with a strained knee, shortly followed by another player who suffered a concussion - we hope both players get well soon. Ays were now attacking with confidence and turning on the style, so it was surprising to see them only score one more try before half-time (26-0).
Ays knew what was coming after the break, with High Wycombe throwing everything at them from the outset. The game was by now very fractious and the referee is to be congratulated for keeping a lid on the simmering hormones. After weathering the first few battering rucks, Ays really turned on the style, and stretched out to a 48-0 lead. Faced with the prospect of the game being cut-short, High Wycombe rallied, and Ays seemed to drop off the pace a bit, allowing them in for a unconverted score (48-5). Brief snooze over, Ays replied with a try of their own (53-5); high Wycombe's center received his second yellow (Red) card for a dangerous tackle after the whistle had gone, and Ays then scored a final try to close the game 58-5.
Scoring 10 tries is always an achievement, and for all High Wycombe's heads dropped, credit has to go to Aylesbury for piling on the pressure that caused that to happen. Ay's posed a threat all over the park - out wide, through the middle, on the blind side, over the top and off set-pieces. This is a key development in the progress of this team, as it means we have options. The boys also played as a team, imposing our style of play for the whole 70 minutes. In the past we've been guilty of being dominant for 10 minutes then going off-piste as individuals - allowing the opposition back in to the game. This time it was relentless, they just kept going as a team and it wonderful to see them explore how the structure still provides ample opportunities for creative expression and flair.