East Retford 2nd XV 5 vs Ashbourne 3rd XV 60
By Scott Smith
Points on points, as the young bucks perform well.
Ashbourne 3rd XV travelled to East Retford 2nd XV on Saturday to play a friendly match. With no 4th team fixture and a proposed Vets game Ashbourne took a youthful squad of 19 to the north Nottingham team. With a good warm up under their belt Ashbourne lost the toss and were forced to play up hill.
It was evident from the off that East Retford would try and use their size up front to try and dominate the game. After a physical and aggressive opening 5 minutes Ashbourne were camped deep inside their own 22. With some outstanding defensive play from the forwards Ashbourne turned over a ball and scrum half Dom Harrison was quick to realise that the away team had numbers on the outside. Bradshaw releasing the ball to Bailey who found Jake Smith on the wing. Smith decided to turn on the gas and ghosted pass the oncoming home defence to run the ball from inside his own half the score under the posts. He got up to convert the try himself.
This was pretty much the story of the first half, Ashbourne defending tirelessly in their own 22, with Pack leader Higson and Veteran Second row Stewart Bailey leading the defensive line. Acres and Banks making tackle after tackle. Another break from inside their own 22 saw Jake Smith score another 50m try, the winger playing with real confidence after last week’s hat trick. Soon after the restart it was Stevie Ebbrells turn to score, more good work coming from Gary Waring in the centres allowed Ebbrell to sprint clear and score under the posts.
Time for speeding winger Jake Smith to complete his hat trick. With some great tackling by Marsden and Woodroffe the ball bounced clear, great football skills by Ebbrell and Smith meant Smith completed his hat trick with in 20 minutes of the start of the game.
Time for name sake but not as quick Captain Scott Smith to get in on the action, Ashbourne won a scrum inside their half and some outstanding play by Higson and Harrison allowed Bailey and Bradshaw to combine nicely to create the space for Smith to sprint clear and beat the full back to just make it over the line. Jake Smith converted the try.
With 30 minutes on the clock the travelling team had were already 35 points to the good. Again it was Captain Smith who score the next try of the game with a fantastic break by marathon man James Marsden who just ran out of steam, he played the ball to Bradshaw who drew his man to pass the ball to Smith who had an easy finish in the corner.
Jake Smith wasn’t happy with his 3 first half tries, after some good work by Bailey and Waring in the centres, Smith sped clear to score his 4th of the half.
Time for changes to be made, on came Lyon Rushton, Jake Ainsworth, Zak Dakin and Ross Keeling. All were involved in the final try of the half with young full back Ben Ditchfield diving over in the corner to score his first try of the season. Half time score 45-0 to the visitors.
Highlight of the half was Dan ‘Weege’ Galvin being double dump tackled by both East Retford Centres. Classic.
The second wasn’t quite as open as the first, maybe it was a combination of Ashbourne taking their foot off the pedal or the home team wanting to win the half. Both teams played with great aggression and defended well. It was a test of the away teams resolve, it was clear to see that they didn’t wat to concede. Both Ditchfield and Keeling making last ditch try saving tackles.
Josh Bailey has been performing extremely well this season and was rewarded with another try to add to this seasons tally. He managed to combine strength and speed to power his way over the try line to score. Converted by Harrison.
Ashbourne’s finally try was scored by number 8 Ed Higson, who picked up the ball on the edge of the home team’s 22 to smash his way through 3 oncoming tackles to score under the posts. He converted his own try with a cheeky little drop goal conversion.
In the final minute the home team did manage a consolation try.
Another pleasing performance by the team and this leaves Captain Smith with a really tough decision to make ahead of the next league game vs Matlock 2nd XV this coming Saturday.