They dominated territory and possession and forced Mids to concede a succession of penalties. Winger Steven Tanner was unerring in his placekicking and the visitors were 9-0 ahead after 16 minutes. But for a fine saving tackle by full back John Bocking the hosts might have been further behind. Though being outgunned in the scrum, Mids put up stout resistance and two good turnovers steadied the ship. After 30 minutes Mids had their first sustained period of pressure and battered the Ashford line. Ashford held out, conceding penalties in the process. Bocking and fly half Dan Crouch kept Mids on the offensive and eventually a high tackle gave the home kicker the chance to open his account and reduce the arrears to 9-3.
Ashford came again and Mids had to defend some strong drives with lock Matt Shillabeer putting in some big hits. Bocking continued to impress and Mids were still in the game coming up to the interval.
Coach Andy Edwards was insistent that Mids up their game in the second half and they were transformed. Right from the off they took the play to Ashford and a scrum that had been second best was suddenly in charge. 4 minutes in they got a maul going and powered over with skipper Ali Hall getting the touchdown. Crouch’s conversion gave Mids the lead. George Daniels at No. 8 was everywhere and his sure hands in lineout and from kicks allowed him to give Mids a platform time and again. Crouch dinked a little kick for centre James Orchard to gather and float a pass to winger Marc McEvilly and this exciting runner had space yawning in front of him only for the pass to be judged forward. Mids kept the pedal on and flanker Nigel Peart put in a huge hit at a ruck to force a turnover. The home scrum now won a penalty and Crouch kicked the points for a 13-9 margin after 52 minutes. Mids soon lost their lead, however when Ashford broke down the right and four straightforward tackles were missed. Ashford seemed to knock on but their full back Chris Baker kept going and his try put the visitors a point in front. Daniels reorganised his forces and Mids won several penalties from their pressure. Crouch kicked Mids back into the lead after 59 minutes and then put them 19-14 ahead with a huge kick from the 10 metre line.
The Ashford forwards suddenly came to life again and put in a fierce onslaught but Mids defended well with Daniels athletically taking a key Ashford lineout ball.
With 3 minutes of normal time remaining Mids were picking and driving well as the situation demanded but then in midfield they lost control of the ball. Ashford pressed , intercepted and then knocked the ball yards forward. Unfortunately the referee was unsighted and a stunned home team watched Ashford’s scrum half Reece Fussell sail under the posts for the winning 7 pointer. This was a bitter pill for Mids who had turned the game around and for Daniels in particular who had played his heart out.