Aspull 88 - 3 Preston
Aspull 2s were able to field a fairly strong 2nd team this weekend consisting of a squad of 19 players. Which is a testament to the ever increasing squad depth considering there were a considerable number of unavailable players. And a few players had been called up to play with the 1st XV in their massive cup game. Competition for places is at an all time high and its great for the whole club.
Aspull started poorly, running too narrow and trying to do too much at the line. The pack was dominant in the scrums, but Aspulls handling errors throughout the whole team were limiting the quick play rugby Aspull teams have been striving for in recent years. When they settled into their game plan, they were a different class.
Ethan Yates was his up to his usual tricks, crashing the ball in and making yards every time. So when captain John Gav played it out the back of him from a lineout in Prestons half, 4 defenders crashed into him. Leaving centre Ant Ridyard an easy 3 on 1 to put Chad Boyce in to open the scoring.
Ethan scored his first of his brace for the day, with the exact same move, in the exact same place, however this time John hit his big runner who broke a tackle to run in under the sticks, making it as easy as possible for Jeff Gav to bounce a conversion attempt off the very wide 2nd team pitch uprights!
Aspull were consistently making yards when they strung more than 2 phases together! And after going up the pitch, Jeff Gav, who after finally deciding his heavy christmas was unrecoverable, has revelled in new position as number 8, and crashed through two tackles under the sticks.
Henry Ryder rounded out the first half scoring with a moment of magic. Armed with a penalty advantage in his own half, he chipped the Preston line and recovered his own kick, before being well pushed to the touchline by the deep Preston fullback and 9. Running out of space he resorted to his boot again, and even a slightly cynical late shove into touch couldn't stop him regaining his footing, and out pacing the two of them to recover his own kick and touch down under the sticks for one of the trys on the day.
Aspull agreed at halftime to commit to playing their phases and the overall quality of rugby drastically improved. With John Gav having one of his better halves marshalling his pack, and Ant Ridyard running through the Preston line at will like he was just 42 again!
More tries from Ethan, Jeff, Henry, two from Ant, one from prop/second row/flanker/winger/kit man Matthew Wignal showing a turn of pace Jake Greenhalgh would have been proud of, racing through a gap to score from 20 yards out. Finally one from Tom Johnson, who was excellent on his first game back after a long spell off, who had a number of memorable takes under the high ball whenever Preston tried to clear. Put Aspull in the commanding position of 74-0 up.
20 yards out from Aspulls line, with 10 minutes to go in the game, Preston kicked a penalty. 74-3.
Prestons comeback was short lived.
A turnover just inside the Aspull half saw Adam Priest break away, his pace was not quite up there with Usain Wignall, and he was caught by Prestons scramble defence. He heard a call on his shoulder, offloaded. And there, in a cloud of deep heat and ibruprofen, was 183 year old loosehead prop Ian Scouse Robertson. Like a rampaging bull he ran the final 20m with three preston players on his back, to score in the corner to the games loudest cheer.
This makes it the 74th consecutive season with a try for Scouse. And his first longer than 10m.
The final try came as the captain capped off a very good half at 10, spotting the overlap, taking the ball to the line drawing 2 men, and hitting a flat ball to Adam Priest who walked in untouched. As he had done on 8 previous occasions today, Jeff Gavin added the extras successfully.
Special mentions go to Ryan Kay and Joel Prescott. Both were willing to turn out for Preston, who only turned up with 13, so we could have a 15 on 15 and get everyone a decent game. Both lads were two of prestons better players! Playing in systems they didn't know made it even more impressive.
For Aspull, Mike Farrimond did the dirty work hes never afraid to do. He was faultless in the line out, and smothered every attack Preston tried to build. Good games were had by Wignall, Brussells and Ridyard especially. But man of the match goes to Henry Ryder. Two good tries, a constant threat with the ball and solid in defence all day.
Aspull were frustrated with their performance today. But won 88-3. Says a lot about the make up of this team, that are now 2 points clear at the top of their league.
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