AYLESBURY Rugby Club recorded their first win for weeks as they squeaked past Wallingford on Saturday afternoon.
Aylesbury travelled to fellow strugglers Wallingford with a much changed team. Ays could only draw with Wallingford at home earlier in the season but hoped their superior league position would see them through in what would be a tight match.
Ays won the toss and elected to kick off. From the kick off Wallingford were penalised for obstruction and Gary Horne narrowly missed putting Ays into an early lead. Ays were playing well and pressurising Wallingford’s defence. On the half way line Ays fly half Jonny Burgess threw a long pass out and the Wallingford winger almost intercepted the pass, but in doing so knocked on. The referee penalised the player and surprisingly then showed him a yellow card with only four minutes on the clock. Ays now had a man advantage. However, this seemed to spur Wallingford who in the next five minutes latched on to some loose play from Ays as they tried to run the ball. With the sin bin eight minutes old, Wallingford suffered a second yellow card when the referee spotted a prop kicking an Ays player whilst he was on the ground.
Wallingford got one man back from the bin and pressed Ays back into their own territory for the first time in the match. Ays gave away a penalty just to the side of the posts but incredibly the kicked pulled the ball wide and so the score remained 0 – 0. However, it was Wallingford against the run of play, who started the scoring after half an hour when they scrambled the ball over the line wide out. The conversion was missed to take the score to 5 – 0.
Wallingford had another opportunity to stretch their lead to eight when Ays were penalised right in front their own posts. The Wallingford kicker was having a nightmare as he again pulled the kick wide. Ays were proving to be the better side gaining better ball but Wallingford’s defence remained solid. Ays squandered some chances with poor handling and passing. Yet again Ays gave Wallingford an opportunity to add to their score when they were penalised for handling in a ruck and again it was a simple kick in front of the posts. However, the nightmare for Wallingford’s kicker continued when he inexplicably missed.
Unfortunately, with only a few minutes left of the first half remaining the referee went down injured. Physios treated the injury and he was able to continue. With the half running out Ays were awarded a penalty thirty metres out and Gary Horne stepped up and slotted the penalty home to take the half time score to 5 – 3.
Wallingford kicked off to Ays to start the second half. Early exchanges were going Ays way but attacks came to nothing. Wallingford too had opportunities but they too came to nothing. After five minutes Ays were awarded a penalty which Horne converted to put them into a slim lead 5 – 6. Ays made a change after 20 minutes with Hackett coming on for Sale in the front row. Ays were looking to extend their lead and it was not long after that they had a good opportunity. Ays were pressing and after several phases fly half Jonny Burgess spotted a mismatch in the defence and he ran through to score near to the touch line. Horne nearly converted the try but the lead remained at six points. Score 5 -11.
Ays made another change with Matt Horton coming on in the backs for Richard Few. Ays were not content to rely on their slender lead and they opened the game up and ran the ball at Wallingford. However, this led to some strange decision making when forwards tried to drop goals and kick for position. This open approach gave Wallingford opportunities too as defences became less organised. Wallingford squandered one attacking situation which it seemed that they must score. Ays on the attack lost possession and Wallingford broke through the first tackle to open up a long run in to the try line with a four man overlap. If there was to be a man of the match, scrum half Adam Moore raced back and put in a superb covering tackle. The danger was not over as Wallingford retained possession with the line at their mercy but poor passing enabled Ays to scramble back and stop the attack. With game time running out Wallingford were awarded a penalty in Ays twenty two, three points would not be enough to win, so they elected to scrummage. Wallingford won the scrum and ran the ball at Ays but the defence held.
Ays had won but had won as they say ugly....still a win is a win.