Aylesbury fall at the first hurdle in Bucks Shield with 16-15 defeat at Bletchley.
A missed conversion late on condemned Aylesbury to an early exit when they travelled to face Bletchley in the first round of the Bucks Shield.
The last time these two sides met, two weeks ago in their league fixture at Ostler’s Field, it was Bletchley who were the favourites, but following their defeat to Aylesbury on that occasion the odds were this time looking to be in favour of the visitors.
In the absence of Ay’s head coach Dave Larham who was back at Ostler’s Field guiding the 2nd XV, Aylesbury’s assistant coach Gareth Collings took charge for this Cup fixture.
Both teams were fielding changed sides for this non league county competition, due to injuries, unavailability and the need to rest players.
As the game got underway both sets of players were showing signs of nerves with errors abounding on all sides.
It was not long before Ay’s got themselves on the score board as Bletchley were penalised in their own half and James Woodfall slotted the ball between the posts to put Ay’s 0-3 ahead.
Bletchley responded in style though as they ran the ball into Ay’s half and a cleverly executed cross field kick was expertly caught by their wing who ran in a try close to the corner post. The conversion was off target but the 5 points nudged Bletchley ahead.
Bletchley’s lead was not to last though as Ay’s prop Sam Chappell gathered a loose ball in his own half and offloaded to centre Liam D’Almeida who then sprinted 50 metres evading the Bletchley defenders to score under the posts. Woodfall kicked the easy conversion to put Ay’s ahead 5-10 going into the half time break.
The second half saw Bletchley run in another try to tie the scores at 10-10.
As the clock ticked down it was beginning to look as if the game could go to extra time, but then Bletchley broke the deadlock when they were awarded a penalty in front the Ay’s posts. The kick was on target to put Bletchley 13-10 ahead.
But just as the Bletchley supporters were beginning to sense victory Ay’s winger Andy Blacklock made a superb break from deep in his own half to score Ay’s second try. Crucially though James Woodfall was unsuccessful with the conversion attempt so with minutes left Ay’s had to defend a mere 2 point lead.
Then Bletchley were thrown a life line as Ay’s gave away a penalty within kick able distance of their posts. The ball sailed between the posts to give Bletchley victory by the narrowest of margins and to put them through to the next round of the Bucks Shield.