So good were Aylesbury in their pursuit of an unlikely double over league leaders Reading Abbey on Saturday, the opposition’s manager could not believe they were not pushing for promotion.
The Ay’s travelled to Reading knowing that the last time they faced the high-fliers in November, they managed to upset them with a victory.
The visitors started strongly with the pack to the fore and forced Reading Abbey into repeated infringements, but centre James Woodfall couldn’t take the pair of penalty opportunities and the score remained 0-0 after 20 minutes.
Ay’s lost talismanic club captain Gary Horne to a knee injury on half hour and it was the man who moved to cover him, Woodfall, who put the Ducks ahead (3-0).
The lead was short lived though as the home side crossed the line with a try out wide, the conversion was good and they led 7-3, which the score remained until half-time.
It was an evenly matched first-half, with the home side struggling to cope with the bulk of the Aylesbury pack. Coach Larham asked for more of the players in the second half and said to do the double over them would set the Ducks up for the rest of the season.
The second half started badly though with the Abbey backs showing their pace with a try out wide, with the conversion missed, the visitors knew they were facing an uphill battle at 12-3 down.
But Woodfall found his kicking boots and slotted three penalties to make the score 12-12 going into the final quarter. The home side managed to nudge ahead with a brace of penalties (18-12) and crucially the Ducks lost McWilliams to the sin bin.
The Ducks were roused into action, though, and after constant forward pressure, they pushed the home side over the line in front of the post, Woodfall with the try, to make the score 18-17.
This gave the visitors an opportunity to snatch the game, Woodfall though, who had brought the men of Ostler’s field back into the game, could not slot the kick and it was the home side who were relieved to hear the whistle.
Speaking after the game boss Dave Larham said: “Their coach couldn’t believe why we weren’t challenging for promotion!
“I was proud of the effort, but I am worried how what is now a threadbare squad will cope going into the last few games of the season.
“But it’s onwards to the next game (a rearranged away matcha at Drifters).”