Dave Larham said Aylesbury’s first win of the season over Alchester was a welcome reward at the end of a ‘challenging week’ during which he has battled to raise the team’s self-belief.
While Larham is still not 100% happy with where the Ducks are performance-wise, he was thrilled with the effort of his makeshift side.
“It was great to get a much-needed win against a spirited Alchester team,” he said.
“I felt we were the better team, but still failed to turn our possession and territorial dominance in to points.
“Its been a challenging week for the team management to raise the self-belief and intensity of this group of players. Injuries and unavailability made it difficult to put a recognisable 18 players on to the pitch.
“The boys who were given the shirt rose to the challenge and kick-started our season.”
One man who particularly caught Larham’s eye was prop Andy Hackett, who he feels has set a benchmark for performance for his teammates.
“I must mention Andy as he epitomised how we expect the first XV to play when they represent the club with a performance based on hard work for the team,” Larham said.
After their opening day defeat to Thatcham last time out, Ay’s were looking to get their league campaign back on track when they welcome Alchester to Ostler’s Field.
Early pressure from Ay’s resulted in two penalties both of which James Woodfall successfully kicked.
But Ay’s nearly gave up their early 6-0 lead by letting Alchester in for the first try of the game. Fortunately the touch line conversion went wide of the posts and the score remained 6-5.
Ay’s forwards’ dominance began to show with the final score of the first half when they drove a maul on the Alchester 22 metre line from which Jim Dodds touched down. Woodfall added the conversion to make it 13-5 at the break.
Ay’s were then first to get on the scoreboard in the second half through another Woodfall penalty.
Alchester, who never looked like giving up, attacked the Aylesbury try line and after a period of intense pressure from the Alchester forwards Ay’s captain ‘Alexie’ Sale was sent to the sin bin when he was controversially adjudged to have infringed at the ruck.
Alchester took advantage of the extra man to score out wide, but failed with the tricky touch line conversion. Jonny Burgess added another three points for Ay’s with a penalty in front of the posts to seal victory.
Aylesbury entertain Wallingford on Saturday (3pm).