Weekend off for Aylesbury after heroic win over previously unbeaten league leaders

Aylesbury beat Reading Abbey in an Ostler's Field mud bath Photo: Mark Bannister
Aylesbury beat Reading Abbey in an Ostler's Field mud bath Photo: Mark Bannister
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Aylesbury chief Dean Gray praised his side’s honesty after they turned around recent poor form and results with a brilliant bonus point win over previously unbeaten Reading Abbey.

After some humbling defeats of late, most recently last week against Olney, the Ducks chairman had voiced his disapproval at the way the first 15 had performed.

Gray’s reluctant criticism was echoed by head coach Dave Larham who called the second half showing against Olney “totally unacceptable”.

But what a difference a week made as Ay’s sealed a bonus point win with a fourth try at the death in a mud bath at Ostler’s Field.

“I think the boys showed great honesty in turning it around after last weeks loss,” Gray said.

“We have a week off before two very winnable games versus Slough and Tadley and the focus will be on repeating this weekend performance”

The unbeaten league leaders failed to adapt to the ever-worsening conditions while the Ay’s excelled.

Kris Hardman had a great game playing at eight but it was the front row of Sam Chappell, Matt Birch and Luke Gardener who were jointly awarded the man of the match award for their more than impressive display in the tight. The game was almost 30 minutes old when Ays’ dominance paid dividends, driving a scrum over Reading’s line from 10 metres with Hardman touching down. Woodfall was unable to convert (5-0).

Matt Birch extended Aylesbury’s lead to 10-0, touching down out wide to give boss Larham plenty to smile about at the break.

Woodfall slotted a penalty to extend Ays lead to 13-0 and as the rain poured down it became difficult to distinguish between the two sets of muddied players. It was 16-0 after Woodfall slotted home a penalty following a punch by a Reading front row, who was sin-binned as a result.

Reading hit back with a converted try (16-7) but the Magenta and Blacks were not fazed and Luke Gardner touched down to put the hosts two scores ahead (21-7).

Reading are not top without good reason, though, and they showed great quality to put a winger in unopposed to reduce the deficit. The conversion was good to make things uncomfortable at 21-14. But, with less than 10 minutes to go Ays showed great spirit and rallied to control the ball before Woodfall forced his way over the Reading try line to secure the fourth try and a bonus point league win.

Ay’s have a week off before facing Slough on December 8.