Ashford – 36
RBS – 31
Ashford concluded their 2017/18 season at home in front of a crowd basking the in the Spring sun against RBS who they had comprehensively beaten in the first game of the season back in September which felt like a very long time ago.
10 minutes into the game and it looked like Ashford might be on the wrong end of a thumping themselves as RBS started well, scoring 2 converted tries and were 14 points to the good with their tails firmly up. Ashford steading the ship through a try from Dan Brown who with the support of a great pack ended up the seasons top try scorer, Tanner converted to get Ashford back within 7 points. Farai Myezwa was at his magical best and tormented his opposite man all day, his quick footwork and pace enabled him to break free and score his 10th try of the season, again Tanner converted and we were all square with Ashford very much in the ascendancy.
The tide had turned and Ashford were on the front foot with youngsters Ben Gray and Will Blyth pulling the strings at half back, it was Myezwa who scored his 2nd of the day just before half time to leave it 19 – 14 at the interval. A sloppy start had been forgotten and the dialogue at half time was around putting the opposition away and finishing with a good win.
Ashford started the 2nd half with those words clearly ringing in their ears as Dan Brown got his 2nd of the game, next up was Charlie Cox who at 17 was making this debut, he made sure it was one to remember as some smart work down the flank from Tanner and Andy Ticehurst unleashed Cox who raced away to score under the posts, this was converted and Ashford had a 17 point gap on their opposition.
The last 20 minutes saw a resurgent RBS come back at Ashford with 2 swift tries before Ben Gray collected a slightly fortuitous bounce to score the final points of Ashford’s season. With 10 minutes to go, panic stations set in as RBS again narrowed the margin to within one score, Ashford were under the cosh and defending frantically to maintain their advantage. RBS moved the ball wide and only a dropped pass from their winger prevented them from securing what had seemed only 15 minutes ago an unlikely victory.
Ashford held on and finished the season with a victory and 5th place in the league. Whilst at one point this season promotion and a Twickenham final were on the cards, it might have seemed difficult to accept the 5th place league position but for the first time in 3 seasons Ashford are really competitive and winning games. Everyone involved this season would’ve learned a lot from the challenges they’ve faced and hopefully the experience gleaned will set the Ashford boys in good stead for next season when it comes round in September.