Kings College Hospital 36
In front of the last Vice President’s gathering of the season, Ashford were intent on putting a difficult last few weeks behind them with a better performance than they’d delivered recently. Much soul searching had happened in training during the week and a couple of changes were made to the starting line up as injured players, suspension and poor performances forced Head Coach Dengate to make some changes.
Ashford, were not sure what to expect from a Kings College outfit who they’d beaten earlier in the season but who had also claimed some big scalps in the last couple of months. They are renowned as being one of those sides who can be awful one week and sublime the next as their playing personnel changes on a regular basis, just the week before they had struggled to get a full 15 out at all!
It was quickly apparent that this week there had been no such troubles on the selection front and sporting a backline which was unrecognisable from the one faced earlier in the season they tore into Ashford. The simple truth of the matter is that Ashford weren’t ready for the onslaught they faced in the first 25 minutes, with the Kings fly half and full back in particular looking a class above anything else on the pitch they played at a tempo and with a precision that the Ashford side hadn’t face in a long while. Coach Dengate was right when he said “everything stuck” for the away side, after 24 minutes they had scored 4 tries all orchestrated by the fly half whos range of passing Ashford never got to grips with all game.
So, 24 minutes gone, 26 points conceded and Ashford all at sea with a much bigger loss on the cards, now was the time for character and ownership from the Ashford boys and thankfully they showed it. No more points were conceded before half time and Ashford despite having to use all their substitutes were starting to play some of their own rugby. The outstanding Tom Perkins and Lewis Remington were well supported by a pack of forwards who didn’t take a backwards step all game, in the backs Aaron Bowes was having a tremendous game in defense and were was a more robust presence in the centres with the introduction of Peter Walsh and Danny Bushell.
The second half saw Ashford continue to play more of the rugby and whilst they never looked like getting back into the game from a result perspective they did themselves justice by playing a more direct brand of rugby. The Kings boys certainly weren’t having it all their own way but they still looked dangerous in attack and were able to add another 10 points in the second half. Still Ashford came back, there were many who did themselves credit in the 2nd half not least Charlie Norman and captain Danny Leech who were committed, encouraging and led from the front throughout.
Final score was 0 – 36, disappointing on the face of it and certainly there is a sense that this has been a long season and that maybe the Ashford boys are running out of steam but they were simply outplayed especially in the first 30 minutes of the game by a side with some real class in it. If Kings were able to put this side out every week they would be topping this league but that will never happen, and the truth of the matter is they’re happy playing this level of rugby, unfortunately for Ashford they faced the best possible Kings side on Saturday.
There’s now a weeks rest for Easter before 2 final league games give the whole squad a chance to finish the season in style, winning games of rugby.