Kings College Hospital 17
4 wins in a row, all away from home and this arguably the best performance of the lot as the team continues to grow in confidence and develop every week.
There have been many factors that can be attributed to the turn around in performances and results over the last few weeks, but certainly consistency of selection has played a big factor. Having a real core of players training week in, week out and being available is without doubt helping the side to grow and they’re constantly learning from their experiences which is great to see.
Ashford as now seems customary started at a searing pace, and played all of the rugby in the first quarter as Kings College who are above Ashford in the league seemed unable to match their physicality, particularly around the breakdown where Ashford dominated all day. A smart reverse pass from Charlie Colman fed the electric Chris Baker who in turn found Captain Rhys Fussell who sped away to score the opening try, converted by Steve Tanner. Ashford continued to apply the pressure and should’ve scored more but lacked the final pass and a little composure at the vital moments. Kings started to wake up and soon scored a well worked try which in truth Ashford handed to the home side with some weak tackling and poor line speed.
Just before half time and with the scores locked at 7 – 7, Callum Stuckey fed Dan Brown who trundled down the flank to score a well deserved try and take a well deserved half time lead at 7 – 12.
Ashford were dominant in the set piece and mention should go to the front row of King, Kane and Coggle, but Kings are a good side who seemed to be at their best when the game became open and they were playing all the rugby in the 3rd quarter. Ashford who now have a very attack minded defensive approach were able to control the home side attacks, they did eventually yield 3 points through a couple of lapses but in general the defence was good. At 10 – 12 the game was very much in the balance but Ashford stepped up their work, started utilising the power plays in the pack and some smart hands from the backline saw Fussell scamper away to score his second and Ashford’s third, this was ably converted by Tanner.
Play ebbed and flowed for the next 10 minutes as Ashford with their 9 point lead controlled play and looked set to be heading for a comfortable win, that’s not the Ashford way though! Kings attacked and some sloppy defending allowed a converted try to be scored, 17 – 19 with 5 minutes left.
This is where the Ashford boys are now a very different side as rather than crumble they stayed focused, played smart rugby to gain territory and when half way penalty was awarded Ashford kicked to the 22. The lineout which worked well all day was taken by Callum Stuckey and Ashford proceeded to drive their opposition straight into the goal posts and allow Brown to flop over the line much to the joy of the travelling support and team, Tanner once again converted and Ashford had won their 4th game on the bounce.
You might think based on this report that the score line flatters the Ashford boys but this couldn’t be further from the truth, they dominated this game for 60 minutes and only let Kings score through lapses in concentration. The challenge now is to put together a 80 minute performance and with 3 more games before the Christmas break they need to be pushing hard as there’s clearly a lot more to come from this side.