Ashford travelled to New Ash Green for the first time in a number of seasons on Saturday and in great rugby conditions were given a real test of what Kent 1 rugby can be about.
With a growing injury list and absences there were yet more changes made to the Ashford side as Tom Brookes, Mason Pilcher, Lewis Remington and Aaron Bowes made their first 1st XV appearances of the season.
Ashford, not for the first time started slowly and were soon 7 – 0 down after the home sides lively number 9 scored a try which was as much about the poor tackling as it was his pace. Ashford were under the pump again soon after and it was only a poor final pass from NAG which spared their blushes and left them still only 7 behind. Ben Gray left the field early with a shoulder injury and a rejig of the backline ensued, supply to the backs was few and far between as Ashford struggled to put any phases together and made countless handling errors along the way.
On the two occasions when Ashford showed some continuity in the first half they scored 2 tries, the first from Dan Sherrin who had an excellent game and the 2nd from Nathan Wood. NAG scored in between these tries and at half time it was 12 – 10 to NAG.
Ashford again came out the blocks slow and were 19 – 10 down within 3 minutes of the 2nd half. Ashford rallied and scored another try converted by Tanner before again letting NAG score to stretch the lead out to 26 – 17. Despite some late pressure from the away side, NAG held on for a well-deserved win against an Ashford side which never looked like winning the game.
Ashford now go into a break weekend before returning on the 21st October with a home against Southwark Lancers.
In a busy weekend at Kinneys Field, Ashford 2s continued their winning streak in league games on Saturday, with a convincing 37-10 win over Tonbridge Juddians. Despite having to make do without the services of captain Ben Jones (Injured) and vice captain, Tom Brookes (promoted to 1st XV), the team was admirably led by prop Glen Collins a secured a third successive win this season and maintaining its 100% record. The pack provided a strong platform behind which young half backs Surjit Gurung and Adam Kelsey produced some scintillating pace that opened up gaps for the backs. The team ran in six tries, with winger Ollie Gray adding a penalty and two conversions to the tally.
On Sunday, it was the turn of Ashford Ladies to open up this season’s league campaign with a convincing 48-0 win over Beccehamians.
This coming weekend will be another busy one for Ashford Rugby Club. On Saturday, the 2s host Leigh in a league fixture, whilst the 3s take on Tonbridge Juddians 5s. On Sunday morning, the Club hosts an East Kent Under 10s tournament and two Juniors games at U13 and U15 levels. In the afternoon, there is a Cup double header, with Ashford Vets playing Canterbury in a Veterans Cup Match, and the Ladies host Barnes in an RFU Intermediate Cup tie.