Ashford begun their league campaign with the trip to South East London against an RBS team who according to some of the older club members Ashford has never faced or at least nnbody could remember playing them.
Ashford looked well prepared and started with an energy and vibrancy which in truth RBS couldn’t match and as the score reflects this was a comfortable start to life in a lower league. Steve Tanner gave Ashford the lead with a well struck penalty 6 minutes and went onto score 20 points in total, converting 6 tries and scoring one of his own too.
Ashford were guilty of forcing it too much early on with a number of handling errors occurring when a final pass would’ve led to a try but after 14 minutes the returning Peter Walsh scored an easy try after some strong work from the Ashford pack.
A further 3 trues were scored before half time with Oli Finn, Tanner and Farai Myezwa all scoring to make the half time score 0 – 29.
The heavens opened and this did have an effect on Ashford’s ability to move the ball at pace but the Ashford pack continued to make huge holes and a well-functioning lineout allowed the backline to work off great set piece ball. Andy Ticehurst and Callum Stuckey were linking up well with the backs and this continuity was allowing Ashford to play some really fluid rugby in patches. Tom Kane scored an excellent team try, Jake Cotton picked the ball up one handed off his toes which for a 22 stone guy isn’t the easiest thing and this led to Walsh’s 2nd, then his centre partner Danny Bushell got in on the act bulldozing over the line, all converted by Tanner. Changes were made in the 2nd half and all 3 replacements had a positive impact with Craig Coggle dominant in the scrum, Charlie Colman looking composed at 10 and Dan Brown coming on at 8. Some great hands led to 2 Brown breaks where he found Jack Weaver in space and twice he raced away to score 2 further tries, final score 0 – 60.
This was undoubtedly a great way to start the new season and although there will be many stiffer challenges to come you can only beat what’s in front of you, which the boys did and convincingly so. Credit to RBS who kept going for the full 80 and will I’m sure be stronger as the season progresses.
This weekend Ashford face local rivals Cranbrook at home for what promises to a tough and close fought game as it historically always has been.