ASHBOURNE RFC coach Martin Farr praised an improved performance from his team as they picked up a double victory at the weekend.
The team travelled to Dronfield for a double-header, as the two sides agreed to count the match as a league encounter and a Derbyshire Senior Cup tie, and that decision worked in Ashbourne’s favour, as they eased to an 18-6 victory.
Farr said: “Sometimes when there’s a number of games to play, the teams will agree to count it as a double header, especially if there’s a lot of travelling involved.
“We tried to do it with Melbourne earlier in the season because it’s quite a trip, but – though the league agreed – they didn’t want to do that.”
Rob Farr, Monty Lyon and Chris Rose scored the only tries of the game, with Simon Wint’s early penalty completing the scoring for Ashbourne.
“We played a lot better than the previous week, when our lack of training over Christmas really showed us up,” said Farr.
“The forwards were particularly good because it was a quagmire of a pitch.”
That soggy but playable pitch dictated play a little with the heavy conditions limiting back play by both teams.
A bright start by Ashbourne was rewarded by a neat try by Farr after three minutes.
The forwards drove a large hole into Dronfield’s defence midfield through Chris Rose, Monty Lyon and John Ford, and Rich Smith at fly half broke left, off-loading in the tackle to Farr, who carried two defenders over the line with him and still got the ball down.
Simon Wint missed a hard conversion but was successful with a penalty 10 minutes later.
The home side collected a three-pointer as well, putting the score at 8-3 with a quarter of the game gone.
Dronfield began to monopolise possession, but a much-improved and organised defence saw several attacks thwarted well clear of the try line.
Flanker Steve Maznenko won several important turnovers in the muddy conditions he relishes, while centre Adam Curley and Jimmy Carter were both on top form both in defence and in carries and steals as Dronfield struggled to get into their visitors’ 22.
After an even second quarter, the score remained 8-3 at the break.
Ashbourne again mounted attacks after the interval, with forward drives, and good interplay between forwards and backs.
Mark Broom and Robyn Wright were dominant as another driving maul gathered momentum near the home side’s line, and with Jacob Fernihough assisting, Monty Lyon scored Ashbourne’s second, unconverted try.
Dronfield again found some spirit, battling for possession and forcing Ashbourne to concede penalties.
The home side eventually slotted one after several shots put the score at 13-6 with 15 minutes left.
A decent kick down the line by Curley allowed an attacking lineout 15 metres out, from where a planned catch and drive move saw yet another Ashbourne driving maul materialise in the heavy conditions.
Rose who went over this time after the visitors did well to stay on their feet against Dronfield’s tacklers.
ASHBOURNE: Clayton, Wright, Fernihough, Rose, Ford, S Maznenko, Lyon, Broom, Wint, Smith, McKinlay, Curley, J Carter (capt), Halling, R Farr, Bench, Heath, Worthington, Greenway.