ASHBOURNE cut the gap to second-placed Spalding to nine points in Midlands Two East (North) after producing one of the performances of the season to see off lowly Kesteven.
After kick-off was delayed for 10 minutes following a torrential downpour, it took the hosts just three minutes to take an early lead.
Mark Broom came off the front of a driving maul with the ball in his hands, and the visitors were caught napping as he sprinted 25 metres to the line.
Simon Wint hit the post to keep the advantage at five points.
The brave crowd were heartened to see up’ard Robyn Wright charging into Kesteven’s defence, ably assisted by down’ard John Ford.
It was hard for the visitors to cope as the pair led Ashbourne’s fight for more points – with Ford enjoying his best performance of the season.
The slippy ball and playing surface was handled superbly by Jimmy Carter’s men, who made few errors, with excellent inter-passing in loose and open play.
The second try, which arrived midway through the half, was neatly finished by Carter after Mark Broom drove on.
Quick ruck ball from Wint allowed fly-half Rich Smith to launch a set move involving centre Adam Curley.
Curley fed Rob Farr who gave Carter a decent pass to charge over. The hard conversion was missed.
To their credit, Kesteven battled and tackled well, but although reaching the home side’s 22 on several occasions, their scrummage was never strong enough to secure quality ball to mount a potential try-scoring attack.
Ashbourne should also be pleased with giving away minimal penalties in the rucks when defending.
As the teams changed ends at half time, talk in the Ashbourne’s camp was to push for two more tries to gain a bonus point in a bid to make up ground on Spalding.
They achieved their goal with two tries from the back row forwards. Monty Lyon was first over the line before Broom grabbed the next.
Wint kicked the easiest of the conversions to complete the 22-0 scoreline.
Ashbourne flankers Steve Maznenko and Ellis Greenway also impressed with immense contributions as the pitch deteriorated into a brown mass of mud.
Ashbourne have trips to Bakewell and Loughborough over the next two weeks before hosting Melbourne on February 15.
ASHBOURNE: Sam Heath, Robyn Wright, Tom Clayton (Jacob Fernihough), John Ford, Chris Rose, Steve Maznenko (Ellis Greenway), Monty Lyon, Mark Broom, Simon Wint, Rich Smith, Chris Halling (Adam McKinlay), Adam Curley, Jimmy Carter, Rob Farr, Ed Worthington.
ASHBOURNE seconds celebrated an impressive away win at Derby after triumphing 20-0.
Ashbourne who handled the tough wet conditions better with a superb team effort. The forwards dominated the tight play, with backs denying the hosts’ runners any space.
Tries arrived Andy Hollick, Lewis Robinson and Brett Ogle with a penalty and conversion from Dan Ryde.
GEORGE Ditchfield’s Ashbourne fourths made it a hat-trick of wins after beating Uttoxeter seconds 24-5.
Oli Beresford, Jake Smith, Mark Cunningham and Roger Glithero scored the tries. Two conversions were slotted over by Smith.