ASHBOURNE RFC turned in a convincing performance to establish themselves as a promotion contenders against rivals Oakham.
Again the home side’s forwards were dominant in the tight, and line-outs were good too, with Robyn Wright finding jumpers Chris Rose and John Ford with accurate delivery.
The backs ran hot and cold, tackling and evasive lines being superb, but the final pass delivery not up to scratch.
Scoring started early, Simon Wint with a penalty, then Oakham hit back with a converted try from Oakham after the defence line was caught out by a skilful kick over them by the visitors’ number 10.
A try for Ashbourne from Mark Broom followed after a series of scrums five metres out.
A planned scrum and drive paid off, creating an easy score and Wint converted to make it 10-5 after 25 minutes.
Ashbourne’s habit off conceding penalties in the loose continued, mostly for handling on the floor, sometimes for the tackler not moving away quickly enough.
They do not appear to be slow learners, but a pattern game on game is occurring and surely amongst the squad accountability must be addressed if a push for the top two is desired.
There was then a let off after Oakham missed an easy penalty from in front of the posts to close the gap.
The resulting 22 restart was charged down back to the home side, and as they improvised to recover, a pass was intercepted to score a soft five points making it 10-10.
The play went end to end but it was always Ashbourne who gained points, and just before half-time Mark Broom scored his second try after a series of scrums on the visitors’ line.
Another conversion from increasingly influential scrum-half Wint made the score 17-10 at half time.
Soon after the break, Jimmy Carter made yet another superb line break, only to squander it with a dodgy pass to the support runner.
Ellis Greenway had his best game of the season with a dynamic performance and showed speed and quick thinking as he continues to find his feet at this level.
Ashbourne increased their lead through a try from the improving Chris Rose, who has struggled to find his game pace since being unavailable in earlier games but is now in the plays more often than not.
It was a line-out again that delivered the platform to break the visitors’ line.
Oakham played themselves back into the game briefly but mostly from Ashbourne conceding penalties.
A five-metre lineout saw them drive for the line, concede another penalty, and another home player went in the bin for repeated offence.
Oakham continued to be positive but as soon as scrums were awarded, Ashbourne were back in control.
Wint secured another easy penalty to push the home side 17 points clear with 10 minutes left, and the game petered out to finish 27-10.
Next week’s game away at unbeaten league leaders Spalding marks the season’s halfway point.