ASHBOURNE reached the midway points of the season in fine form by edging past hosts Spalding to record a fourth consecutive win that takes them fourth in the table ahead of the Christmas break.
Ashbourne’s scrum dominated from the start, but Spalding’s number eight picked up to counter the drive.
However, two visiting tight props had to leave the field due to Ashbourne’s Sam Heath’s strength, and by half-time, all scrums were uncontested.
Simon Wint kicked an early penalty before Spalding scored the first try after some good handling.
A second Wint penalty made it 6-5 before a series of driving runs from the Ashbourne forwards saw Mark Broom go over under the posts, and Wint converted.
Spalding replied with a second try after their flanker broke through tackles to make it 13-10 to Ashbourne at the break.
Spalding drew level with a penalty with 10 minutes left before centre Adam Curley was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, but fly-half Richard snatched at a drop goal which sneaked over even though he didn’t hit true with four minutes to go, and Ashbourne held on to win.
Ashbourne travel to Dronfield in the Derbyshire Cup this Saturday afternoon, before the league resumes on January 4 with a crucial match at Bakewell.
ASHBOURNE: Heath, Wright, Fernihough, Rose, Lyon, Greenway, S Maznenko, Broom, Wint, R Smith, Farr, Curley, Worthington, J Donnelly, Halling; reps: Clayton, Bettany.
ASHBOURNE’S free-scoring fourths continued on their merry way on Saturday, with Congleton seconds their latest victims in a one-sided rout.
Congleton actually scrummed very well but were totally outclassed in open play against a home team that was a mixture of inexperienced youngsters and old heads tempted out of retirement.
Coached by Andy Keeling, they also have vastly experienced runners in Steve Briggs, Bryan Allen, Toby Green, Charlie Birch and captain George Ditchfield.
Given this ability in open play, Ashbourne were able to bury Congleton under an avalanche of tries, achieving nine touchdowns in total.