ASHBOURNE Under-17s got back to winning ways with a comprehensive win away to Ashby.
Having had very little rugby of any description since the turn of the year, the visitors could have been forgiven for being rather rusty in this rearranged fixture.
However they came racing out of the blocks, with the kick-off bouncing into touch on the home 22, and Ashbourne stealing the line out.
After several phases with both forwards and backs showing good passing and handling skills, Will Eyre powered over in the corner to give Ashbourne a 5-0 lead, virtually before the home side had touched the ball.
As is so often the case though, the U17s then found themselves up against a bigger pack, and found it hard to obtain good ball from the set piece.
They relied on turning over possession in the loose, which they did effectively on many occasions to snuff out the home attack.
Heroic defence kept out Ashby after a series of line outs and scrums close to the Ashbourne line, and the visitors always looked threatening with ball in hand, quicker and sharper than their opponents.
This was emphasised when two quick tries gave Ashbourne a grip on the game that they never looked like losing.
First Eyre touched down on the left, then Will Nash strode through a gaping hole after a sustained attack stretched Ashby to breaking point.
Excellent conversions made the score 19-0, and even though Ashby muscled over for a try just before the interval, the 19-7 scoreline reflected the extra dynamism and attacking threat that the visitors had showed.
The second half was evenly contested, on a heavy pitch and with Ashbourne facing a strong wind.
Ashby shaded possession and territory but rarely looked like breaking through, even after a yellow card left Ashbourne with 14 men for 10 minutes.
Nash then once more strolled through a gap in the home defence to touch down and make the match secure, with a late try for Ashby giving their score greater respectability.
Coach Mike Toms said: “The Under-17s have developed into a strong, cohesive unit that combines individual talent with real team spirit.
“They can now look to the final stages of the NLD Cup with real optimism.”