Versus Ashby : 8th September 2007

Ashby 1st XV 18pts
Amber Valley 1st XV 10pts
Valley opened their league campaign with a disappointing loss away at Ashby. Valley rued the opening 10 minutes as they left their minds in the dressing room and allowed Ashby to race into a 10 nil lead through two tries from their Winger who has now scored 7 tries in 3 games against Valley.

Despite knowing exactly what Ashby’s plan would be, i.e. get the ball wide as quickly as possible, Valley failed to counter this and were duly punished.img 5

However once Valley woke up and got into their game they showed that it was not going to be all one-way traffic as they started to dominate possession, with their powerful scrum again disrupting Ashby ball and providing some clean ball for the backs to attack.

Ashby’s defence held firm and despite some good breaks from Mick Ash and Stewart Kirkup they couldn’t find the final pass to get points on the board. Valley Valley were finding that they had possession but in the loose the ball was a touch too slow and allowed the home sides defence to organise and Valley too often found themselves battering at a wall.

Valleys domination was not complete however as Ashby had enough of the ball to cause problems, but after the wobble at the start of the game it held firm and the resultant pressure meant Ashby had to keep the ball tighter, their big fly half trying too often to run through Valleys defence instead of spinning it wide.

Valleys opening points came from a Luke Willan drop goal shortly before half time and the three points really boosted the team.

The second half continued as the first had ended with a Luke Willan drop goal attempt, although the fly-half pushed this one just wide, but Valley were getting into the position to score points and putting sufficient pressure on the Ashby Defence that it was only a matter of time before the try came.

Substitute Lee Chapman popped up at the right moment to score to the right of the posts after good work from Liam Dowdall and the final pass from Lee Steemson. Credit should also go to the entire Valley pack who really bossed the second half, forcing 3 Ashby props off the field. Unfortunaletly late on this led to uncontested scrums which denied Valley some of their attacking platform.

Valley had two chances to win the game, 13-10 down with 5 minutes to go first a series of driving mauls got to the line but the Ball was disappointingly dropped over the line and because of the uncontested scrummage Ashby had no problems in clearing their lines.

Shortly after a hashed clearance went straight down the throat of Full-back Stewart Kirkup who broke into the 22 and spun the ball wide to Steemson to finish off, but the ball didn’t quite go to hand and Ashby were able to hack the ball forward. Valley should have been able to clear the ball into touch to re-set but an individual error let Ashby hack the ball on again and score a try which was to prove the winner.

Overall Valley were pleased with the performance considering that Ashby had done so much damage to the team last year but were disappointed that they could not take their chances to win the game.