Aylesbury must learn their lessons after leaders prove too good

Gary Horne goes over for Aylesbury's third try. Picture by MarkBannisterPhotography.com
Gary Horne goes over for Aylesbury's third try. Picture by MarkBannisterPhotography.com

Head coach Dave Larham wants his Aylesbury team to learn from their 32-17 defeat to table-topping Reading Abbey at the weekend.

Larham was pleased with his side’s performance but admitted the runaway leaders were just too good, with the Ducks still second in the Southern Counties North, five clear of third.

“Obviously the result was disappointing and means we have four games remaining to secure the runner-up place and promotion play-off position.

“Our performance would have been good enough to beat any other team in the league, but Reading Abbey are a very good outfit.

“I felt we had more possession than Abbey, but it was our errors that were punished by the Abbey outside backs.

“There were some good individual performances for us, but ultimately our lack of game management at times saw us put under unnecessary pressure.

“We talked as a collective group after the game and agreed that we have to learn from this setback and develop our tactical understanding alongside our technical skills.

“The real value of this defeat is for us to reflect on our individual and team preparation to then demonstrate the character needed to win our four remaining league games.”

Aylesbury knew anything less than victory would end their hopes of the title but they found themselves behind early on when a Reading scrum ended in an unconverted try.

Straight from the restart, Abbey’s wing took the ball straight back to Aylesbury and broke through several tackles before scoring under the posts, with the conversion firing the home side into a 12-0 lead.

The Ducks hit back when they won a scrum on the Reading five-metre line and the power of their pack proved too much as the ball was sent wide for Matt Dennis to squeeze over in the corner.

But just as Aylesbury appeared to be back in the game, Woodfall missed the conversion kick and Reading ran in another try to go into half-time leading 17-5.

Reading then took total control in the second half as a penalty followed by a converted try put them 27-5 ahead.

Abbey also added another try but Aylesbury finished strongly as a powerful drive across the try line from the forwards saw Jim Dodds touch down, with Woodfall adding the extra two points.

The Ducks also had the final say when, in the final few minutes, flanker Gary Horne sprinted from the halfway line and outpaced the home wingers to score out wide.

Aylesbury now have a week off before facing Stow-on-the-Wold.

There was better news back at Ostler’s Field on Saturday as the 2nd XV overcame Oxford Harlequins 20-14 and the 3rd XV went top of their league following their defeat of Reading IVs.

On Sunday, the U15s defeated Buckingham U15s 27-7 in their cup semi-final.