Ducks overwhelm Drifters to extend unbeaten home run

A mud-caked Cory Neighbour crashes over for a try. Picture by Mark Bannister
A mud-caked Cory Neighbour crashes over for a try. Picture by Mark Bannister

Aylesbury head coach Dave Larham was delighted with his side’s performance after their one-sided 36-3 victory over Drifters at Ostler’s Field on Saturday.

Up against a side with just one win since mid-October, Aylesbury’s 16-match unbeaten home run never looked in any danger as they ran in six tries to overwhelm the visitors and keep themselves second in the Southern Counties North.

Speaking afterwards, Larham said: “I thought our boys were superb today in very challenging conditions. In some ways, we had to overcome both Drifters and the muddy pitch to win the game.

“We called upon the team to play the pitch and conditions, remain focused throughout and defend our try line with genuine pride and tenacity.

“We got our tactics right and were able to use all 18 players during a stage of the season when all players want a starting shirt and game time to prove themselves.

“Gary Horne produced a three-try Man of the Match performance while I thought Scott McKenzie controlled the ball despite the mud and the pitch.”

On a heavy pitch, Ay’s were quickly into their stride as they ran into the visitors’ half and following some superb handling, the ball was move swiftly across the pitch for James Woodfall to touch down in the corner.

Woodfall missed the conversion and Drifters responded with a penalty, but Aylesbury’s powerful pack combined to produce the next score with Gary Horne claiming the try after the visitors had been driven back by a rampant Ay’s scrum.

This time Woodfall made no mistake with the conversion and young winger Sam Page soon added the Ducks’ third try as he touched down in the corner to give Aylesbury a commanding 17-3 lead at half-time.

The second period saw the home side assume total control, although they had to wait until the final quarter to secure a fourth and bonus-point try when the forwards again showed their combined strength to march the visitors back over their own try line, with Horne touching down.

With the pitch becoming increasingly muddy and both sets of forwards now almost indistinguishable in their mud-covered shirts, Aylesbury’s second row Cory Neighbour used his size and strength to burst through the Drifters defence and cross for a fifth try before Man of the Match Horne completed his hat-trick with the final play of the game.

Aylesbury now have a week off before hosting table-topping High Wycombe next weekend.

Larham added: “We now have a week off to give the boys a rest before welcoming table-toppers High Wycombe to Ostlers Field, where we will need to produce something pretty special to create an upset.”

It was a good weekend all round for Aylesbury Rugby Club as both the IIs and IIIs secured wins. The seconds remain third in their league after beating Newbury IIs 18-17, while the third team hammered Berkhamsted 51-0.

Aylesbury U14s also recorded victory when they won 26-5 away at Marlow on Sunday.