Ducks reach the summit after Bicester are outclassed

Liam d'Almeida dives over for the first try. Picture by Mark Bannister Photography.

Liam d'Almeida dives over for the first try. Picture by Mark Bannister Photography.

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Aylesbury maintained their perfect start to 2016 with a comprehensive 24-0 win over promotion rivals Bicester at Ostler’s Field on Saturday.

And the result is good enough to see the Ducks go top of the Southern Counties North, albeit having played a game more than Reading Abbey.

Head coach Dave Larham said afterwards: “I thought the boys played really well. We prepared well and had the focus and determination to produce a performance that comprised determined defence and attacking flair.

“We were in no doubt that Bicester would be very difficult to break down, and it took us 39 minutes to break the deadlock. From my perspective, it was perfect timing because it gave us the confidence to change things tactically at half-time to exploit the areas we felt would win us the game.

“To win the game with a four-try bonus point demonstrated how well our boys played; particularly our captain Adam Moore and seasoned stalwart Jim Dodds.

“The boys are level-headed and will take each game as it comes. There’s still a lot of rugby to play and we just want to keep improving our performances and enjoy ourselves.”

Following the previous week’s win over Beaconsfield, Aylesbury came up against a Bicester side also battling at the top end of the table.

The pre-match predictions were for a close contest between two of the strongest sides in the league and from the start it looked as if things were going to run to form.

Bicester had the first chance to get points on the board when the home side conceded a penalty close to their own posts, but the kick for points went wide, before Aylesbury had an opportunity of their own as Bicester were penalised in their own half, however James Woodfall’s kick was also off target.

Woodfall again missed the target with a drop goal attempt, but Aylesbury did make the breakthrough when full-back Liam d’Almeida brushed aside his opposing number and dived over close to the corner flag.

Woodfall’s touch line conversion was perfectly struck to add the extra two points and give the home side a 7-0 advantage going into the break.

The second half then saw Aylesbury go through the gears as they dominated possession and territory to keep the visitors penned back inside their own half, and finally the pressure resulted in a try for prop Andy Hackett as the forwards drove over the line.

Woodfall missed the conversion but a fine try from winger Andy Blacklock, who raced down the touchline before chipping over the head of a defender and winning the race, put Aylesbury 17-0 ahead.

This time Woodfall did add the extras, and the bonus-point fourth try wasn’t long in coming for the Ducks.

As the Bicester wing fielded a kick ahead close to his try line, the chasing James Woodfall showed his strength as he tackled the player and drove him back over the try line, forcing a five metre scrum.

Urged on by Adam Moore, Aylesbury’s pack drove their opposite numbers back over the whitewash for Cory Neighbour to drop on the ball and claim the precious bonus-point, which proved crucial as it took Aylesbury to the top.

The Ducks travel to Bletchley this weekend.