Larham targets improvement after MK victory

Andy Blacklock heading for the try line against Milton Keynes. Picture by Mark Bannister
Andy Blacklock heading for the try line against Milton Keynes. Picture by Mark Bannister

Aylesbury head coach Dave Larham says his side will have to defend much better if they are to overcome Royal Wootton Bassett in next weekend’s promotion showdown at Ostler’s Field.

The Ducks remain four points behind Wootton, who currently occupy the promotion play-off spot, following last weekend’s entertaining 52-32 victory over bottom side Milton Keynes.

Larham said afterwards: “The win sets up a showdown with second-placed Wootton Bassett, but we will have to defend much better than we did during this performance.

“I was happy with several aspects of our attacking play and ability to create and score tries, but defenders have to tackle both technically and tactically.

“On reflection, I think I may have made too many in-play replacements during the game that affected our shape, but ultimately, to score 52 points away from home is a demonstration of our attacking capability and we should be satisfied with the bonus-point win.”

Aylesbury made the trip to MK knowing that a bonus-point victory was essential and after the hosts went ahead with a drop goal, Ay’s were first to cross the try line through full-back Alex Shearer.

James Woodfall added the extras and a second try soon followed when flanker Liam Moloney ran in under the posts, with Woodfall again slotting the conversion to put the visitors into a 14-3 lead.

Milton Keynes responded with an excellent try of their own, but Mal Deay, Rob Taylor and Woodfall all crossed for the dominant Ducks with Woodfall maintaining his 100 per cent kicking to put the visitors into a comfortable 35-13 half-time lead.

The second half was an end-to-end affair with MK first crossing for a converted try before Woodfall touched down for his second, only for Gary Horne to be sin-binned and during his 10-minute absence, the hosts ran in two further tries to reduce the arrears to 10 points.

However, once Horne returned, Aylesbury made the game safe with two tries in the final few minutes as Matt Birch claimed a try following a powerful drive from the visiting forwards before winger Andy Blacklock outpaced the home defenders for the final points of the game.

Meanwhile, back at Ostler’s Field, there was success for Aylesbury’s 2nd XV, who overcame Oxford Harlequins IIIs 18-13 to move up to second in the league

Larham added: “We have a much-needed week off this weekend that gives us the time needed to get injured players back in contention for a black and magenta shirt.

“The weekend was completed by news from Ostler’s Field that our 2nd XV had beaten league leaders Oxford Harlequins 18-13 in their league game. The result means that promotion may be a realistic proposition for our ever-improving second team.”