Superb Ducks strike back to topple league leaders

Nicky Mercer. Picture: Mark Bannister
Nicky Mercer. Picture: Mark Bannister

Aylesbury recovered from a 14-3 deficit to run out 19-14 winners over table-topping Marlow in the Southern Counties North at the weekend.

Marlow had won seven of their eight games prior to Saturday to sit three points clear of the chasing pack but, despite racing into an early lead, they succumbed to defeat against the Ducks who scored 16 unanswered from 14-3 behind .

Aylesbury head coach Jon Lambden said: “Marlow have been completing big scores so this was always going to be about us getting some forward dominance, good field position and effective defence.

“Marlow have a reputation for their back play and good kicking options and excellent intensity in their attack.

“To win the match we needed to stay in the Marlow half, dominate the set-piece, and be more aggressive in defence. This is what we achieved in the second half.

“Throughout young Sam Richardson playing at nine was busy kicking and driving the forwards well. The regular Aylesbury nine, Will Travis, stood in very effectively at 10.

“While the tight five proved tireless in the set piece, the back row were very good in the loose with Gary Horne at the break down and Cory Neighbour carrying hard from number 8 as well as winning the lion’s share of the line-out.

“This match above all was a tough, hard-fought and smart win from the whole team.”

A Dave Stow penalty handed Aylesbury an early 3-0 advantage but from successive penalties given away by the visitors, Marlow twice gained good field position and let their attack go to work. The result was two successive converted tries to lead 14-3.

The Aylesbury response was not expected: first a good line-out drive resulted in a try for hooker Andy Stobbs, then good team continuity from which the backs went wide saw James Woodcock at full-back going over in the corner, bringing the visitors to within one point at half-time.

To win the match from here, Aylesbury needed to stay in the Marlow half, dominate the set-piece, and be more aggressive in defence, which is exacly what they achieved in the second-half. Marlow did have rare visits to the Aylesbury half but were forced to attack from deep and the Ducks pressure culminated in two Stow penalties as he kicked his side to an impressive victory.

Aylesbury are seventh and host Milton Keynes this week.