Larham sees encouraging signs from youngsters as IIs take centre stage

With the 1st XV enjoying a weekend's rest from league rugby, it was left to Aylesbury's IIs to provide the entertainment at Ostler's Field on Saturday.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 29th February 2016, 1:23 pm
Alex Crossley dives over for his first half try. Picture:
Alex Crossley dives over for his first half try. Picture:

The recent dry weather had allowed the main pitch to dry out and provide a firmer surface and both teams took advantage with some exciting and entertaining running rugby on show in a high-scoring game.

The first half was evenly matched with both sides scoring tries and keeping the scoreboard steadily ticking over but neither were able to pull away.

That changed after half-time, though, as Aylesbury pulled away and began to dominate.

There were two tries for flanker Alex Crossley, a hat-trick of tries for centre Matt Dennis plus Liam d’Almeida and Nicky Mercer also both went over in a 44-22 victory.

Banbury had also brought over their 3rd XV on their team bus and the match between Aylesbury IIIs and Banbury IIIs on the adjacent pitch resulted in a resounding 69-0 win for the home team.

The club’s head coach Dave Larham said afterwards: “The game was a very welcome demonstration of grassroots 2nd XV rugby played in a great spirit by both teams.

“Our focus was on establishing the basics but playing with the freedom to express ourselves. We were the better team, but were tactically naive in the first half and gifted Banbury too much easy territory due to unforced errors in midfield.

“The second half was a much better performance, where our forwards produced not only a good platform but also an appetite to support the ball carrier in space.

“There were some good performances from our established players, but I was delighted with the mature displays from teenagers Matt Dennis, Josh Robins, Dan Waite, Alex Crossley and my man of the match James Rickard.

“The challenge for this group of players is to take this platform and combine it with the youthful expression of intent to play attacking and exciting rugby.”