Aylesbury ease past Wallingford to set up Salisbury showdown

Dave Payne dives over for his second half try. Picture by Mark Bannister
Dave Payne dives over for his second half try. Picture by Mark Bannister

Aylesbury make the long trip to Wiltshire this weekend to face Salisbury in a promotion play-off showdown following their final day victory over Wallingford on Saturday.

Needing just a point to nail down second place in the Southern Counties North, the Ducks proved far too strong for their Oxfordshire opponents as they stormed into a 29-0 lead before going on to claim victory.

It now means Aylesbury will contest the promotion play-off for the second successive year following their defeat to Trowbridge in 2014. A win against Salisbury will see them promoted to South West One.

In front of an expectant home crowd at Ostler’s Field, Aylesbury made the ideal start on Saturday when a superbly-judged cross-field kick from fly-half Alex Shearer was collected by Sam Page, who beat his opposite number and touched down in the corner for a try inside the opening few minutes.

James Woodfall added the extras and the home side continued their excellent start when Woodfall crossed for a second converted try moments later.

The Ducks then had to withstand some Wallingford pressure as the visitors peppered the home side’s line with wave after wave of attack, but Aylesbury defended stoutly and maintained their 14-0 advantage through to half-time.

The interval allowed Ay’s to regroup and they wrestled back control of the game with two early tries in the second half as flanker Luke Walmsley sprinted over the whitewash to score in the corner before Dave Payne picked up from the base of a scrum and out-paced the opposition defence to go over for the bonus-point try.

Woodfall then added his second and with Aylesbury now leading 29-0 and assured a place in the promotion play-off, assistant coach Gareth Collings, who was taking charge in the absence of Dave Larham, took the opportunity to give the whole squad a run out.

Wallingford responded by going over for their first try of the afternoon, but Shearer’s chipped kick behind the away side’s defence was latched onto by Mike Durose, who ran under the posts for Aylesbury’s fifth try.

The final quarter of the game saw Wallingford mount a comeback as they ran in three late tries, but it was too little too late as Ay’s ran out victorious.

It was also a good day for Aylesbury’s 2nd XV, who recorded an impressive 49-5 win away against Windsor IIIs to cement their place in second and with the top two going up, they have also secured promotion for the second successive season.

To conclude an excellent weekend for the club, Aylesbury IIIs won 22-12 over Egham.