Aylesbury Rugby Club’s first team returned to league action in emphatic fashion when they romped to a resounding 51-12 victory over Bletchley at Ostler’s Field on Saturday.
James Woodfall scored the first 15 points of the game as Aylesbury raced into a 27-0 lead by half-time before running in four further tries in the second half in a bonus-point win that takes them to within two points of top spot in the Southern Counties North.
Head coach Dave Larham said: “I was delighted with the result and several key areas of our performance.
“We went into the game with three debutants in Dan Davis, Matt Dennis and Lee Starkey that have performed well in recent second team fixtures and in training, and it proved to be a calculated risk.
“They gave us youthful enthusiasm, energy and work rate, and a selection headache with established players returning to the squad from injury and other commitments.
“The game itself was won up front with an outstanding start to the game and very good control and game management from Adam Moore and James Woodfall.
“The coaches have felt this performance was coming, but we knew we needed to gain individual confidence and team belief before it could happen, and in this display we got better, and better and better.
“On Friday evening we visit Amersham in the Bucks Cup.
“This will be a huge test as we face opposition players recruited in with experience of Level 5 rugby. I will be very interested to see how our boys meet the challenge.”
Prior to Saturday, Aylesbury’s league campaign had experienced a somewhat stuttering start with two unconvincing wins from their opening three matches, but they quickly wrestled the initiative against Bletchley.
The visitors were camped inside their own half for much of the opening exchanges and the pressure soon told when Woodfall slotted an early penalty before immediately following that up with a charge through the Bletchley defence for the first try of the game.
As Ay’s started to show their dominance in the set piece, it was Woodfall who again crossed the whitewash moments later after receiving the ball from a scrum on the Bletchley five metre line.
He also added the extras to put Aylesbury into an already commanding 15-0 lead and the points continued to come thick and fast with captain Adam Moore running in under the posts, followed by wing Andy Blacklock as the Ducks led 27-0 at half-time.
Bletchley began the second period with a spell of pressure and as the visiting pack drove towards the line for a certain try, the maul collapsed and the referee decided that Aylesbury’s Jim Dodds had deliberately killed the ball and went straight under the posts to signal the penalty try.
With Bletchley now on the scoreboard at 27-7 and Dodds in the sin bin, it seemed the game was far from over but Bletchley were unable to capitalise on their man advantage with Aylesbury indebted to 17-year-old debutant Matt Dennis whose try-saving tackle kept the home side 20 points ahead.
And when Dodds returned, the Ducks went back on the attack as their forwards once again asserted their power and strength to drive over the try line three times in quick succession.
Prop Marc Butcher claimed one try and number eight Cory Neighbour the following two.
At 44-7 up, another player making his first appearance at this level for Aylesbury, Lee Starkey, ran in a superb try from the wing to touch down under the posts.
Bletchley then had the final say with a late unconverted score.
The following day Aylesbury’s U15s continued the winning form at Ostler’s Field as they romped to a 34-7 win against Marlow.