Seventeen-year-old Sam Page ran in a hat-trick of tries to lead Aylesbury RFC to a vital 17-6 victory over Marlow and keep their promotion hopes alive in the Southern Counties North.
Last week’s defeat to league leaders High Wycombe all but ended Aylesbury’s title aspirations, however Saturday’s victory over Marlow keeps them in the mix for the promotion play-off spot, which is currently occupied by Royal Wootton Bassett.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Dave Larham said: “We dominated possession and territory and should really have won by more. To their credit, Marlow were clearly under strength but remained competitive throughout.
“I was pleased with the positive reaction from the players and know that any win against Marlow is a feat within itself. The win did come at a cost with Pete Gorley and Cory Neighbour clashing heads and receiving cuts that needed hospital treatment.
“However, the game will be long remembered for the hat-trick scored by 17-year old Sam Page from the left wing.”
Ay’s were the first to get points on the board through youngster Page, who maintained his record of scoring in every Aylesbury appearance when he touched down for an unconverted try.
The Ducks allowed Marlow to respond by conceding two penalties, which the visitors took full advantage of to go 6-5 ahead, before a clash of heads saw both second row Cory Neighbour and flanker Pete Gorley forced off the field and unable to take any further part.
However, Aylesbury’s dominance at the scrum was in no way diminished as replacements Will Sutcliffe and Marc Butcher came onto the pitch and the next score came following a strong drive that pushed the visitors back before the ball was transferred wide to the wing where once again Page was on hand to dive over in the corner.
James Woodfall failed with the difficult conversion as Aylesbury took a 10-6 lead into half-time.
The second half saw Page cross the try line yet again to complete his hat-trick and with Woodfall adding the extras, the Ducks held a commanding 17-6 advantage.
The rest of the half saw Ay’s push hard for a fourth try to add what could have been a crucial bonus-point, but the stubborn Marlow defence held firm to frustrate the hosts.
This win keeps Aylesbury third and four points behind Royal Wootton Bassett ahead of this weekend’s trip to bottom side Milton Keynes.
Larham added: “Next week we must remain focused at Milton Keynes and develop our game management to maintain sustained pressure throughout.”
Elsewhere, Aylesbury IIs claimed a 35-14 bonus-point victory over Marlow IIs.