Photo courtesy of Jason Potter. Gallery courtesy of Jason Potter and James Hall.
Ashford Barbarians (5) 12
Tries: Sage, King Con: Ward
Canterbury IV XV (28) 28
Tries: Waite, S.Jaynes, O.Jaynes Con: Payne
Ashford Barbarians hosted league leaders Canterbury IV XV. With the opposition side all but winners of the Dragon Fire 4 East League the Baa-Baas were looking for a league upset.
An intense and focused pre-match warm up by Aran ‘Salad’ Sage looked to have fired up the home side from the off and the Baa-Baas carried over this intensity straight from the whistle. After an energetic first 10 minutes the visitors eventually broke the deadlock. Canterbury’s back line started to find their feet and with the slope to their advantage were the first to open the scoring. Moving the ball out wide Winger Waite found the space to outstrip his opposite number and go in for the score. Fly-half Payne converting.
Injury replacement: Chris Rabjohns off for Dan Calnan at Flanker.
Canterbury’s kick-off return caused all sorts of trouble as the ball was shipped out wide to the flanks, stretching the Baa-Baas defence. On the back foot the Barbarians weathered a constant barrage of attacking play targeted at the back line – finally buckling under the pressure. A well timed inside ball putting Centre S.Jaynes through for another unanswered try. Payne with the conversion.
The Baa-Baas were soon rewarded for their own attacking efforts. A quickly taken tap penalty in Canterbury’s 22 gave the Barbarians their first foothold in the game as Prop Aran ‘Salad’ Sage proved to be unstoppable from 10 metres out – bulldozing his way through six defenders to cross the line.
“…amazing feet, animalistic power and breath-taking pace that left a trail of devastated bodies” – Aran ‘Salad’ Sage
The absence of a kicking tee forced Fly-half Dave Ward to drop kick the conversion, only to be denied by the upright.
It didn’t take the opposition side long to re-affirm their lead and Canterbury’s back line once again used quick hands and pace to stretch the home side’s defence. Centre O.Jaynes exploiting the mis-match found the gap as the Baa-Baas forwards scrambled to reorganise the defensive line. Payne slotting over in front of the posts.
Injury replacement: Andrew ‘Taff’ Morris off for Leon Pilkiewicz.
Back in the ascendancy the visitors topped up their account with another well executed move from the three-quarters, great offloading in the tackle saw Winger Waite profit again for his brace. Payne 100% for the tee added the extra 2 points.
Replacements: Steve Biggs off for Ken Doggett at Full Back, Dave Ian off for Nic Turley at Flanker.
The second half saw a huge momentum swing as the Barbarians’ forwards asserted their authority on the pitch. Captain Ben King led the charge, picking n’ going from the ruck and driving over the whitewash with the assistance of Wayne Cleave. Fly-half Dave Ward with a tee at his disposal easily converted to reduce the deficit.
Unrelenting forwards phase play and possession denied the opposition of any real attacking opportunities – only the occasion error allowing Canterbury to relieve the pressure and clear their lines.
Injury replacement: Sam Dale off for Jason Potter as Fly-half, Dave Ward moved to Scrum-half.
Frustration and over enthusiastic defending saw the visitors on the end on a very high penalty count, extremely fortunate to avoid a yellow card for accumulative offside offences. But Canterbury’s defence and first half lead kept the home side at bay.
The Barbarians dominance in the scrum was most evident in the very final play of the game. As consolation almost came 5 metres out after a huge shove against the head denied the opposition Scrum-half clean ball. Baa-Baas debutante Flanker Dave Ian seizing upon the loose ball drove over the line aided by replacement Scrum-half Ward. Ian appeared to have grounded the ball but the opposition defenders had done enough for it to be ruled as held up.
Man of the Match: Wayne Cleave
Ashford Barbarians: S.Wittwer, M.Ball, A.Sage, J.Adams, W.Cleave, D.Ian, C.Rabjohns, B.King(c), S.Dale, D.Ward, M.Turley, C.Weatherley, A.Morris, P.Wright, S.Biggs.
Replacements: Dan Calnan, Ken Doggett, Leon Pilkiewicz, Jason Potter, N.Turley.
Sin Bin: n/a
Management & Support Staff: Tim Cross | Elaine Kendall
Special thanks to Barry Ball for providing the post-match meal.