Photo courtesy of Cullen Hollyer. Gallery: C.Hollyer & S.Campion
Ashford Barbarians 0-27 Dover Sharks
Ashford Barbarians (0) 0
Dover IV XV (15) 27
Tries: Right Wing (3), Left wing, Centre Con: Centre
In a surprising upset the Baa-Baas were beaten by visiting team the Dover Sharks.
The Barbarians had an early let off after the opposition kicker scrapped the underside of the crossbar from a penalty in front of the posts.
Dover’s IV XV fielded a three-quarters line up with youth and pace looking to beat the home side on the outside. In contrast the Baa-Baas were forced to improvise due to absentees and injuries, Prop Benjamin King stepping in to the Centres to fill the void.
Defensive line speed and pressure held the Shark’s at bay early on but the Barbarians soon found themselves drawn into the breakdown as the opposition worked through the phases. Caught shorthanded out wide the resulting overlap gifted Dover’s winger with his first try of the match.
With little answer to the quality of the Shark’s backline the Baa-Baas soon fell victim to another score from the Dover winger – exploiting the overlap and outpacing the covering defence.
It’s presently a mystery when the same winger scored his hat-trick, but we know it happened. The feeling is it was a matter of ‘Rinse and Repeat’.
Replacements: Guy Booker on for Mike Mason
The second half had the Barbarians fighting to get something from the game. Despite great intensity at the breakdown and powerful running by Vic Horne off the back of the scrum, the Baa-Baas found little reward. Dover countered hard, driving the home side back to only 1 metre from the goal line and close to the posts. An infringement at the breakdown gave the Shark’s a penalty, but without a single successful kick Dover took a quick tap penalty. Unalert the home side were caught napping and the Shark’s opposite winger slid in at the corner unopposed.
“Vic Horne was a one man wrecking machine until an injury forced him from the field.” —Guy Booker
Replacements: Stuart Wittwer on for Vic Horne
Still unable stem the flow of scores Dover’s Centre broke through the Baa-Baas defensive line, wrong footing the Full-back and scoring under the posts.
Throughout the course on the game the pitch evolved in to something resembling a quagmire. Despite the conditions the Baa-Baas forwards showed their dominance at the breakdown producing the Barbarians first try scoring opportunity of the game. Promising phase play saw Flanker Chris Rabjohns make it over the whitewash – only to be held up.
The Baa-Baas took another blow as Centre Andrew Morris had to retire from the field. With no three-quarter replacements on the bench Chris Rabjohns moved into the vacant position.
Promising phase play saw Flanker Chris Rabjohns make it over the whitewash – only to be held up.
Replacements: Dan Calnan on for Andrew ‘Taff’ Morris
The dying moments of the match produced some of the most impressive gameplay of the day and the Baa-Baas looked as though they would dig out a final score. After being held up again the resulting 5 metre scrum gave the Barbarians another opportunity to get on the scoreboard. Dover managed to repel the Baa-Baas forwards from the break and the ball eventually went wide. An impressive interchange of passing resulted in the overlap but the Barbarians were stopped just short of the line in the far left corner. A final dive down the blind side saw Skipper Ben King denied after being driven out into touch.
Man of the Match: Sam Dale
Ashford Barbarians: A.Sage, M.Ball, H.Bull, J.Drewett, W.Cleave, M.Mason, C.Rabjohns, V.Horne, S.Dale, J.Potter, P.Wright, B.King(c), A.Morris, K.Doggett, S.Biggs.
Replacements: G.Booker, S.Wittwer, D.Calnan.
Sin Bin: n/a