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Garstang pile more misery on luckless Ashton
Monday 6th November 2017 @ 14:45 by Mark Phillip

Ashton  12-19 Garstang 

League leaders Garstang came to Gambrel Bank on Saturday and left with the victory they probably expected, but the home side’s battling performance made it far from easy for them, and with just a little bit of luck in the second half they might just have given their opponents a bit of a shock.

Ashton had by far the best of the opening stages and put the visitors under massive pressure on their own line. They were unable to turn this into points though, and when Garstang managed to break away the home side found themselves overstretched in defence and the visitors went in for an easily converted try.

This fired things up and Ashton’s forwards looked determined to keep things moving in their direction again. They forged forward, and soon had the visiting pack moving backwards at a set scrum, only for their forward momentum to be stopped illegally. The penalty was used to reset the scrum and once again the home pack showed their collective strength as they heaved their opponents backwards again. Once again the drive was stopped illegally, and this time the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try which Josh Pattison converted to level things at 7-7.

Soon after, with Garstang in possession, a knock on took the ball some ten yards forward only to be gathered by Ashton. The referee played advantage, but no real advantage ensued as the resulting rather messy loose scrum saw the ball returned to the visitors. Play went on however and although the initial raid was repulsed, a line out on the right saw a well worked move bring a try in the corner, then sadly the home side were caught napping again just before the break, when they were unable to stop a barging run from a visiting prop whose try was converted to leave them 19-7 down at half time.

No doubt the visitors thought they could build on that to take away a comprehensive scoreline, but that was for from how things unfolded. Ashton dominated the second half. They kept Garstang penned in their own 22 metre area for long periods, and when the visitors did break out some excellent tackling kept them at bay. One of these spells of pressure was rewarded with a try out wide for Jae Mainwaring, one of six of last season’s Colts side who were on view, but unfortunately there was to be no further breakthrough.

With these younger players now breaking through and showing their mettle, this Ashton side is very much a work in progress. If only a few more experienced players below veteran status were available to add to the mix, a turnaround in fortune would surely be on the cards sooner rather than later.

By Ian Crickett

In other news as Gambrel Bank:

Ashton Colts 14-10 Sedgley Park Colts

Ashton got their Colts Conference League off to a winning start, in a thriller which saw Sedgley take the lead twice and Ashton’s Tom Ashley get two tries both converted very well by Travis Powell.

Ashton’s defence held the visitors at bay and their efforts were rewarded with much-deserved victory.

The second team and U14s had their games postponed due to waterlogged pitches.

By Allen Bower