To give credit to Avonvale, who are flying high in Dorset & Wilts 1, they never stopped tackling nor lacked endeavour and commitment despite the constant barrage of free-flowing Avon attacks. But, as Avon coach Kai Harwood said afterwards “I want to congratulate the whole squad for a complete performance where the hard work the players have put in and their loyalty and passion was rewarded with an emphatic win to end the year on a high before resuming our league campaign in January.”
The writing was on the wall inside the first 5 minutes as a 40 metre drive eventually resulted in clean lineout ball from stand-in jumper Dan Griffin being moved to Chaz Meddick, playing in the unfamiliar position of inside centre, who crashed through midfield before finding Josh Hiscott in support to touch down the first try. A defensive Avonvale scrum was then disrupted by a massive Avon surge against the head from front row Kane Book, Sam Book and Chris Mutlow which allowed Ben Hurd to pounce over the tryline. From the restart, came perhaps the try of the match as Meddick again sucked in the defence before offloading to Ollie Flight where quick hands transferred the ball along the backline to Iain Parris who switched inside before accelerating out wide for a Turkish delight of a try.
Despite fierce Avonvale defence, Avon dominated possession and territory before increasing their lead with another two tries before half time. Josh Hiscott added his second after another powerful burst, then James Leeming showed his pace with a chip and chase down the wing for a try in the corner. Avonvale finished the half strongly with a series of attacks but were unable to breach the home defence led by non-stop flanker Ian Burnell and, with Jonny Batchelor slotting 4 conversions, Avon held a healthy 33-0 lead at half time. In keeping with the festive spirit, Avon supporter Mike Butcher provided the officials with mince pies at the interval rather than the traditional oranges.
Immediately from the kick off, scrum half Alex Gapper took advantage of some slipshod tackling as he raced 40 meters for a try under the posts, then, after a drive from Xander Davis, speedster James Leeming poached another score in the corner. With a commanding scoreline, Avon gave their bench replacements Chris Sawyer, Zak Harwood, Matt Thresher, Dan Mutlow, Ian Monochino-Ayres and Louis Hartcliffe some game time and continued in the same vein with a series of powerful forward drives intermingled with some sparkling threequarter moves. This resulted in top try scorer Zak Harwood coming back from his injury to add another 2 tries, bringing his total to 9 for the season.
With Rob Fitch continuing to pull the strings from flyhalf, Avon camped deep inside the visitors half where Jonny Batchelor showed great enterprise and strength to touch down under the posts, whilst also slotting another 5 second half conversions for a 23 point personal tally. Then as the final whistle beckoned, Ollie Flight emerged from nowhere to add the final gloss to a comprehensive performance for the entire Avon squad. Avon will now play Oldfield in the next round at Hicks Field.
Josh Harding-Wyatt didn't play.
Afterwards, Club Chairman Ian Monochino-Ayres congratulated the coaching team who maintain the motivation, planning, preparation and interest to enable the players to develop and express their skills within the game plan.
Updated 12:47 - 21 Dec 2018 by Steve Bird