24-5 Avon win completes double over city rivals Stotherts
By Steve Bird
This lifts Avon back to 3rd place in Somerset Premier with games in hand to complete
The match was played at a frantic pace throughout which suited Stotherts style and negated Avon’s powerful pack for large periods of the game before they pulled away in the second half.
Avon had made the perfect start with an early penalty by Jonny Batchelor before he added an opportunist try inside the first 5 minutes, following up his own kick ahead and reacting first to touch down under the posts before slotting the simple conversion.
Avon were perhaps lulled into some complacency by this early 10 point cushion and Stotherts enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and territory for much of the first half. But their dangerous runners were well bottled up by Avon’s midfield defence led by Zak Harwood and Tom Boreham. Meanwhile Avon became involved in trying to play a frenetic open game and were guilty of conceding unnecessary penalties and turnovers as they tried to force play rather than engage in more patient phased possession. Several promising Avon attacks were thwarted as vital passes were dropped at the last moment.
As a result, the score remained the same until the second half when Avon started to employ their powerful runners in Chaz Meddick, Xander Davis and man-of-the-match Josh Hiscoff to better effect as they battered across the gain line. A massive shove on halfway disrupted the Stotherts scrum for Ben Hurd to launch an attack up the blindside before unleashing Alex Gapper who scored his 10th try of the season.
Batchelor converted from out wide and soon repeated the feat as Avon added the third try when Hiscoff charged down an attempted clearance kick which rebounded kindly for Glen Atherton to touch down in the corner. A series of baffling decisions didn't help Avon's continuity as they got on the wrong side of the referee who even awarded a penalty against injured skipper Scott Book who was watching from the touchline!
After Avon unloaded their bench and sought the bonus point score, they were guilty of trying to play from too deep inside their own 22 and Stotherts had the final word as they picked up a deserved consolation try with the last play of the match to record their first points at Hicks Field since 2010.
Avon’s next match is at home to Nailsea/Backwell on 17th February.