Avon slip to 3rd after significant loss
Missing some key players, Avon suffered a setback as they lost to promotion rivals Gordano by 45 points to 17.
It all began promisingly as, after twice being held up over the try line, Avon’s pack produced a monstrous surge from a 5 metre scrum which was illegally collapsed for the referee to award an early penalty try. A failure to execute their exit strategy from the resulting restart allowed Gordano to camp inside the Avon half and eventually their pressure told as they scored a converted try to level the scores.
An Avon penalty attempt then bounced back off the posts and Gordano made no mistake with a penalty at the other end after Glen Atherton was yellow-carded for preventing a quick tap penalty. Then taking advantage of the extra man, the home inside centre ghosted over for their second try under the posts to extend their lead.
Whilst the Avon pack were holding their own with Chaz Meddick, Ian Burnell and scott book producing sterling performances, the reshuffled backs lacked the direction and penetration to take advantage.
A refocus at half time brought a new intensity to the second half and Avon soon reduced the deficit to 7 points with a Jonny Batchelor penalty. Then, as Avon started to build some attacking momentum, a key incident saw Chris Mutlow taken out off the ball as he followed up a kick into the home 22 and, instead of a potential score at one end of the field, Gordano regathered the loose ball and a kick-chase saw them score at the other end.
For a while, this change in fortunes knocked Avon back before they eventually strung together a series of forward drives to work their way back upfield again, only for their hard work to be spoiled with a turnover which suddenly saw play switched again to the other end for the home centre to add his second try from a show-and-go. Undeterred, Avon again responded strongly through their hard-working forwards and were rewarded with a pushover try for Josh Harding-Wyatt with Batchelor adding the extras.
Sensing the possibility to salvage a bonus point with about 10 minutes to go, Avon started to play some high risk rugby to seek another try but were undone as an interception allowed Gordano to again sweep the length of the field to score another converted try. Then, in almost a repeat situation as Avon pressed deep inside the home 22 for a consolation try, the move broke down and suddenly the speedy home backs exploited the space to touch down their final try.
After a midweek Combination Cup match against Corsham, Avon travel to play St Bernadettes on Easter Saturday.