Avon bounce back with 5th win
By Steve Bird
Avon produced another excellent performance as 6 converted tries resulted in a 42-14 win against a well-drilled Weston Super Mare United.
In beautiful autumnal conditions for running rugby, Avon took an early lead as they exploited the blind side to give the ball to Josh Harding-Wyatt in space near half way. A searing burst down the wing followed by a step inside saw him touch down the opening try, well converted by Jonny Batchelor.
Avon had the edge up front with Josh Hiscoff and Xander Davis anchoring their powerful pack and it was no surprise when successive scrum surges near the visitors line eventually created the position for livewire scrum half Alex Gapper to burst through for another converted try.
As their purple patch continued, Avon started to play some outstanding rugby with their support runners creating all sorts of problems as the ball was firstly swept to the right where man-of-the-match Harding-Wyatt again made ground, then quickly recycled back across field where a lovely timed cut-out pass from Ollie Flight sent Batchelor in for another try, which he again converted.
21 points adrift inside the first quarter saw Weston staring down the barrel but they remained dangerous opponents whenever they moved the ball wide but were repelled by committed Avon defence, epitomised by Ian Burnell’s tackling and turnovers. Avon extended their lead after another powerful scrum was forced by Kane Book and Chris Mutlow before the ball was swiftly transferred to Zak Harwood who dummied his way over for the bonus point try.
Eventually Weston’s efforts were rewarded as their centre made the most of a bouncing ball to score a converted try under the posts as Avon momentarily relaxed. This only served to sting Avon into an immediate reply though as a series of close quarter drives allowed Gapper to sneak through the gap to score his second try before departing to hospital for stiches in an ugly head wound.
With a 35-7 half time scoreline, the second half proved to be a more pragmatic affair, firstly as injuries disrupted Avon’s rhythm and more importantly as Weston started to win some useful possession to launch their dangerous runners. This tested Avon’s defence to the limits but with Lucas Pratt and JJ Pulvertaft to the fore, they remained resolute in thwarting the visitors attacks.
In fact after the high scoring first half, both sides were restricted to a single try after the interval. Avon’s try came after scott book set up another powerful line out drive which was illegally halted with the referee having no option but to award the penalty try. But Weston’s efforts were eventually rewarded as they launched a free-flowing counter attack to score a well-deserved try under the posts, taking advantage of their extra man after Burntsnail's yellow card.
This win moved Avon back up to 2nd place in Somerset Premier but they face a tough match next week away to 4th placed Nailsea/Backwell.
Meanwhile in the Bath Combination Merit Table, Avon 2nds and the Bath University Jagers enjoyed a fast open game with the Jagers taking the spoils after loaning a number of players to Avon to enable an entertaining game to take place.