10th Win Secures 3rd Place
By Steve Bird
Avon and Old Redcliffians 2nds enjoyed an entertaining game with Avon chalking up another bonus point 29-17 victory at Hicks Field.
3 late drop outs forced Avon to shuffle their already depleted resources and with Old Reds fielding 5 first team squad members, a tough challenge ensued.
Arch predator Ben Hurd opened the scoring with an early try but this was cancelled out by an equalising Old Reds score as they always looked dangerous when they moved the ball out wide. Meanwhile Avon’s main threats came up front as Josh Hiscott, Xander Davis and Chaz Meddick impressed with a mixture of powerful runs and deft short quarter handling.
After a sniping run from Alex Gapper, Avon forced a series of attacking scrums and lineouts and it was no surprise when Hurd touched down a pushover try to take the lead. Shortly after, another threatening visitors attack was stifled as James Leeming intercepted and ran the length of the field for a try under the posts, converted by Jonny Batchelor. With their tails up and Ian Burnell winning some vital turnovers, Avon added their 4th try as Hurd completed his hat-trick to pounce for his 12th try of the season on the stroke of half time.
The second half followed a similar pattern as Reds sought to use their pace out wide and were rewarded with a try on the right wing after launching a sweeping attack from halfway. With Reds reduced to unopposed scrums for a sin bin period, this nullified some of Avon’s advantage up front but, with the Cashnella man-of-the-match Ollie Flight controlling things smoothly from fly half, Avon gradually imposed themselves again.
Stu Dilloway, playing as an emergency flanker in the absence of skipper Scott Book, provided a supply of clean lineout ball and Reds were again forced on the defensive. Avon’s 5th try came after a wayward clearance kick, with Gapper setting off on a mesmerising 40 metre run to leave the attempted tacklers in his wake as he surged through for a magnificent try, again converted by Batchelor.
With the match nearing completion, Old Reds had the final say as they scored a well-worked converted try under the posts to reduce the deficit in an enjoyable match well refereed by Roger Gilson.
Next Saturday, 3rd placed Avon face a testing journey to Burnham who are currently 4th in the Somerset Premier league.