Unbeaten Home Record Ended
By Steve Bird
Avon slipped to a narrow 12-10 defeat to Imperial for their first loss at Hicks Field for over a year
Although a missed penalty chance in the closing minutes would have given Avon a close win, this would have been against the run of play with Imperial fully deserving their victory which now leapfrogs them above Avon in Somerset Premier.
The first half was a fairly scrappy affair with Imperial dominating possession and territory with the assistance of the strong wind. This made it difficult for Avon to escape from their own half and only excellent defence kept their opponents at bay, epitomised by a tremendous try-saving cover tackle from Alex Gapper.
One combination between Iain Parris and Dan Griffin showed Avon a glimpse of hope and they then struck efficiently with their first incursion into the visitors 22 as Xander Davis finished off a lineout drive to crash over for their opening try. Although Avon almost repeated that score shortly before half time, aggressive counter rucking and committed Imperial defence kept the score to 5 nil at half time.
Perhaps expecting an easier time with the elements in their favour after the break, Avon were rocked by the intensity of the Imps game as they struck back to take the lead with a converted try near the posts. This inspired the visitors who again dominated proceedings to prevent Avon winning any useful ball. It was no surprise as the Imperial pressure paid off with their second try to increase their lead.
Stung into action, Avon hit back as Ben Hurd showed impressive football skills to dribble a loose ball up the wing before pouncing for the touch down. With a 2 point deficit, Avon started to put some cohesive plays together but were disrupted as fly half Ollie Flight was forced off with a hamstring strain. Eventually a straightforward penalty seemed to provide their “get out of jail card” but without a recognised kicker, the opportunity was missed leaving the small consolation of a losing bonus point.
With no game next week, Avon are hoping that some of their injured players are soon able to return to action to bolster their options in the backline.