Toughest test ends in defeat

Midlands 3 East (North)

Amber Valley 1st XV 3pts

Ashby 1st XV 45pts

AMBER Valley knew that this fixture was likely to be amongst the toughest they would face this season and they would have to compete in all areas of play to keep them in the game.

Ashby, recently relegated into this division and fresh of a 91-0 mauling of Notts Corsairs last week would look to use their pace outwide to keep Valley under pressure, and ultimately Valley were left in the wake of Ashby’s athletic organised back line which scored all their six tries. 

In the pre-game talk, Valleys coach Mark Brocklehurst warned the players that they should be wary of loose play and making mistakes, as their opposition would pounce upon every opportunity, and so it proved.

Valley started out well and fought valiantly up front, winning their lineouts and scrums and counter rucking with some vigour and with 10 minutes gone Valley were 3-0 down after a well struck penalty from the visitors

However, Ashby’s first try came after a simple passing move down the line gave their winger space to run around Valleys defence to score. 

Then came an Ashby try made out of luck and good support running. A high long ball was allowed to bounce and into the Ashby runners hands it fell. Supported well they ran in unhindered.

The third came from Ashby’s scrum half cutting the Valley back line and running half the length of the pitch to score.

Their fourth was an interception in their own 22 and a full run of the pitch. 

By this time with 10 minutes left Valley were still forcing thing up front, with Chapman and Goodall at prop pressuring the opposition front row however it seemed at every critical moment, errors were made that let Ashby off the hook. 

Valley could feel a little hard done to not to score a try, as in the last minutes Ashby committed penalty after penalty in an attempt to stop continuity and asValley got more and more frustrated with this, their own indiscipline crept in and they themselves were penalised and let the pressure off Ashby once again.

Ashby ran in two further tries to finish with six in total.

Valley can take solace in their attacking performance, especially from their forwards and centres but realise that at this point in the season they have much to do to firstly integrate new players into the squad and also to tighten up in some key areas.

The game could have been different if Valley had taken some of their first half opportunities, notably afive-metre scrum which Ashby took against the head, or a couple of backs moves where the final pass just didn’t go to hand.

It was only 0-21 at half time, but if Valley had taken their chances as Ashby had, and cut out some mistakes then turning round at 14-21 would have put doubts into the Ashby squad and perhaps the second half would have been a different story

Valleys man of the match, kindly supported by Valleys new sponsor Dominos Pizza of Alfreton, was Ben Parker.