Garstang Hang On For Victory
Sat 1st Nov 2008, 02:30 PM
6 Garstang - Ashton under Lyne 5
Garstang secured a crucial league win last Saturday when they hung on to beat Ashton-under-Lyne by 6-5. The two teams have been close rivals in recent seasons with both sides winning promotion in 2006/07 and both narrowly escaping the drop last term.
Garstang started the game in impressive fashion with Ainsley Pye gathering the kick off and taking it to the hosts. He then released the returning Mike Bunn, who went on to have a belting game, and he in turn released John Robinson . This put Garstang in pole position and from this they put enough pressure on Ashton to concede a penalty. Andy Blackley stepped up and made the score 3-0.
Garstang managed to maintain the intensity and they were able to force several more penalties within range. However, Andy Blackley missed a couple before he was able to extend the lead to 6-0. This was to be the score at half time and the slender advantage was not really a fair reflection of the half.
At half time John Robinson emphasised the need to keep it tight in the second half and not to let Ashton back into it. However, Garstang started the half poorly and Ashton dominated the opening exchanges. Garstang conceded a couple of penalties and from one of these Ashton scored a try. The conversion was missed so Garstang just held on to the lead (5-6).
When Ashton scored one of their players struck out at a Garstang player and he was sent to the sin bin for his troubles. It was a silly piece of indiscipline which was to prove costly for him and his team.
Ashton sensed that they could win the game but scoring chances were few and far between. With time almost up Garstang infringed and Ashton had a shot at goal to steal the match. The crowd and players held their breath but fortunately for Garstang the kick sailed harmlessly wide. This was to be the last opportunity and a relieved Garstang team got the vital two points.
Ainsley Pye won the Man of the Match award for another dynamic performance.
Team: Miller, Everest, Orr, Yates, Slater, Pye, Greenwood, Charles, Blackley, Nickson, Bunn, Robinson, Rigby, Gorst. Replacements: Kelsall, Corless, Lambert.
After the game Captain John Robinson said “It is great to get a win away from home and I am proud of the way the lads stuck to the game plan and hung on in there at the end of the game.”
On Saturday 8th November the 1st XV are away again when they travel to take on Bolton. This is a crucial game as Bolton are still seeking a first victory and Garstang know that a win would see them pulling further away from danger.
The Blues had been scheduled to play Fylde 5ths at home but they have switched their game to Fylde and the Lions will play Lostock at home. All the games kick off at 14:15.
The game was reported in The Tameside Advertiser as follows:
“Ashton RUFC 5 Garstang 6: A SCRAPPY performance from Ashton saw them beaten by a single point at Gambrel Bank on Saturday.
Having opened the game playing into the blustery wind, Ashton found it difficult to make progress, as well as any real use of the possession that they managed to gain.
Their passing and handling let them down with those errors further compounded by a series of penalties, two of which put Garstang 6-0 ahead.
The home side also had to cope with bad luck as the first half drew to a close with the departure of the injured Gareth Blomeley.
However, they seemed to have got their act together early in the second half when a rolling maul towards the Garstang line ended with Neil Oldham taking the ball a yard out and driving over.
He celebrated with a shout of triumph, whereby one of the visiting players threw a punch at him and the referee deemed Oldham’s actions as intimidating the opposition, sinbinning him for 10 minutes and ignoring the misdemeanours of the Garstang player.
Despite this bizarre incident, there was still plenty of time after Oldham’s return to action for the home side to register another score.
Garstang continued to compete well in the pack, scrapping for every inch of territory, but any attacks they made foundered on a solid defence and Ashton still had enough possession to conjure up the score that would have put them in front.
It was not to be though as the ball went to ground on far too many occasions, the decision-making was not the best and the game finished with Tom Hibbert taking an unsuccessful long-range kick at goal when two earlier opportunities from closer in had been spurned.
Garstang duly fielded the ball behind the line, kicked it into touch and celebrated their victory.”