<strong>Aylesbury RFC (8) vs. Grove RFC (32)</strong>
By John Sevier
Grove 1st's win their second league match with an emphatic bonus point win over tough opponents Aylesbury.
Grove 1sts avenged last season’s defeat at Ostler’s Field by beating Aylesbury 8 : 32 on Saturday and so kept their 100% winning record. Although this was another good bonus point win for Grove the scoreline in some ways did not reflect the game, in which Aylesbury probably shared both possession and territory with Grove. The main differences between the sides being the vast number of Aylesbury handling errors and discipline breakdowns against Grove’s much slicker attacks and good discipline.
The game kicked off in dry but windy conditions and it was Aylesbury who immediately went on the attack but determined defence by Grove, despite a couple of missed tackles, kept them at bay. After 15 minutes the initial Aylesbury thrusts had been contained and it was Grove, counter-attacking, who were first on the scoreboard. In a virtual repeat of one of the previous week’s try scoring moves, fly half Dave Maryon slickly fed marauding No. 8 Joe Bellinger who had no trouble in blasting over the line for a good try, touched down between the posts for centre Roger Sevier’s conversion to take Grove to a 0 : 7 lead. Again Aylesbury raised their game and for a spell shared the play in the middle of the park but almost inevitably it was an Aylesbury knock-on that let them down and the first signs of indiscipline crept in for the home side. Grove then launched a superb attack started by full back Chris Clare who stormed through the opposition ranks to feed flanker Matt Young who in turn found supporting scrum half Owen Gustafson, followed by passes to Roger Sevier, Dave Maryon and James Eckert and finally Chris Clare again but unfortunately the move stopped with a Grove knock-on. Just before half time Grove extended their lead to 0 : 10 through a successful Roger Sevier penalty kick at goal but it was Aylesbury who finished the half scoring, by exploiting a four man overlap to get their only (unconverted) try of the match, when winger Jordan Stanmore touched down in the corner. The half time score stood therefore at 5 : 10.
With the start of the second half Aylesbury brought themselves right back into the game with another three points when No. 8 James Woodfall slotted a penalty kick but this was almost immediately followed by another good try from Grove. This time it was centre Nick Sevier, who finished off a good passing move, involving firstly Roger Sevier then Joe Bellinger, by touching down in the corner for an unconverted try. Aylesbury now resorted to using their big forwards to try to blast through the Grove defences but the visitors held firm with some very courageous tackles. Grove flanker Carl Alder replaced lock Steve Maryon who’s second row place was taken by Joe Bellinger. More indiscipline followed from Aylesbury who were punished with some superb long range touch kicks from Roger Sevier who then himself was able to run in a terrific try, following a fabulous break by returning winger Harry Carr. Unfortunately the conversion was not successful but the score had now moved to 8 : 20. This was followed by Nick Sevier popping a pass to Joe Bellinger who handed off an Aylesbury defender to run in his second great try of the day, between the posts. With Roger Sevier slotting the conversion the score now moved to 8 : 27 and Grove’s bonus point had been secured. Aylesbury tried to get back into the game but a whole series of knock-ons, more indiscipline and some superb tackling, especially from Grove flanker Matt Young and Bellinger meant they had no success. Jimmy Wallbridge and new hooker Dave Needham substituted for prop Martyn Walsh and Steve Dixey respectively. Another promising attack from Grove then fizzled when wing Tom Harrington was forced into touch and this was followed by a tremendous surge from Aylesbury, taking them the full length of the field, only to be stopped right on the try line by some determined Grove tackling. In the dying minutes of the game Grove stormed back and a thoughtful cross kick from Dave Maryon found Harry Carr who touched down in the corner for the final score of 8 : 32 to be reached.
A great team effort but Grove’s ‘Man of the Match’ was undoubtedly Joe Bellinger.