Aylesbury 12 Grove 6 - Saturday 13th February
By John Sevier
Grove lose sight of league leaders
Grove lost any realistic chance of catching the two league leaders in Southern Counties(North) when they narrowly lost at Aylesbury in a very closely contested match on Saturday.
This was not the greatest performance by Grove with some poor tactical decision making on the field but credit has to be given to Aylesbury's dogged defence which could not be penetrated through the whole game.
The first half saw Aylesbury constantly attacking but Grove's defence was resolute and the home side could not break the Grove line. Grove did manage to get into the Aylesbury half of the field a couple of times during the half but two long range penalty attempts by fly half Roger Sevier were both missed. Aylesbury definitely looked the stronger of the two sides although both scrum half Dave Maryon and hooker Jon North stood out for Grove. Aylesbury missed a kickable penalty and with half time looming the game was deadlocked at 0 : 0 but after 4 minutes of injury time Grove took a 3 : 0 lead with a Roger
Sevier penalty which went over after hitting the crossbar. At half time Grove lost flanker Guy Nicholl with a dead leg replaced by John Chapman and also lost Dave Maryon with a pulled hamstring. Maryon's position was taken by Roger Sevier with centre Jamie Burns moving to fly half and replacement Simon Cramp coming on to make up the full side. In this half it was Grove who were the main attacking force for most of the time with particularly good aggressive tackling from lock James Kerr being noted but it was Aylesbury who nudged 5 : 3 ahead when their outside centre touched down in the corner after a blindside break. No. 8 Ben Nicholl and centres Nick Sevier and Jamie Burns for Grove then all managed to separately drive over the Aylesbury line
but none could touch the ball down. Grove kept up the intense pressure but wrong options were taken and overlaps ignored so no scoring resulted until Grove were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Roger Sevier cheerfully converted to put Grove 5 : 6 in front. Grove continued to attack and Ben Nicholl in particular had a superb run up the middle of the park but then somewhat against the run of play Aylesbury made a terrific break out and ran in a very good try to the corner of the field. The difficult conversion was put over and Grove were in trouble at 12 : 6 behind. Aylesbury now resorted to a kicking game to give them territorial advantage and frankly should
have scored another try but for a clear overlap in their backs being ignored. With only minutes left Grove threw everything at their hosts but again wrong options were taken and a very exciting
game ended with victory to the home side.