Avon clocked up another 5 try bonus point victory with a stunning 37-21 away win at Barton Hill to sit joint top of Western Counties North.
Barton Hill 21-37 Avon Rugby Club
Western Counties North
13th Sept 2014
By Steve Bird
This was a magnificent all-round team performance from Avon with their pack dominant and their backs dangerous throughout. Playing up the slope and against the wind, Avon conceded an early converted try but immediately bounced back from the restart. Scrum half Ollie Flight gathered a relieving kick on halfway before sprinting up the touch line and selling an inside dummy to touch down in the corner. Rob Fitch converted from out wide to level the scores.
With the Avon forwards taking an increasing stranglehold on the game, a well rehearsed line out catch and drive drove play close to the line where Flight sniped through for his second try, again converted by Fitch to take the lead. 14-7.
Avon showed great game management as they mixed play with a combination of close quarter drives from their powerful ball carriers Chas Meddick, Jake Dixon and Kai Harwood whilst Fitch interspersed astute tactical kicks with unleashing his dangerous runners out wide in the backs.
Their next try came as quick off-the-top ball from Scott Book was swiftly transferred to Zak Harwood who broke the gain line in midfield before Flight switched the recycled ball back to the blindside for 17 year old winger James Leeming to celebrate his debut with a try in the corner. 19-7.
With half time approaching, Avon added their 4th try to secure the bonus point as their forwards pounded the Barts line, patiently retaining possession for phase after phase until Meddick found the weakness in the defence to plunge over the try line for a 24-7 lead at the break.
Stung by the onslaught and their coach’s exhortations, Barts began much more strongly after the restart with their pack keeping the ball tight and were rewarded as their centre cut a good diagonal line to reduce the deficit with a fine converted try. The next 20 minutes saw both teams cancel each other out as the defences proved the dominant factor. Then the ebb and flow of the game was altered after a tremendous counter ruck from man of the match Dixon turned over possession for Avon to set up the position where Fitch slotted a sweetly struck drop goal. 27-14.
Avon now exploited their superiority as a forward charge led by Kane Book and Ian Burnell was switched to the blindside for Ben Dilloway to crash over for their fifth try. Fitch converted and, shortly after a 40 metre run by winger Dan Griffin, also added a penalty to put the game out of sight at 37-14.
To their credit, Barton Hill had the final say as they worked the ball back upfield through a series of close quarter forward drives for a last converted try to end the match with a thrilling 37-21 Avon win.
Next week, Avon play their first home match of the season at Hicks Field against fellow undefeated side Bristol Harlequins.
Avon 2nds also continued their unbeaten start to the season with a bizarre win against Old Edwardians. With Avon leading by 15 points to 5, several of the OE players decided to go to the Rec to watch Bath, leaving the referee to end the game early as OEs conceded the match!