Ashfield RUFC seal derby honours against Worksop RUFC

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Promoted Ashfield prooved too strong for Worskop as they won the local derby 31-10.

Although Ashfield never looked anything but victorious, Worksop came with a game plane that would frustrate the home side.

The opening minutes showed a nervy Ashfield, who were missing top try scorer Jake Manning and top points scorer Gareth Purnell, turn the ball over through some uncharacteristic handling errors.

On seven minutes, fly-half Billy North converted a penalty when he majestically stroked the ball through the uprights from 24m out following a Worksop player not releasing in the tackle.

Ashfield should have used this 3 point lead to drive forward, however the opposite occurred.

Worksop had a period of sustained pressure that lead to their first unconverted try when two quick penalties were awarded for firstly handling in the ruck and secondly for holding on in the tackle on the 5m line.

This could well have turned the Ashfield promotion party into a wake, but when prop, Chris Houseman, who had scored two tries in the corresponding fixture in early September took a quick tap penalty, he embarked on a looping run that took him clear of the opposition forwards.

The scrambling Worksop defence finally stopped Houseman on the 5m line and, when the ball was worked along the backs, Richardson collected the ball to score a try, which Billy North converted.

From the restart, Ashfield’s North cleared the ball deep into the Worksop half and, when the defender couldn’t control the bouncing ball, the ball went into touch for an Ashfield throw. A throw in by Gareth Jones found Mark Denman’s safe hands.

Denman set the driving maul which led to Simon Downie crossing the try line. North again was deadly from a tight angle to give Ashfield a 17-5 lead.

It was again a deep kick by North that set up Ashfield’s third try. Pete Alldread chased down North’s kick and put the Worksop full-back under immense pressure, which allowed Koro to gather the ball and score unopposed from 30m out, North again with the conversion.

The second half would be very different for both sides with only two tries being scored and Worksop enjoying large periods where they had good field position, but found a very determined Ashfield defence.

Worksop were first on the score sheet when a good pick and drive blindside move led to an unconverted try in the corner to cut the gap to 24-10 after 57 minutes.

The defensive prowess of Ashfield was well tested with Josh Heald, Dan Chapman, Mark Denman and Simon Downie all meeting the Worksop challenge head on.

Ashfield’s own scoring opportunities were limited to breakaways with Joho Richardson, Tyler Morgan and Koro breaking the gain line with pace and purpose. Koro then scored his second and Ashfield’s fourth to secure a try scoring bonus point.

The win meant Ashfield ended their season with only three defeats out of 22 games, while Worksop finished the season in ninth spot.