A fantastic team performance saw Ashfield RUFC thump Nottinghamians 71-0 in their final home league game of the season, setting up their last game at Tupton as a must-win game to secure third place and an outside chance of promotion.
Ashfield put on a dazzling performance that held the crowd captive for the entire 80 minutes.
A hat-trick of tries from right wing Pete Alldread, assisted by a brace of tries from centre Jake Manning, fly half Billy North, left wing Danny Wilson plus 14 points from the boot of Gareth Purnell helped secure an 11-try rout over Amians.
Although 66 points came from the backs, the dominance of the Ashfield pack should not be in doubt.
Prop Nick Bearley, missing through injury, helped galvanise the players prior to kick-off and hooker Dan Morgan opened the floodgates with a very well-worked opening try inside two minutes.
Tom Childs made the initial break on the back of a rolling maul. Wilson then made yards, bringing the forwards back into play and set up a ruck.
From this, Morgan drove for the line for the opening score, though the conversion was missed.
Manning was next on the scoresheet after some great play from flanker Dan Chapman.
Having scored last week, but his try was incorrectly accredited to another player, Chapman broke on the blind side, breaking through tackles.
Unselfishly he passed to Manning, who was in support and was unstoppable. With the conversion from Purnell, Ashfield extended their lead to 12 points.
The dominance of Ashfield was evident, taking the scrum against the head on several occasions. The dominate scrum and effective line out ensured good position at vertically every breakdown. From another scrum won by Ashfield, Manning found himself in space to race to the try line for his second try, and Purnell added the extra points to give Ashfield an early 19-point lead.
The forwards again set up another scoring platform, this time for Alldread.
With the ball at the base of the scrum, No.8 Gareth Jones picked up the ball and set off down the blind side.
With Alldread at near full pace he took the pass from Jones and race 25m to score, Purnell again adding the extra points.
Wilson was next on the scoresheet after some good back interplay. He picked the ball up just inside the Amians’ half and, with one covering player to beat, off he set. With speed to burn, he wrongfooted the defender, feinting to cut inside, then sidestepped outside and ran unopposed under the posts, Purnell again adding the extras.
Ashfield’s scrum half Matt Upton created the last scoring play of the half when his long pass found Wilson in open space. Not requiring a second invitation to run with ball in hand, he made light work of the Amians’ covering defence, crossing the try line near the corner. Purnell, with unerring accuracy added the conversion and it was 40-0 to Ashfield.
After the break two tries were scored in quick succession by the home side.
First Childs crossed. Taking the ball on a fantastic diagonal line, he cut across the Amians’ defence for a great solo try, beating three players in the process. As expected, Purnell added the conversation.
From the restart, the Ashfield forwards caught the ball and surged forward, Gav Appleby and Jordan Shead carrying to ball to great effect.
It wasn’t long before the backs were set free, and North with the ball in hand set off down the touch line to score in the corner.
The conversion was missed and Ashfield eased past the half century at 52-0.
Ashfield’s eighth try came again from a forward platform after good work from Mark Denman, Chris Houseman and Greg Newbutt.
Alldread was again the recipient, crossing the try line for his second of the game, a missed conversion making the score 57-0 in Ashfield’s favour.
Amians, to their credit didn’t let the scoreline or the difference in class affect them as they enjoyed their best period of play after 68 minutes.
Deep in Ashfield’s half, they certainly asked questions of the home team’s defence but unfortunately they didn’t find the home sides difference in charitable mood.
From a line out, inevitably won by Mark Denman the hat-trick try was scored by Alldread. Some good interplay from the backs saw Manning break free and looked to be heading for the try line.
But he unselfishly he put in Alldread to score and complete his hat trick, with the added points this time by Billy North.
The last scoring play of the game epitomised the dominance of the Ashfield players with Billy North scoring a 60m solo try leaving the Amians’ players trailing in his wake, Purnell’s conversion making the score 71-0.
Ashfield development squad beat Paviors III 22-9 in a hard but fairly fought game over a very experienced Paviors side thanks in part to two tries from captain Chris Allen.
Recent games between these two sides have always provided after match talking points, but this game’s after match discussions cantered around the quality on show from both sides.
Daz Jones, who is passing on his vast experience to his younger team mates, led by example, crossing the try line for a great score. The boot of evergreen Alan Payne added two conversions and a penalty.
This was a hugely satisfying victory for Ashfield’s second string and one that should give them confidence as they move towards their Nottinghamshire Cup Final.