Agonising two-point defeat for Latchford


LATCHFORD came within two points of ending Ashton Bears unbeaten league record in a pulsating encounter at the ASICS Victoria Park Arena on Saturday.
Final score was 22-24 for Ashton – and it was a tough one for Albion to take as they were competitive throughout.
Coach Martyn Ellis drew upon the positives and said “ We put in a fantastic effort against on form the best side in the competition, and it is testament to my side that we are disappointed not to come away with anything from the game.
“We had to change the squad around a fair bit, and the side was a very young one, but they never took a backward step against a very physical established Premier Division side. “
Latchford got off to the worst possible start, as the visitors raced into a 12-0 lead in the opening five minutes with two converted tries.
Rather than lie down Albion hit back on 10 minutes. After Dec Rourke was held up, the ball was recycled along the line, and when scrum half Matty Ellis spotted a gap he dummied his way over next to the posts, Matty Rudd adding the extras.
Ashton again took control of the game and scored two further tries to extend their lead, but again the hosts clawed their way back into the game.
On the stroke of half time, Ellis’ clever short pass found Ben Harper on the charge who powered his way through the visitors defence to score, ,Rudd adding the conversion to leave the game in the balance at 12-20 at the break.
As with the first half, the visitors were quickest out of the blocks and scored again on 50 minutes giving them a 12 point lead.
But, again the hosts refused to give in and quickly responded. Full back Rudd joined the line at pace and his cut out pass found Gareth Fairhurst out on the wing who had enough room to cross out wide, Rudd adding an excellent conversion and, on 65 minutes, the hosts had reduced the deficit to a converted try.
On 75 minutes Latchford got the break they needed when stand off Rob Marsh read an intended Ashton attack well, allowing him to intercept and race 80 yards to score. Crucially the visitors defence scrambled and forced him to score right in the corner,leaving Rudd with a tough conversion to level.
Agonisingly the kick shaved the post and the visitors held on to take the points.
Prop forward Jack Foulkes (pictured) played a full 80 minutes, registering an impressive 17 carries and 34 tackles throughout the game.


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