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Ashton RFC secure first national cup win in the club's history

Credit: @ashtonsnapper

On a baking hot day in the North East, Ashton Rugby Union Club saw off the challenge of York Railway Institute to lift the Papa Johns Challenge northern shield and, in doing so, secured the first national competition win in the club’s history.

Ashton also saw their first ever father and son cup win with Nicky and Bailey Corbett which really emphasises the balance of youth and experience in this Ashton team, Nicky a player who has filled in multiple positions this season and his son Bailey who is the youngest on the team however has such promise and a player we expect to be in the first team for many years to come. 

The game was played at the 25,00 capacity Darlington Mowden Arena and couldn’t have started much better for the Ashtonians, with Thomas Parker taking a pass from Matthew Worthington to crash over the York line in Ashton’s first attack. Within ten minutes Ashton were two tries to the good as Murphy Holt drove through the York defensive line to add a second converted try. 

York broke their duck with a converted try but Ashton soon restored the 14 point advantage by winning good line out ball and pushing the York defence back over their own line, Parker again the man with the try and Josh Pattison adding a third conversion. Late in the half, tiredness in the heat led to both sides trading penalties, one of which saw Ashton reduced to 14 men - the subsequent penalty attempt hit the post and the rebound landed kindly for the Railwaymen to score a second try and a halftime score of 21-14.

Stalwart of the team scrum half Chris Grayson, controlled the game excellently throughout and allowed Ashton constant clean ball to gain yards from every carry. Scoring was less frequent in the second half of a game being played out under the mid-day sun and on a big pitch - but the accuracy of Pattison’s kicking pushed Ashton’s noses further in front as he landed two second half penalties.  

The win was all but secured in the closing minutes when Pattison kicked for the corner against a York side down to 14 men, Ashton again won good line out ball and swarmed over the York line to allow Parker to complete a memorable hat-trick especially memorable to see an Ashton junior come through the ranks to help win Ashton the shield.

There was still time for York to respond with a try of their own in the closing minute they will, however will be kicking themselves, Alex Meredith stopped a certain try on Ashton’s own line when the York Winger had the ball stripped when trying to walk the try in under the posts. Ashton saw out the rest of the game without alarm for a final score of 35-28. They were then presented with the winners shield by veteran club member Donald Roberts.

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