Buster beaten but unbowed after Ashford loss to Glen

ASHFORD’S hard-working prop Buster Chard was all smiles after his side’s 40-22 defeat at the hands of Glen Innes at Ashford on Saturday.

Glen Innes’s Jeff Moate tackles Ashford’s Steve Akhurst. Photo: John Hamilton

Glen Innes’s Jeff Moate tackles Ashford’s Steve Akhurst. Photo: John Hamilton

“That was an old-style game – just hit it up the middle and smash anyone who runs at you,” he said.

The Roosters’ interim coach, Jason Luckett, also bore a smile.

 “That was a really courageous effort from our boys,” he said.

 “Particularly after the turmoil of the past week (the resignation of coach Josh Gleeson) but I sent each of them out with individual jobs and the players did them. 

“I’m happy with that performance. Really happy.”

On the other hand, Magpie coach Sam Key had a different outlook.

“We were messy and at times it was ugly but we got the two points which was what we wanted,” he said. 

“At times we were really scrappy and I would have liked a bit more discipline but all that should improve once we start playing every week.”

The home team opened the scoring when great runs from winger Murray O’Brien and centre Steven Akhurst provided an opportunity for centre Sam Hewatt to crash over for the first of his two tries.

 Shannon Duroux converted and Ashford clung steadfastly to their six-point advantage for some time but eventually big prop Mone Loketi, labouring with a back problem, broke through and sent Nick Say over for the first of his double.

Converted tries to lock Nick Ehsman and impressive young centre Craig Browne took Glen to an 18-6 lead before a lack of attention on halfway cost Ashford another six points. 

Ashford players stood and watched as a loose ball was gathered up by Glen Innes, centre Jock Waters gapped the line and Say finished off under the posts.

But Ashford hit back strongly just before the break with tries to five-eighth Richard Murphy, who ran fifty metres after scooping up a dropped pass, and replacement Brendon Blair who stormed down the middle after Ashford received a run of possession.

Glen added the first two tries (to winger Brandon Levy and Waters) after halftime and, at 34-18, had the match parcelled up. 

Browne, Key, Jeff Moate and Say all had strong games for the Magpies while fullback Ben Lonergan was mistake-free at the back and gave the final pass for two tries.

For Ashford, none was better than second-rower Corey Baker while Chard, Murphy, Hewatt, Blair and winger Charles Boney played well, with every player contributing to a strong team effort.

“If we can keep playing like that we will win at least half our games,” Luckett said.

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