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Ice cool Ashton secures late victory for Wales Deaf
A dramatic late penalty by Treorchy outside half Celyn Ashton helped Wales Deaf to a 17 – 15 victory against England at Fylde and ensured their unbeaten run extends to five in a row.
The Wales centre kept his nerve to slot over a 28 metre penalty from the wrong side of the field to give the visitors a hard fought win in the first of two International Test matches versus England this year.
Wales were first on the scoreboard with a penalty by Ashton however England hit back after 7 minutes with a try by winger Adam Faulkner who carved his way over for a well taken try near the posts.
Wales hit back through Ashton who slotted his second penalty to put the visitors ahead by 6 points to 5. Midway through the first half, the hosts began to dominate the scrum with the front row of Kevin Osbourne, Tom England and Peter Altham giving the Welsh pack a tough time.
England's dominance paid off as on 27 minutes, outside half Sage kicked a penalty to put England ahead at the break by 8 points to 6.
Wales decided to stay on the field at half time as captain Adam Brake sought to galvanise his team following a half were England enjoyed the majority of possession and territory.
England’s territorial dominance continued early into the second half and they were rewarded with a penalty try on 47 minutes after a series of collapsed scrums on the Welsh line. Outside half Sage kicked the conversion to stretch the host’s lead to 15 points to 6.
The game turned on 74 minutes though as Wales rallied and began to apply pressure deep in England’s half.
Some good interchange play between the forwards and backs pushed England back towards their own line and with the home defence stretched, full-back Aron Humphries was put away to slide over in the corner. Centre Ashton missed the difficult conversion from far out on the touchline and England went into final 6 minutes ahead by 15 points to 14.
Wales were desperate to hold onto the ball and move up-field to try and secure a good position for a final go at the home defence.
With only four minutes left, they were awarded a penalty from a ruck as England’s open-side flanker was caught offside. Ashton stepped forward and held his nerve to calmly edge Wales ahead by 17 points to 15.
A frantic final few minutes followed as England sought to find position or a scrum where they could earn a penalty to snatch victory.
The slippery conditions however made handling difficult and from the final lineout of the game, Dunvant scrum half Sam Gallagher scrambled the ball into touch to ensure Wales held onto the Broadstreet Cup by 17 points to 15.