Coventry 63 1stXV 14, Sat Dec 09 2017, National 1
Ampthill travelled to near neighbours Coventry on a clear but very cold afternoon which saw the 2ndXV game postponed due to an unplayable pitch.
Amps have had a inconsistent start to the season losing a number of close games while being competitive on all those occasions, that certainly came to an end at the Butts Arena when they where comprehensively beaten 9 tries to 2 by the Champions elect Coventry.
Coventry started well taking the game to Ampthill and after wave up on wave of attack Coventry finally broke the line on 11 minutes scoring a try through Northampton Saints first team squad member Tom Kessell who is on loan at Coventry for the balance of the season, former Ampthill player Will Maisey adding the extras.
When you come across a side as accurate and physical as Coventry you need to control the game, unfortunately this aspect of A's game was missing for the afternoon. The visitors were under pressure from the off but poor off plan option taking made competing impossible.
The home side scored again in the 27th minute after continuous pressure saw lock George Oram cross for a converted try.
Ampthill fought back after, for probably the first and only time during the whole eighty minutes sticking to the game plan, scoring a well earned try after multiple phases on 32 minutes. Scrum half Kevin Barrett emulating his opposite number by crossing unopposed after a 5m scrum pick up by Number 8 Maama Molitika, wing James Pritchard adding the extras.
Regrettably this was the signal for chaos to take over, a charge down from a simple clearing pattern ended up with a length of the field break for Coventry who extended their lead with a converted try from back row Jack Preece followed almost immediately by Kessell's second try after a mid field break leaving the score 28-7 at half time.
The less said about the second half the better but Coventry were accurate, direct and physical and took advantage of a very poor Amps performance to walk to a big win scoring 5 more converted trys with just a single response from A's wing Sam Baker on 73 minutes, well converted from the touch line by Pritchard.
Coventry's intensity, accuracy and physicality were undeniable but the visitors made it easy for them with their worst performance for many a season. Coventry are the real deal but no side can expect to get much from an afternoon's work if you abandon game control.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments "Coventry played extremely well while we lost control and went completely off plan. I don't believe you can become a bad side over night but a number of players need to take a long hard look in the mirror and start taking responsibility for their own performances.
We have a massive game this weekend against a quickly improving Hull Ionians and unless we get back on plan and do the things we practice in training we will find ourselves up against it at Dillingham Park this weekend."
Tries:- Kessell (11, 40, 49), Daynes (58,64), Oram (27), Preece (37), Trimble (45), Maisey (77);
Conversions Maisey (12, 28, 38, 40, 46, 50), Fenner (59, 65, 78)
Tries:- Barratt (31), Baker (73)
Conversions:- Pritchard (32, 74).