Last Minute Penalty Try Condemns 1stXV To Loss
Ampthill welcomed Mowden Park to Dillingham Park on a dry, bright but breezy afternoon. Despite the recent inclement weather the pitch was in good condition with a moderate breeze blowing in favour of Ampthill in the first half.
Amps pack was unchanged from the previous week with Josh White who has worked his through the senior teams this season retaining his starting spot at prop. The backs saw Kevin Barrett start at scrum half while Gavin Williams rotated to the bench..
The game began with both defences, as they would do for most of the match, shutting down their opposing attacks. Much of the first half was played between the 22 areas as neither side established control.
On 8 minutes A's took the lead through wing James Pritchard who converted a simple penalty goal after the vsitors were penalised at a ruck.
The hosts began to put pressure on Mowden Park and after another penalty had been kicked to the corner, a series of phases resulted in a scrum to the home side on DMP's 5m line. Scrum half Kevin Barrett picked up, broke blind and crossed untouched for a 25th minute try wide on the right, Pritchard's conversion sliding by the nearside post.
The visitors redoubled their efforts but despite putting Ampthill under pressure in the red zone never looked like scoring as Amps defence forced turnovers.
As the clock ran down A's broke up another attack and cleared the ball to the half way line but this time, in time added on, Mowden Park broke the line wide on the left leaving wing Brandon Asher-Wood to dot down and fly half Warren Seals to add the conversion to leave the score 8-7 at oranges.
Playing against the wind in the second half the hosts connections may have felt the lead wasn't comfortable while DMP would have been much encouraged by scoring at the end of the half.
It was not a surpirse when the visitors began the second half strongly dominating territory and possesion and taking the lead on 52 minutes with a simple Seals penalty goal. In fact, apart from the restart, it took the home side most of the first quarter to get out of their own half of the field!
Ampthill weathered the storm however, and now on top in both scrum and lineout, used visiting indiscretions to get down the field, winning a 5m lineout in the 78th minute and setting up the drive only for the referee to award a penalty try as the maul was brought down on the line.
With just a few minutes remaining Amps had to control the restart and run down the clock, just as they'd done against Plymouth Albion a few weeks earlier but having turned the ball over desperate defence saw A's penalised for offside. The resulting penalty was kicked to the corner, Mowden Park won the lineout, set the drive and the referee returned the favour by running under the posts as the maul collapsed.
This was not a game for running rugby connoisseurs, rather it was a forward battle and a defensive showpiece. Disappointingly for the hosts, this was the fourth game in eight recent matches between the two sides when DMP have won at the death.
Mowden Park Head Coach Danny Brown comments "Delighted by securing the victory after a very tough battle. The boys grafted very hard in the scecond half, especially when we didn't have the ball. Best of luck to Ampthill, we look forward to next season's fixtures against them."
Ampthill Head Coach Paul Turner comments "Overall I was pleased with the energy and effort, we defended well but made too many errors to be comfortable and it was a shame to give the game away at the end. Our dominant scrum wasn't rewarded in the second half and our failure to control the restart at the end of the game was disappointing."
Tries:- Barrett (25), Penalty (78)
Penalties:- Pritchard (8)
Tries:- Asher-Wood (40), Penalty (80),
Conversions:- Seals (40)
Penalties:- Seals (52)
Half Time:- Ampthill 8 Mowden Park 7
Man of the Match:- Kevin Barrett, Ampthill
Referee:- Veryan Boscawen
Attendance :- 385