1stXV Produce Outstanding 2nd Half Against Hull
Ampthill travelled to Brantingham Park on a dry, warm but windy afternoon to find the usual warm welcome and a club house full of passionate and enthusiastic home supporters who were keen to let the Maroon and Gold know they were in for a battle.
As predicted Ionians came out of the blocks firing and established control of both territory and possession keeping Amps pinned in their half with accurate kicking from hand and their big forwards on the front foot.
On 20 minutess Isaac Green kicked his first penalty followed by another just 3 minutes later.
With A's under pressure the hosts extended their lead on 33 minutes with a fine try from Cotterill on the left with Green adding the extras, at this point Hull were in control and looking well worth their 13pt lead.
After Ionians had dominated much of the first half the visitors managed to get their act together with Man Of The Match Number 8 Maama Molitika touching down from close range, wing James Pritchard adding the extras. The interval score of 13-7 didn't reflect the half with Ampthill frankly lucky to be still in touch.
Whatever was said at half time the second half was a totally different spectacle with Amps outscoring their hosts by 32pts while crossing the whitewash 5 times.
Playing with with the elements A's cut loose with replacement hooker Gabriel Oghre crashing over in the 44th minute, Pritchard converting.
The hosts responded immediately with Green's 3rd penalty goal on 47 minutes to regain the lead 16-14.
However, the visitors had raised their game, particularly up front. First a huge 50th minute scrum from prop Matt Collins won a penalty. The coaching team were surprised to see Captain Billy Johnson elect for another scrum on the 22 metre line, however, the blindside flanker broke from the scrum stepping two defenders either side of a fend to cross for a great solo try converted by Pritchard.
The momentum was now with Ampthill who established complete control.
Top scorer, wing Sam Baker scored the next and bonus point securing try in the 55th minute, Pritchard again adding the extras.
Replacement prop George Thornton had been very aggressive from the moment he came on at half time and was next on the score sheet with the first of his brace on 63 minutes with a strong carry from 15 metres out, converted by Pritchard.
Ionians redoubled their efforts but the visitors sealed a fine second half performance with Thornton's second try in the 69th minute, Pritchard again adding the conversion to secure a 16-42 victory.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery commented "An outstanding second half scoring 5 tries without conceding, this was a great way to back up the win over Coventry the previous week.
A great welcome from a proper rugby club with great people doing a great job . We hope to see them next year when I'm sure the rivalry will continue."