Welcome to the Ampthill Academy

Our commitment beginning season 2017-18 is the first time that Ampthill has undertaken a full academy programme as part of the senior squad (1st & 2nd XV). It is our intention that, within two years, the academy programme will provide three players per season capable of playing at National 1 standard.

Our Mission is:-

to assist the development of players aged 18-22 years and to provide a pathway from youth rugby into senior rugby and potentially, a semi-professional contract with Ampthill’s 1st XV currently playing in National 1”.

Our Key Values are:-

Application - Dedication - Honesty - Respect

Please click the Tabs below for more information.


Our 1stXV plays semi-professional rugby and finished 3rd in National 1 in 2016/17, level 3 in the Rugby Football Union hierarchy. With 12 clubs in each of the Premiership (level 1) and the Championship (level 2) that ranks Ampthill as the 27th rugby club in England from approximately 1800 clubs.

Our 2ndXV plays in Division 1 of the Zoo Sports Shield and finished 3rd in season 2016/17, ahead of 2ndXVs from clubs such as Blackheath, Jersey & London Scottish.

The formation of the academy is a natural progression to provide a path for youth players who would like to progress to adult rugby. The gap between youth rugby and National 1 is extensive and we believe that an academy will smooth the transition into the senior game.

The academy is open to all youth players, not just those who have come through the Ampthill mini & youth system. Anyone with both the recommendation and the desire to develop their skill set to a level that provides an opportunity in due course to earn a semi-professional contract in National 1 is welcome.

Ampthill's senior section runs 6 senior sides, three social sides starting with the Extras (4thXV) through the 5thXV to the Veterans.

Youth players will likely start their progression through the senior section via the Jets, our 3rdXV.

The 1881’s, our 2ndXV, play against the likes of 2ndXVs from Blackheath, Jersey, London Scottish & Richmond etc. The standard is high, on a par with National 3 (level 5) in the RFU hierarchy.

We intend to provide all youth players with a full strength and conditioning (S&C) programme produced by Ampthill’s own S&C department as well as help and advice regarding injury recovery from our medical team.

Ampthill 1stXV enjoy on-going player development programmes with reigning Aviva Champions Saracens as well as Northampton Saints, Bath Rugby, Leicester Tigers and Bedford Blues.

It is our aim to make sure that all youth players get the best possible level of coaching, strength and conditioning and medical support to realise their potential. If this means they progress further up the ladder than the Ampthill 1stXV they go with our blessing, support and best wishes. We hope they will re-join us if they return down the playing pyramid, they will receive a warm welcome.


Director of Rugby
Mark Lavery

Mark has been a member of the Club for 20 years and started coaching in the Mini & Youth. Under his direction the 1stXV has achieved 4 promotions in 11 seasons and now plays at the highest level in Ampthill's history as well as winning 3 East Midland Senior Cups.

Head Coach
Tom Gray - 07802 915956
Tom Gray
Tom started playing rugby for Ampthill mini/youth at age 12, before moving to Bedford playing for the U16, Colts, U21's and senior sides. He also also played for Ampthill, London Scottish and Bedford Athletic. He won 5 County Cups, 4 East Midlands Cups, 3 league titles and the National NPI Cup. He played a season in the Western Province league in South Africa. He was selected to play for County, East Midlands and Midlands at various age groups and seniors. He is now a Level 2 coach, having coached mini, youth and senior sides at Ampthill.

Assistant Coach
Steve Everitt - 07775 622042
Steve Everitt
Steve, an RFU Level 2 coach, has coached for 11 years at Ampthill with the last four years as Head Coach of a very successful youth team winning County Cups and leagues. In addition to Ampthill, he also coached Bedfordshire County youth teams for a number of years and is currently coaching with Northampton Saints DPP u14s.

Scrum Coach
Phil Donbavand - 07876 472043
Phil Donbavand
Capped for Lancashire U19’s, U21’s & full County side, North U19, North U21, member of England U19 & U21 squads, 2 seasons in New Zealand with Maurist and Bay of Plenty, 1 season in France with Claremont Ferrand (Auvergne), played in the Championship with Sedgley Park, played 7 seasons for Ampthill’s 1stXV

Josh Bassett - Wasps 1stXV

Josh Bassett
Learned to play the game at Ampthill's Youth section, went to Bedford Blues Academy, signed for Wasps, England U20 World Cup Winner, 48 appearances for Wasps scoring 16 tries, 25 years sold, 6ft 3, 15st 6

Lewis Ludlow - Gloucester Rugby

Lewis Ludlow
Learned to play the game at Ampthill's Mini & Youth, made his Ampthill 2ndXV debut at 16 years old, went from Ampthill to Hartpury College, played against Ampthill in National 2 South, capped for England U18 & U20. 38 games for Gloucester, 2 tries, 6ft 2, 16st 10

Dean Adamson - Bedford Blues

Dean Adamson
Learned to play the game at Ampthill's Mini & Youth, went from Ampthill to Bedford Blues Academy, returned from Blues Academy to Ampthill 1stXV Season 2013/1, scored 24 tries for Ampthill’s 1stXV 2013/14 in National 2 South, signed for Blues 1stXV squad 2014/15

Elliot Clements-Hill - Bedford Blues

Elliot Clements-Hill
Learned to play the game at Ampthill's Mini & Youth, went to Oaklands College & Saracens Academy, joined Blues Academy, returned to Ampthill 2013/14, scored 21 tries for Ampthill’s 1stXV 2013/14, signed to Plymouth Albion 2014/15, returned to Ampthill 2015/16, scored 221 points for Ampthill 2015/16, signed to Bedford Blues 1stXV squad 2016/17

Matthew Burke - Ampthill

Matthew Burke
Learned to play the game at Ampthill's Mini & Youth, member of 2006 RFU National U17’s Cup winning squad, member of Northampton Saints Academy, spent 2 years playing for Ballymena in the All Ireland League, 158 appearances for Ampthill 1stXV making him the most capped player in Ampthill’s 1stXV history. Back row forward.

William Goodge - Ampthill

Will Goodge
Learned to play the game at Ampthill's Mini & Youth, debut for the 1stXV 2014/15, 59 appearances for the 1stXV, Centre

Player Development

It is our objective to help all players achieve their maximum potential.

The Academy will provide you with help and support to realise your ambitions.

The Coaches are here to assist and are happy to answer all questions on any rugby related subject.

If the Academy does not have fixture on a Saturday, we  believe it is in the players best interest to play for the senior section at a level agreed with the Academy Coaches.

With the contraction of the Bedford Blues Academy, there is an opportunity to identify, target, nurture and improve local talent.

Academy players may not be ready for 1stXV or 2ndXV rugby immediately, however, we aim to develop players to that level as quickly as possible.

A number of Academy players will train with the 1stXV squad on a consistent basis. Selection of the players working with the 1stXV squad will be done on a merit basis in consultation with the Academy Coaches

The Academy affords a unique opportunity locally outside the Aviva Premiership Academies to substantially improve player capability.

Ground Rules

Keep the Coaches informed of your attendance at all scheduled training sessions.

Be punctual and on time for all training sessions and games.

It is not the Coaches job to inform the player, it is the players job to maintain contact with the Coaches at all times.

We expect all Ampthill Academy Players to respect the Club House, the Club Gym, oppositions Club Houses, Changing Rooms and facilities.

Discipline is critical for all Ampthill Academy Players. We will not tolerate under any circumstances talking back to an official or talking back to Coaches.

We believe all Ampthill Academy Players are responsible for their performance (the Coaches are there to assist).


Medical Support
Michael Dwyer

Sports Therapist

You will all be screened as part of 1st team squad testing to check health, well-being and injury history. Anthropometric data will all be assessed and recorded – prevention is our goal. Plans will be individualised to support athletic development

By appointment, you will be seen by the 1st team medical team. There may be a charge for this dependent on priority.

No Excuses for not attending training, we deal with club healthcare, if you cant make your appointment then you MUST inform me and alternative healthcare can then be discussed.

Appointments will be 15 mins in length (Depending on severity/location etc. this may be subject to change)

You must inform Mick before 11am on training days if you need an appointment – first come first serve (Saturday Squads) – exceptions will be made depending on availability of squad and importance of treatment/rehab session for upcoming game/session

Contact Mick Dwyer –


Details of our 2017-18 academy squad members will appear here soon


Academy News