Midlands U17 Cup Quarter Final
Ampthill made the trip up to Nottingham (average house price £156,773) to face the Corsairs who had won their way through as Champions of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire.
Corsairs made the first breakthrough after 15 minutes, an Ampthill scrum 35 metres from their own line was taken against the head and the Corsairs No.8 picked up and took the defence unawares to run in under the posts. A simple conversion gave the hosts a 7-0 lead. Despite both sides threatening to add to the score on numerous occasions, this is how the score stayed until half time.
Ampthill had the strong and gusting wind with them in the second half, and brought the scores level after only 5 minutes of the half after a 5M lineout was driven to within 2M. From the ruck, Richardson dummied a pass and ran over the line and around under the posts to ensure the scores were levelled. Five minutes later a penalty awarded 25M out gave Prosser a chance to kick the points, and despite the conditions he duly obliged to give Ampthill a 7-10 lead. The play moved from one end to the other, with great skill and defence shown by both sides. The entertainment was only interrupted by frequent injuries – Ampthill making more than their fair share of enforced substitutions. The visitors increased their lead with Stearn intercepting a Corsairs pass to run half the pitch to score, with Prosser again adding the conversion. At 7-17 with 10 minutes to go, Ampthill looked to be in the driving seat.
A head injury suffered by Jake Roberts necessitated a change of pitch as an ambulance was required (Jake is OK!) and the change allowed Corsairs to regroup. A 5M lineout gave them a chance to catch and drive, and they forced their way over, but with the conversion missed they were still 12-17 down. However 3 minutes later they again bashed the ball up through the forwards and their extra weight proved too much as they drove the ball over the line. The crucial conversion was well taken and Corsairs retook the lead at 19-17. In the final few minutes Ampthill threw everything they could at their opponents but to no avail – the final whistle was met with delight by the Corsairs players and coaches alike.
It would be easy for Ampthill to blame the number of injuries and the change of pitch for the loss, but Corsairs should be very proud at an excellent performance and win, and Ampthill can be proud of the huge effort and commitment shown by all the players and we wish Corsairs well for the remainder of the competition (they beat us – so they had better beat the rest!)
Nottingham Corsairs 19 v Ampthill 17