1stXV 20 Esher 13, Match Report, Sat Apr 30, 2016
Ampthill welcomed Esher for their first ever visit to Dillingham Park on bright afternoon with the threat of showers. Amps squad saw late changes with Ralph Adams-Hale at blindside flanker and Kevin Barrett at scrum half while James Wright, playing his first game of the season after long term injury, was on the bench together with the rotated Gavin Williams.
A’s began well taking the game to the visitors with much of the first 10 minutes played in their half, a 5M Scrum on 13 minutes saw scrum half Kevin Barrett break blind and set up right wing Elliot Clements-Hill who touched down near the corner flag, his own attempted conversion sliding past the posts.
In the 20th minute the hosts conceded two consecutive penalties resulting in good field position for Esher, sadly the home side transgressed again at a break down to the left of the posts, fly half Michael Wilson making no mistake with the penalty goal to reduce the arrears.
Just 4 minutes later Ampthill extended their lead when multiple phases deep in the visitors 22 created just enough space for flyhalf Joseph Tarrant to break the line, tackled just short he reached out to touch down on the goal line, Clements-Hill adding the extras..
Straight from the kickoff Amps were back on the attack when an Esher turnover on their 22 was moved to the left wing for Thomas James to make an outside break and run the length of the field to score an unconverted try by the left corner flag.
A’s controlled the rest of the half with Clements-Hill converting a 34th minute penalty goal in front of the posts before the pick of tries saw Clements-Hill make an outside break from inside his 22, the ball was recycled on half way, played through the hands to left wing Jonathan Morgan who pace & strength carried him over by the corner flag for an unconverted try leaving the score 20-8 at oranges.
The first 20 minutes of the second half took place almost entirely inside Esher’s 22 where their defence withstood wave after wave of forward attacks from the hosts. In particular their defence of the catch & drive was immaculate with the home side time and again unable to make any ground using the maul.
Having failed to secure the bonus point that would have cemented 3rd place in National 1 it was inevitable that the visitors would score. On 66 minutes they broke out from defence and using quick hands & feet full back Callum Monks touched down for an unconverted try, again wide on the left.
Both sides had opportunities in the remainder of the game but the scorers weren’t troubled further.
Head Coach Paul Turner commented “I was pleased to achieve the double over a strong side but disappointed on the day that we didn’t put them away, we had more than enough ball but their goal line defence was outstanding. If offered a top four finish back in September when stepping up a league I’d of taken it, Everybody involved has contributed to moving Ampthill forward, especially the 50+ players we’ve used this season, all of whom have been a joy to coach.”
Tries:- Clements-Hill (13), Tarrant (24), Morgan (38)
Conversions:- Clements-Hill (24)
Penalties:- Clements-Hill (34)
Tries:- James (28), Monks (66)
Penalties:- Wilson (20)
Half Time:- 20-8
Referee:- Philip Davies
Star Man:- Kevin Barrett