1stXV (20) Given Comprehensive Second Half Lesson By Nottingham (44)
Ampthill were given a tough introduction to the Championship by a physical and clinical Nottingham side, trailing 13-17 with a minute to half time Amps conceded 3 more tries in the remainder of the game with the visitors dominating territory & possession.
Despite persistent overnight & morning rain the pitch looked perfect for running rugby as conditions remained dry while the absence of wind aided kicking from hand.
Almost as soon as the game began both sides had to replace injured players with Ampthill’s wing Kwaku Asiedu who scored 2 tries against Bedford the previous week forced to leave the field on 7 minutes. Replacement Sam Hanks came on at inside centre with Jarryd Sage moving outside him, full back Karim Lynch to the wing and Argentine centre Serafin Bordoli to full back.
On 8 minutes when following up a clearance kick Lynch was adjudged to have dangerously impeded the Nottingham receiver and was given a 10 minute rest in the bin as a result. This was the start of a very poor disciplinary display by Amps, the squad and the players concerned need to learn that playing a man down against well drilled Championship sides for over half the game is not going to bring success.
Further disruption for A’s followed in the 15 minute when Bordoli also left the field with an ankle injury. His replacement, Josh Sharp, moved to fly half with Louis Grimoldby moving to full back.
Two major back line reconstructions in the first quarter of the game were not helpful to the hosts cause!
On 18 minutes Ampthill infringed at a breakdown and the resulting penalty goal was well struck by Nottingham fly half Thomas Mathews. Immediately from the kickoff the visitors were likewise penalised, Grimoldby making no mistake from the tee in the 19th minute.
Deep in their own half on 21 minutes the home side were awarded a free kick from a Nottingham scrum infringement. Unfortunately Grimoldby started his run up, suffered a bit of brain fade and allowed himself to be charged down. Nottingham’s subsequent line out catch & drive was followed by multiple phases leading to a try credited to hooker Luke Cole, converted by Mathews.
The 25 minute saw Ampthill lock Shay Kerry off for an HIA, replaced by Jon Kpoku.On 27 minutes a kick tennis exchange ended with an excellent punt from the visitors forcing Amps wing Sam Baker carry into touch on his own 5m line. Nottingham’s line out catch & drive was held up but multiple phases ensued and poor A’s defence led to a visitors try from close range by lock Llewelyn Jones with Mathews adding the extras.
The hosts responded with their best period of play so far, keeping possession inside the Nottingham half. Another breakdown infringement in the 31st minute by the visitors saw Grimoldby successful with the resulting penalty kick.
The home side continued in similar vein pressurising the visitors ball carriers into a mistake, Hanks took advantage intercepting a loose pass running 40m to score wide on the left, Grimoldby’s touchline conversion was greeted with a loud cheer and left the score 13-17 after 38 minutes.
Unfortunately, what has now seemingly become a ‘just before half time trait’ struck again with Ampthill unable to clear their line from the restart leading to a breakdown penalty with the tackler not rolling away. Nottingham’s penalty was kicked deep inside Amps 22. Poor discipline from the resulting line out catch & drive saw Kerry receive yellow card for changing his bind leaving A’s a man short again.
Nottingham were ruthless, another kick to the corner followed by a line out catch & drive which resulted in a try by converted by Mathews.
That left the score 13-24 at oranges which was a fair reflection of the superiority of a well drilled and skilful Nottingham side.
The hosts started the second half still down a man but managed to keep Nottingham at bay until Kerry’s return restored the home side to a full compliment on 48 minutes.
The 49th minute saw Ampthill rightly penalised for going off side with Mathews, whose goal kicking was immaculate, successful with the penalty goal. Just 1 minute later another poor show of discipline saw Amps interfere at a break down and Mathews extend the lead further with another penalty goal.
On 51 minutes A’s 3rd yellow card of the day was awarded for a deliberate knock by flanker Joe Bercis who had previously been penalised for the same offence.
On sixty minutes with Nottingham in the middle third of the field a lovely grubber kick gathered by their left wing took the game away from the hosts leaving the score 13-37.
The home side raised their game leading to Kpoku (dual registered with Saracens) forceing his way over the line from close range on 63 minutes, Grimoldby adding the extras.
What happened in the remaining 17 minutes concluded an undisciplined, poor defensive display from Ampthill.
On 71 minutes Kerry earnt a second yellow card which, of course, became red. The result was Nottingham camped in Amps half battering away at a tiring defence.
Despite the fatigue, A’s defence was holding strong and a couple of turnovers gave them the chance to their lines but they continued to attempt to break out of the 22 finally gifting the visitors a try which was converted with the last kick of the game leaving the score at no side20-44.
Yorkshire Carnegie visit next Saturday, there’s a real need for all involved to learn their lessons before they arrive.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments “For 39 minutes of the first half we were OK, the gifted try just before half time was a blow but it was the second half where we played in all the wrong areas and showed very poor discipline that was most disappointing. We played for more than 45 minutes with 14 men against an efficient, well drilled championship side and got what we deserved.”
Head Coach Paul Turner commented “I’m disappointed that despite a good week spent preparing for Nottingham we sat back and watched them execute our game plan. There were too many individual errors which were punished by Nottingham”
Tries: Hanks (37) Kpoku (63)
Cons: Grimoldby (38, 64)
Pens: Grimoldby (19, 32)
Tries: Cole (23), Jones (28), Connoly (39), Foley (60), Strong (79)
Cons: Mathews (24, 29, 40, 61, 80)
Pens: Mathews (18, 48, 50)
Lynch, Asiedu (Hanks 7), Bordoli (Sharp 15), Sage , Baker , Grimoldby , Veenendaal, Tongauiha (Christie 52), Ward, Lutui (Collins 63), Willams H (Kpoku 46), Kerry, Johnson (Dominguez 64), Bercis, Molitika (Blackmore 52), Sharp (Williams G 61)
Scanlon , Williams (Bungaroo 56), Strong, Peters, Foley, Mathews, Mcconnell (Dolly 60), Sio (Jack 62), Cole (Farnworth 56), Heffernan (Betts 58), Jones (Jordan 56), Holmes, Connolly, Owen, Poullett (Lewis 7), Stephenson