Tactical Ampthill Overcome Elements And Rosslyn Park
Ampthill welcomed Rosslyn Park to Dillingham Park on a grey, overcast afternoon with a howling southerly gale blowing in favour of the visitors in the first half.
Amps squad saw Aleki Lutui start at hooker with Matthew Collins at tighthead, Benjamin Gulliver returned from suspension at lock and Darrell Dyer moved from wing to blindside. In the backs Karim Lynch returned from injury at fullback with Elliot Clements-Hill moving to wing while the replacements saw Viliami Ma’asi & Kennet O’Neill rotate to the bench.
The first quarter saw Ampthill unable to escape from their own half with Rosslyn Park camped on or inside the home 22 due to their clinical use of the conditions with kicking from hand. However, Amps defence held firm even if possession won deep in their own half had to be run because kicking against the wind was a waste of time.
Gradually A’s gained field position through the efforts of the pack leading to the only score of the half on 25 minutes when fullback Karim Lynch, back from a 10 week injury layoff after one game with the 1881s was in support to touch down an unconverted try mid way between the post and the corner flag after a perfectly weighted grubber from flyhalf Joseph Tarrant.
The remainder of the period saw was more even with both sides having opportunities without really threatening leaving the score 5-0 at oranges.
Given the assistance provided by the conditions, Park must have been disappointed while Ampthill’s connections were looking forward to a dominant second period. Whatever was said at half time, the roles appeared to be reversed with Amps on the attack and the visitors defending with aggression and organisation.
On 48 minutes Elliot Clements-Hill, having seen a banana shaped conversion miss by miles, struck a fine penalty goal after Rosslyn Park were penalised at a scrum. A’s supporters looked on astonished as another penalty goal attempt was set up from inside his own half in front of the posts. The 58th minute attempt sailed over the posts probably landing in Northamptonshire!
The visitors showed their top two inches was still working by chipping 22 drops into the gale, the ball being blown back inside their 22 made for an easy recovery, however, going to the same well once too often saw Lynch pinch the ball from between to defenders and run unopposed under the posts for a 66th minute try converted by Clements-Hill who was also successful with a further, 72nd minute penalty goal.
Park, to their credit, never gave up and scored a last play of the game consolation try through wing Stephen Hihetah after the home side had been reduced to 14 players by a yellow card.
This was a fine performance by Ampthill playing quality opposition.
Director Of Rugby Mark Lavery commented “One of our best performances in terms of tactics and accuracy, would that we could play with the same control more often”
Ampthill 21 Rosslyn Park 5
Tries:- Lynch (25, 66)
Conversions:- Clements-Hill (67)
Penalty Goals:- Clements-Hill (47, 58, 72)
Try:- Hihetah (80)
Half Time:- Ampthill 5 Rosslyn Park 0
Man of the Match:- Karim Lynch. Ampthill
Referee:- Michael Hudson