Last Minute Ealing Penalty Goal Secures Win over Ampthill
Ampthill welcomed visitors Ealing for their first ever game against the hosts to the Grange Jaguar Bowl on a dry, bright afternoon with a moderate breeze. The pitch looked a picture when bathed in occasional sunshine while underfoot conditions were excellent.
Ealing’s selection reflected the importance that the cup holders place on the Championship Cup and they began very well, as Amps allowed the kick off to bounce leading to visitors possession and pressure on A’s defence. A few phases later and the visitors eighthman, Kieran Murphy crashed over wide on the left in the 2nd minute, fly half Craig Willis converting.
The home side were under pressure for the next 10 minutes until a penalty was kicked just inside Ealing’s 22 on the left. The lineout was secured in the 17th minute and the ball moved through the backs wide to the right for wing Josh Gillespie to show a fine turn of speed, run outside of the cover and scoring mid-way between the touchline and the post, fly half Sam Costelow’s conversion slid wide.
The game was now very competitive but the hosts were starting to turn the screw making it difficult for Ealing to get out of the 22. Under pressure, the visitors conceded a number of penalties. In the 31st minute Costelow chose a kick at goal which sailed between the posts to make the score 8-7.
The visitors lineout was secure and a 34th minute catch & drive saw them retake the lead through hooker Alun Walker, Willis adding the extras. Neither side could increase their score before the half time whistle came leaving the score 8-14.
While the scrum was secure, Ampthill’s lineout was not with 5 lost on their own put in in the first half, 3 of which were deep inside Ealing’s 22. However, Amps looked dangerous ball in hand but were not finishing opportunities they’d created.
The second half began with the visitors fired up but A’s were matching their intensity. The 52nd minute saw a fine break from Costelow who had great support from hooker Sydney Blackmore who scored under the posts, Costelow converting.
Having controlled territory & possession for the next 15 minutes Ealing went down to 14 players after a yellow card for deliberate knock on in the 67th minute to wing Peter Lydon.
The hosts extended their lead on 69 minutes after the resulting penalty was kicked inside the visitors 22. Although the maul was defended well a series of red zone phases followed with replacement prop Aleki Lutui eventually crashing over, Costelow’s conversion extending the lead to 22-14.
Ealing responded aggressively closing the gap with a 72nd minute try through replacement scrum half Jordan Burns converted by Willis.
With their tails up the visitors pressed for another score finally being awarded a 78th minute penalty which Willis made look easy to retake the lead in the game 22-24.
The home side were unable to recover the ball in the remaining 60 seconds or so resulting in a narrow win for Ealing.
This was a much better performance from Ampthill, had they taken any one of a number of chances squandered in the first half the game might of had a different result but in the end, the visitors deserved their 4pts.
Ampthill Head Coach Paul Turner commented “The boys turned up today, I’m really proud of the effort & commitment displayed, it was disappointing to have the game taken away at the death. We showed today that we can compete with the best sides in the division. Now we face a tough few weeks with two games against Bedford, one on Boxing Day.”
Ealing Coach Ben Ward commented “Frankly, we were lucky to get away with the win, we have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous in two weeks. Despite Ampthill being the better side for much of the game we stuck at it and managed to sneak the points at the end. This was our first visit to Ampthill and we’ve enjoyed the hospitality.”
Half time:- Ampthill 8 Jersey 14
Referee:- Harry Walbaum
Man of the Match:- Sam Costelow, Ampthill
Tries: Gillespie (14), Blackmore (52), Lutui (69)
Cons: Costelow (53, 70)
Pens: Costelow (31)
Tries: Murphy (2), Walker (34), Burns (72)
Cons: Willis (10, 35, 73)
Pens: Willis (78)
Lineouts Won 5 6
Lineouts Lost 6 2
Scrums Won 6 3
Scrums Lost 2 0
Penalties Conceded 8 11
Yellow Cards 0 1
Bordoli 7 (Lynch 52, 7), Gillespie 7, Sage 7, Grimoldby 7 (Hanks 73), Baker 7, Costelow 8, Veenendaal 7 (FukoFuka 60, 7), Tonga’huiha 7 (Schroder 58, 7), Blackmore 7 (Ward 55, 7), Pupuma 7 (Lutui 52, 7), Burgess 7, Williams 7, Langley 7 (Johnson 58, 7), Dominguez 7 (Ward 40, 7), Hudson 7
Bell 7 (Lydon 58, 7), Niko 7, Johnston 7, Sloan 7, Joseph 7, Willis 7, Fowles 7 (Burns 58, 8), Els 7 (Ellwood 71), Walker 7 (Cornish 60, 7), Millar-Mills 7 (Davis 40, 7), Dickinson 7 (Casson 54, 7), Cannon 7 (West 54, 7), Buckley 7 (Smid 54, 7), Robinson 7, Murphy 7