1stXV 31 Hull Ionians 11, Sat Mar 25, 2017
Ampthill welcomed Hull Ionians to Dillingham Park on a glorious spring afternoon with wall to wall sunshine and an easterly breeze. Amps squad saw a number of changes, up front Joe Bercis returned from injury with Will Allman moving to blindside. In the backs Kevin Barrett, Pete Weightman and Elliot Reeder returned at scrum half, wing and outside centre respectively. The bench saw Loti Molitika & Sam Hanks rotate and the return of England U20 Grand Slam winning scrum half Alex Mitchell.
A’s began well using their short game to put pressure on the visitor’s defence resulting in the 9th minute with a trademark catch & drive try touched down by hooker Aleki Lutui, fly half Joe Tarrant’s conversion sliding past the posts from wide on the right.
More home pressure failed to produce scores as handling errors & infringements combined with uncompromising defence from Ionians left the scoreboard untroubled until the 20th minute when another penalty against Hull, kick to the corner, lineout, and catch & drive saw a penalty try awarded with Tarrant adding the extras.
The visitor’s began to come back into the game and with the hosts still turning the ball over regularly play moved to the home half. Having chosen to kick for the corner from a previous infringement Ionians scrum half Isaac Green made no mistake with a 26th penalty goal from in front of the posts.
On 36 minutes Ampthill extended their lead with an unconverted try from wing Karim Lynch only to string errors together gifting field position to Hull who took advantage with a 40th minute try through hooker Alex Forth who dived over from close range after a driving maul was held up, Green adding the conversion to leave the score 17-11 at oranges.
The second half belonged to the hosts who added tries from replacement flanker Loti Molitika (57) and scrum half moved to wing Kevin Barrett (63), full back moved to fly half Stef Jones converting both as Tarrant had left the game injured on 33 minutes.
The last minutes of the game saw a France-Wales rivaling goal line stand as 9 consecutive scrums were repelled by desperate home defence, the parralel even including the return of Ampthill’s starting front row.
A bonus point win secured by Amps despite making far too many errors while Ionians pressure immediately after half time might have changed the game had they scored.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery commented “Following last week’s poor performance at Coventry we reset and tried some new things, some worked. Selection for next week has been made more difficult as a result.”
Tries:- Lutui (9), Penalty Try (19), Lynch (36), Molitika L (57), Barrett (63)
Conversions:- Tarrant (20), Jones (58, 64)
Tries:- Forth (40)
Conversions:- Green (45)
Penalty:- Green (26)
Half Time:- Ampthill 17 Hull Ionians 11
Man of the Match:- Will Allman
Referee:- Gareth Holsgrove
Next week A’s travel to Newcastle to face Hull’s relegation rivals Blaydon.