1stXV 36 Macclesfield 10, Sat Jan 28, 2017
Ampthill welcomed Macclesfield for their first ever visit to Dillingham Park on a bright and breezy afternoon with perfect playing conditions. There were multiple changes to the squad, en avant lock Karl Braband made his first start of the season after impressing from the bench at Moseley, au derriere scrum half Alex Mitchell & full back Karim Kynch returned to the starting line up with Stef Jones moving to inside centre. Les remplacements saw Ben Wilkinson (hooker) return while Josh Walker (lock), Gavin Williams (scrum half) and Will Goodge (centre) rotated.
Even though it was a home game! Ampthill appeared to be stuck on the bus as Macclesfield dominated the opening stages missing a 2nd minute kickable penalty goal before taking the lead with an unconverted try through Captain & eighthman Ryan Parkinson.
At first Amps response lacked composure & accuracy while the disjointed display could have easily seen them fall further behind. Gradually A’s forwards began to get some control in midfield but it took until the 27th minute for Mitchell to snipe an unconverted try from close range after multiple phases in the red zone. The visitors deserved their matching scoreline with a performance that defied their league table position.
More pressure in the last 10 minutes of the half brought a converted try for Lynch who went over near the corner flag after the backs had moved the ball from left to right. Fly half Joseph Tarrant adding the extras from near the touchline, a much harder kick than than his first effort, leaving the score 12-5 at oranges,The second half team talk must have been interesting since the hosts came out all guns blazing scoring 2 converted tries in the space of 6 minutes. First flanker Joseph Bercis scored a fine individual try beating 3 defenders from the 22 while the 47th minute saw Braband take the the try of the game scoring pass after great work from backs & forwards had split the visitors defence twice.
Lock Paino Hehea scored twice in the 61st & 66th minutes after more red zone pressure which left the score 36-5. Seemingly, the home side must have thought their day was done as Macclesfield dominated the remainder of the game with more fluent, controlled support play scoring a 74th minute unconverted try through wing Lewis Winterbottom and threatening to add to their tally right to the final whistle.
Ampthill, knocked out of their stride in the first quarter by the visitors, never really hit the heights while Macclesfield impressed to the end.
Head Coach Paul Turner commented “A difficult game made more so by our lack of composure at key moments. Macclesfield play in a style and manner which deserves National 1 rugby, both home & away they have caused us more problems than many sides above them in the league. Now our attention turns to Blackheath away next week, the next fortnight will define our season.”
Tries:- Mitchell (27), Lynch (35), Bercis (41), Braband (47), Hehea (61, 66)
Conversions:- Tarrant (36, 42, 48)
Tries:- Parkinson (8), Winterbottom (74)
Half Time:- Ampthill 12 Macclesfield 5
Man of the Match:- Joe Bercis
Referee:- Thomas Davis