1stXV 43 Old Albanian 19, Sat Dec 17, 2016, National 1
Ampthill welcomed Old Albanian to Dillingham Park on an intially bright but soon overcast, chilly afternoon with a slight breeze. For the first time this season Amps pack was unchanged with Gavin Williams starting at scrum half, scrum half Ben Calder returning to the bench and Jonny Morgan making his first squad appearance of the season as outside backs replacement.
A’s pack was dominant in the set piece with both scrum and driving maul proving too much for the visitors whose backs caused the home defence numerous problems, particularly in the second half. Much of the first half was played deep inside Albanian territory with the hosts contriving to turn the ball over on a number of occasions to miss out on scoring opportunities.
The hosts took the lead on 10 minutes with a simple penalty goal from fly half Joe Tarrant and extended the lead 3 minutes later with a try from centre Will Goodge who crashed over from short range after a series of red zone phases.
The home side was soon back pressurising the visitors defence only for a turnover on their 22 to result in an unconverted try for Old Albanian openside Nicholas Stevens in the 16th minute who was in support after a fine backs length of the field move.
Ampthill’s pack began to turn the screw scoring two more tries through blindside Loti Molitika on 26 minutes and tight head Matt Collins on 40 minutes, Tarrant adding the extras for both leaving the score 22-5 at oranges.
The second half began with Albanian upping their tempo and running the ball from everywhere. On 45 minutes a kick through into the home in goal area saw two players contending for the ball which went out of play. On advice from his assistant the referee awarded a penalty try against Amps and a yellow card to wing Sam Baker.
The visitors tails were up and A’s a man down for 10 minutes but the home side lifted their game and prevented any score during the penalty period. Restored to a full complement the hosts threatened and after more set piece penalties were awarded a penalty try on 60 minutes when yet another red zone scrummage was unlawfully stopped, Tarrant converting.
Old Albanian came back again with another converted try on 67 minutes for scrum half Morgan Thompson who took advantage of a quick tap deep in hosts territory.
Ampthill took the game out of reach in the last 10 minutes with 2 tries from lineout catch & drives, the first a penalty try and the second a first score at this level for replacement hooker Ben Wilkinson whose perfect throw was matched by the maul ‘sprinting’ for the line.
Amps were in control up front from start to finish and should have had the bonus point in the first half, Albanian’s dangerous backs were simply starved of good ball.
Head Coach Paul Turner commented “A frustrating afternoon with our set piece dominance not seeing the reward from the officials that it might, our pack were outstanding with Tongans Maama & brother Loti Molitika and Aleki Lutui the standing outs. A bonus point and 6th consecutive win is a great way to end the year.”
Tries:- Goodge (13), Molitika L (26), Collins (40), Penalty Try (60, 70), Wilkinson (79)
Conversions:- Tarrant (27, 40, 61, 71, 80)
Penalty Goals:- Tarrant (10)
Tries:- Stevens (16), Penalty Try (45), Thompson (67)
Conversions:- Stevens (46, 68)
Half Time:- Ampthill 22 Broadstreet 5
Man of the Match:- Maama Molitika
Referee:- Anthony Woodthorpe