Ampthill Secure First Ever Win & Points In The Championship
Yorkshire Carnegie arrived at Dillingham Park on a dry, bright day with a gentle northerly breeze to find perfect playing conditions.
Ampthill made 7 changes from the squad that lost against Nottingham, up front Jon Kpoku (lock, DR with Saracens) & Argentine Facundo Dominguez (No. 8) rotate to the starting lineup. In the backs, DR with Saints Josh Gillespie (Wing) made his debut while Kevin Barrett came in at scrum half. On the bench Maama Molitika rotates, Will Alman comes in covering the back row, Darryl Veenendahl rotates, Mickey Waters comes in covering fly half and full back while Reuben Bird-Tulloch, DR with Saints provides backs cover.
The hosts secured their first win and points of their Championship challenge with an 8 try win.
The initial exchanges were frantic with both sides crossing the gain line seemingly at will. On 4 minutes, Amps infringed at a breakdown in front of the posts allowing Carnegie’s fly half Joe Ford to opening the scoring with a simple penalty goal. Almost straight from the kick off the visitors, in turn, returned the compliment allowing A’s fly half Louis Grimoldby to equalise the scores in the 6th minute.
There wasn’t much obvious structure to be witnessed as the ball moved from end to end with both sides defence unable to cope.
The 18th minute saw lock Jon Kpoku break a couple of tackles inside the 5m line to touch down, Grimoldby adding the extras.
Just 2 minutes later Yorkshire Carnegie centre Daniel Lancaster (son of Stuart) finished a fine backs move wide on the left, Ford’s conversion shaving the wrong side of the posts.
The hosts responded from the kick off but a loose pass on half way was intercepted by Carnegie wing Tom Varndell in mid-field who ran untouched under the posts to score, Ford’s conversion bisecting the posts.
With the visitors leading 10-15 the home side needed a response and it came from wing Sam Baker who scored twice in the space of 6 minutes. First, a line break and good inter passing in the 26th minute saw him free wide on the left, the cover unable to reach him to prevent the try. Grimoldby was successful with the touchline conversion. Then, Carnegie failed to deal with the restart and Baker again scampered down the left, this time Grimoldby’s conversion drifted wide of the posts.
On 38 minutes, after a series of phases inside Carnegie’s 22 prop Aleki Lutui received short pass from scrum half Kevin Barrett at pace, carrying 2 defenders over the line he scored only for Grimoldby to pull what looked a relatively easy kick wide leaving the score 27-15 at oranges. Ampthill’s first half bonus point being their first ever points at level 2.
Despite the lead, Amps connections would not have felt comfortable as the open game gave the visitors chances they were threatening to take.
Sure enough the 45th minute saw Carnegie produce a fine attack which employed backs & forwards seemlessly working together resulting in scrum half James Elliott touching down to the left of the posts, Ford converting.
With the gap now just 5 points A’s needed to raise their game as the momentum was with the visitors.
Grimoldby, whose kicking from hand was excellent when he tried it, sent the ball deep into Carnegie’s 22 in the 47th minute. The ensuing visiting line out was overthrown allowing hooker Dave Ward to crash over wide on the right, Grimoldby’s conversion again sliding by.
The next 20 minutes passed with both sides attacking in turn but the defences were holding firm. With 10 minutes to full time the hosts were camped deep in Carnegie’s 22. Eventually the ball came to Kpoku on the 5m line who crashed through 2 defenders to score under the posts, replacement fly half Mickey Waters successful with the conversion.
The visitors now began to throw the ball around in search of a 4 try bonus point leaving more space.
On 74 minutes replacement prop Matt Collins crashed over to the left of the posts after more concerted pressure inside the visitors 22, Waters adding the extras.
Then, in the 78th minute, Waters gave a shoulder pass in mid-field to wing Baker who broke the line. As he approached the last defender he found in support wing Josh Gillespie who scampered untouched under the posts, Waters adding the final points of the game.
A better performance by Ampthill particularly in the second half. Yorkshire Carnegie’s heads never dropped, continuing to attack right to end but they rarely threatened during the last half hour.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments “Very pleased to secure a bonus point victory in what is obviously a key game despite not playing well in the first half. The whole squad will be made aware, if they’re not already, that there is a great deal of work to be done if we’re to compete in this league.”
Head Coach Paul Turner comments “I’m pleased that we demonstrated an attacking mind set throughout the game but I’m disappointed that, again, we failed to follow the plan, particularly in the first half. It was a better performance but there were still too many individual errors.”
15. Lynch, 14. Gillespie*, 13. Sage, 12. Hanks, 11. Baker, 10. Grimoldby, 9. Barrett, 1. Tonga’huiha, 2. Ward (c), 3. Lutui, 4. Kpoku*, 5. Kerry, 6. Johnson, 7. Bercis, 8. Dominguez, 16. Blackmore, 17. Collins, 18. Christie*, 19. Molitika, 20. Allman, 21. Veenendaal, 22. Waters, 23. Bird-Tulloch*
* = dual registered
15. Bitirim, 14. Shaw, 13. Carlisle, 12. Lancaster, 11. Varndell, 10. Ford (cc), 9. Elliott, 1. Flynn, 2. Bn Sowrey (cc), 3. Smith, 4. Brady, 5. Humfrey, 6. Smith, 7. Lavin, 8. Graham, 16. Musseti, 17. Reid, 18. Davidson, 19. Lloyd, 20. James Seabrook, 21. Bustin
Tries:- Kpoku (18, 70), Baker (26, 32), Lutui (38), Ward (47), Collins (74), Gillespie (78)
Conversions:- Grimoldby (19, 27), Waters (71, 75, 79)
Penalty Goals:- Grimoldby (6)
Tries:- Lancaster (20), Varndell (24), Elliott (45)
Conversions:- Ford (25, 46)
Penalty Goals:- Ford (4)
Half Time:- Ampthill 27 Yorkshire Carnegie 15
Referee:- Mr Michael Hudson
Man of the Match:- Kevin Barrett, Ampthill
Scrums Won 4 5
Scrums Lost 1 1
Lineouts Won 2 3
Lineouts Lost 2 2
Penalties Against 5 11
Sin Bin 0 0