Ampthill v Bishop’s Stortford, Sat Feb 16, 2019, 14:15, National 1, Match Preview
The 1stXV welcomes Bishop’s Stortford to Dillingham Park this Saturday for another local derby.
Bishop’s Stortford was formed in 1920, playing its first matches at Dunmow Road before moving to the present location at Silver Leys in 1928. The current Clubhouse was re-opened in 1985 when an international select XV took on the First XV – and lost, although the score is lost in the folklore of the Club, where individual “wins” over current internationals never fade into the dark!
The club 1stXV adjusted quickly to League rugby, winning promotion into London Two North in the very first season in 1987. After a 15 year consolidation, promotion to London One (level 5) was finally won in 2003.
After another consolidation, this time only 10 years, promotion to National 2 South was achieved in 2013 in front of a crowd of 1500.
After just 4 seasons at level 4 promotion to National One was achieved at the end of 2017.
The Blues or 2nd XV compete in the Zoo Shield Divison 1 league & a the Hertfordshire County Cup. The 1stXV last won the cup in 2008 and the Blues repeated that success in 2013, 2016 & 2017.
The Thirds also participate in the Zoo leagues (Division 3) whilst the Fourths & Fifths participate in the Herts Middlesex Merit Tables.
The Colts team, who usually play on a Sunday, have been regular winners of the Hertfordshire County Colts Cup, most recently in 2013/14 and County Colts Sevens Cup. They also compete in the National Colts Competition, which they won in 2012/13.
The Mini and Youth Sections continue to thrive, thanks to the commitment of many parent coaches and the determination of the Club to provide all possible support, particularly in the training of coaches. we currently have in the region of 600 children enjoying their rugby education at Stortford.
Storford have a played 21 won 8 record to lie 11th in the National 1 table but they are the form team in the league having won their last 5 games on the trot including last weeks demolition of Plymouth Albion.
Our 1stXV secured a bonus point victory 20-26 on the road at Caldy last week with a performance of two halves, leading 3-21 at half time they conceded 17 unanswered points in the second half only to secure the win and bonus point with a last move of the game try.
There are a number of changes to the 1stXV squad, the forwards see hooker Syd Blackmore & prop Matt Collins rotate from the bench while Sam Hudson starts at blindside flanker. The backs see Gavin Williams rotate from the bench while Ollie Morris returns at centre. The bench sees hooker Ollie Walliker & prop Karl Garside rotate while Euan McKirdy & Ciaran Whyte cover scrum half and outside backs respectively.
Head Coach Paul Turner comments “After a good 50 mins last week we conspired to nearly lose the game at Cinderford through a combination of our own unusual calls and a great fight back from the hosts.
If we don’t apply ourselves for 80 mins against the form team in the division Bishop Stortford, who are fresh off a complete mauling of Plymouth Albion last week, we will find ourselves in trouble.”