1stXV v Cambridge, Sat Apr 22 2017, National 1, Match Preview
Ampthill welcome local rivals Cambridge to Dillingham Park this Saturday for the last National 1 home game of the season. With the 1881s playing Bishop’s Stortford 2ndXV and a Mini touring party along with a visiting Colts side, a bumper crowd is expected. Please do not park on the grass verges outside the club, there is overflow parking either side of the club in Ampthill Park and Parkside Hall.
Cambridge RUFC was formed in 1923 and was settled in its current ground by the 1950s. In 1993 the Club acquired the lease on its existing three pitches and tbought adjoining land for a further three pitches. Floodlights were added to one of these pitches in 2003 so that evening games might be played and the light available for training was improved beyond recognition.
The club entered the league structure in 1988 and by 1991 was playing in London 3 North East where they remained until for 5 years until promoted to London 2 North. In 1999/2000 the Cambridge were playing in London 1 but were relegated in 2001/02 Season. However, the club’s desire for higher level rugby saw a rebuilt side finish second to London Scottish and win an play-off to win promotion back to London 1 followed by another promotion to National 3 South followed which itself was immediately followed by promotion to National 2 under player-coach, James Shanahan.
In seasons 2006/7 and 2007/8 strong home form saw 9th and 6th place finishes respectively, however the next season saw the club finish 2nd missing out on promotion by just 3 pts.
Mini and Youth Rugby was started at Cambridge in January 1975, the first club in the Eastern Counties to take up this new and exciting challenge. Two recent Club Chairmen and a Club President have come from the ranks of the Mini & Youth parents.
Off the field, 2005 saw a brand new clubhouse rise above the old to accommodate growing support and rising sponsorship; two years on and a 200 seat grandstand was added to the front of the clubhouse to give one of the most attractive rugby venues in the National Leagues.
Cambridge have a played 28, won 8 record in National 1 this season to lie 12th in the table 12 pts clear of the relegation zone. They should not be underestimated however, as they have scored more 4 try bonus points than any team this season other than Hartpury.
Last week Ampthill’s hard fought 19-14 loss away at Plymouth Albion was a titanic forward battle, the visitors could and perhaps should of won a game that was a tremendous advertisement for National 1 rugby.
This week the pack is unchanged from that which started against Plymouth Albion, in the backs Gavin Williams returns at scrum half while the bench sees a debut for Front Row Toby Trinder, dual registered with Northampton Saints and the return of flanker Loti Molitika.