1stXV Host Cambridge In Local Derby
Ampthill welcome Cambridge to Dillingham Park this Saturday for our first home local derby of the season. The 60 minute journey, the second shortest of our rivals, typically results in a large crop of enthusiastic visiting supporters.
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 bought 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 5, won 2, drawn 1 record in National 1 this season to lie 8th in the table just 3 places and 3pts behind Ampthill. Their recent form is impressive beating Plymouth Albion 32-28 last week.
Ampthill secured a try bonus point win at home 33-22 to Blackheath last week producing an excellent second half in which the visitors were outscored 19-5.
The squad this week sees two changes to the starting line up, lock Jon Ipoku* makes his league debut and scrum half George De Cothi comes in for Kevin Barrett while the bench sees three changes. First, former Ampthill mini & youth player and England youth international Samson Ma’asi^, son of Vili, much loved founder member of our Tongan resident community and former Ampthill 1stXV captain, makes his debut at hooker. Also making their debuts are back row Shaun Reffell and outside back Elliott Obatoyinbo.
* = dual registered with Saracens, ^ dual registered with Northampton Saints
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments “Cambridge did a job on the A’s last year winning both home and away fixtures and are in a rich run of form after beating Plymouth Albion last weekend at Volac Park.
We welcome back a number of former Ampthill players who are now plying their trade in Cambridge with Lawrence Rayner, Kieran Duffin, Henry Peck & Jake McCloud all turning out for Cambridge this weekend.”