1stXV v Hull Ionians, Sat Dec 16, Match Preview
Ampthill welcome Hull Ionians to Dillingham Park this Saturday for another chapter in the recent rivalry between the two clubs.
Hull Ionians was formed in 1989 by the merger of Hull and East Riding with Ionians. Hull & East Riding were formed 1901 while Ionians formation was a little later, in 1926. H&ER played at a variety of locations before a merger in the early ’70s with Hull Spartans and an eventual move to the Circle. H&ER were one of Yorkshire’s leading teams providing many players to the County side. The advent of leagues in 1987 found H&ER playing in North 1.
Ionians had chosen a different path, one which saw them own their ground, Elloughton Road, and clubhouse with a thriving mini & youth system and a tradition of developing excellent players who went on to play at higher levels for other clubs. In 1987 Ionians 1stXV were playing in Yorkshire 3, some 6 levels below H&ER.
By 1994 Hull Ionians had negotiated the sale of the Elloughton ground for development for housing. The arrangement with the developer saw them acquire a new ground literally adjacent to the old one and construct a superb clubhouse facility known as Brantingham Park.
Hull Ionians were promoted to National 3 North (now National 2 North) in 2002, relegated the following season and promoted again in 2005. In 2013 the cycle was repeated as they were promoted to National 1 only to be immediately relegated and promoted again.
Ionians lie 12th in the National 1 table with a played 13 won 4 record. Having lost 5 consecutive games at the start of the season they have recently shown much improved form winning four of their last eight games.
Ampthill went down to their worst ever defeat in National 1 last week away at Coventry losing 63-14 to the undefeated league leaders.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments “It’s safe to say we have had a challenging week and if we are honest we didn’t see last weekends result coming but we got precisely what we deserved.
We spent 45 minutes chasing a loosing bonus point and started playing in a way that we have never practiced or done for the last eight seasons and then we wondered why we embarrassed ourselves.
The players know we don’t stand for that and that’s why we have had to freshen things up this week.
Hull I s are improving rapidly and actually it’s the one fixture in the season that it doesn’t matter where either club is in the league it’s always a really tough game after our rivalry in Nat 2 North four seasons ago were Ionians pipped us to the title.
We need a response from the playing group and I’m hopeful we will get one”