5thXV 2016-17 Season Review
After our promotion last year and the East Midlands subsequent re-shuffle of the leagues it was always going to be a tough year. Ampthill’s 5th adult team and basically our social side, found themselves in a league with one 3rd team, seven 2nd teams and two 1st teams. We have however held our own and have finished a respectable 3rd in the table, cleverly avoiding a promotion which is a relief to us older players who keep getting older as each season passes.
Saying we held our own is however a bit of an understatement considering that in our four fixtures against the 1st teams (Kempston and Winslow home and away). We beat both once and lost to both once.
Other notable results include beating Milton Keynes 2nds twice by 52-10 and 43-5 respectively and a 40-0 drubbing of Bletchley 2nd team. These games were particularly gratifying as both these clubs absolutely hammered us in the first ever 5th team games 3 years ago when their teams were topped up by firsts purely on the basis that they were playing a team with Ampthill in their title.
Now the great thing about the 5ths is the blend of youngsters and older more experienced players. There is absolutely no doubt we are a better side when we have Danny and Darren Breeze playing at 9 and 10, but we should never forget that their dad, Kevin, is also there, defying his age on the wing.
Speaking of ‘experienced’ players it has been great to have the regular attendance of Loren Roby and Terry Nelson in the front row, if nothing else it allows me to hook instead of prop and saves my back pain come Sunday morning. In fact the experience of an older pack can never be underestimated. In the aforementioned 43-5 away win to Milton Keynes, our pack totalled 390 years, an average of 47.5 years per person and totally dominated a pack predominantly in their twenties.
We will continue next season to do what the 5ths do best, namely combine the speed of youth with the experience of age to win games of rugby. We will continue to surprise other teams with not just our ability but with the fact that a small town like Ampthill can put out 5 adult teams when many other clubs fail to fulfil 2nd and 3rd fixtures.
As a footnote, we will be requiring sponsors for next season’s kit as we move to the club policy of all teams playing in the same O’Neill’s strip so any volunteers please contact me.