Oundle had the better of the territory of the first ten minutes, and kept Ampthill pegged in their own half, but it was not long before the first real chance came Ampthill’s way when Richardson won the foot race for a grubber kick through the Oundle defence, but knocked on trying to put the ball over the line. The return of Big Phil and Big Tom to the pack added the weight of three average sized forwards, and this told at the scrum where Ampthill dominated. The play ebbed and flowed for the remainder of the half, with determined defence on both sides. As the half drew to a close, after Ampthill had been occupying Oundles 22 for phase after phase with no result, they were awarded a penalty and elected to kick for the points, which Lavery slotted for a slim 3-0 lead.
5 minutes into the second half Ampthill were again awarded a penalty in front of the posts and Lavery extended the lead to 6-0. Oundle fought back hard, and Ampthill had to rack up the tackle count to keep them at bay. Lavery missed an ambitious 40m penalty attempt, but Ampthill soon after crossed the line for the first time with Clarke taking the ball at pace to break through. The conversion was missed and the game still in the balance at 11-0. The try however seemed to galvanise Ampthill, and sustained pressure gave Big Phil the chance for an unstoppable 5 metre sprint for the second score within 5 minutes, and although the conversion was again missed, 16-0 gave Ampthill room to breathe. At the death Clarke again took the ball at pace and took the defender with him over the line for his second of the day. A simple conversion and at 23-0 a good win was in the bag.
Qualification for the National Cup secured, Ampthill can look forward to some very tough matches over the coming weeks, but as they say – you’ve got to be in it to win it!