Ampthill 43 Loughborough Students 34, Sat Sep 01, 2018, National 1
Ampthill welcomed Loughborough to Olney Field on a dry & sunny afternoon with the pitch reflecting the dry summer. Amps first squad of the new season saw league debuts for headline signing Soane Tonga’uiha, Ciaran Whyte, Olly Morris, Will Foster, Olly Walliker and Euan McKirdy. Unfortunately lock Josh Walker picked up an injury in the warm up so the hosts went with just 4 replacements.
The first 15 minutes saw optional defence as both sides conceded 2 tries, A’s full back James Pritchard making the difference with 2 conversions leaving the score 14-10.
On 21 minutes the home side’s Captain Billy Johnson received a straight red card for foul play after intervention from the referee’s assistant.
Despite the host’s connections fearing the worst this was the signal for Ampthill’s 14 remaining players to raise their game, denying the visitors any ball and extend their lead with a converted try and a penalty goal to leave the score 24-10 at oranges.
The second half saw Amps produce an exhilerating first quarter with backs and forwards combining to take the game away from the visitors with a further 3 tries (2 converted).
Leading 43-10 and with Loughborough requiring 5 scores the game seemed over but a combination of A’s taking their foot off the throttle and the visitors fine forward play in which their maul was outstanding produced 4 tries (2 converted) in the last quarter to see the hosts run out 43-34 winners.
Ampthill Head Coach Paul Turner commented “A strange game in which I felt we were always in control although the sending off didn’t help. The 14 players on the pitch for 60 minutes applied themselves very well and at 43-10 the game was won. But credit to Loughborough for their late burst. Many good things for us while the new players debuts bode well for the future.”
Tries:- Lutui (4, 34, 44), Tonga’uiha (10), Baker (48), Allman (53)
Conversions:- Pritchard (5, 11, 36, 49, 54)
Penalty:- Pritchard (40)
Tries:- Brown (7), Flament (16, 80), Tait (58), Reed (66), Hill (78),
Conversions:- Reed (79, 80)
Half Time:- Ampthill 24 Loughborough 10
Man of the Match:- Aleki Lutui, Ampthill
Referee:- Dan Parrott
Attendance :- 328