The Jets 2 year unbeaten competitive record fell after a thrilling defeat in their first-ever Zoo League 2 match. Somehow we saw a 26-0 lead gradually slip away as Irish fought back and took the game to an exciting finale. All free to watch as well, what a bargain afternoon in the sun.
Irish arrived in good time via coach but started the game as if they were still sat on it! An early turnover by coach Jonny Cresswell fed captain Eric Edwin who carried and offloaded to full back Will Norford (shirt sponsored by Castle Lane Garage) who scored and then converted his own try. The second try was also by Norford after a dominant scrum gave Ampthill backs the ball and good hands saw Norford go over. His conversion attempt hitting the post.
The backs were having fun in the sun and two more converted tries followed, firstly by centre Paul Mason (shirt sponsored by RD Designs) and then fly-half Colin Liddell (shirt sponsored by Laser SWAT) and unbelievably Jets had a 26 nil lead. Could it last? Erm No!
The Jets efforts came at a cost losing winger Connor Barry to a dislocated shoulder and then captain Eric to a pulled hamstring. With only one back on the bench this meant that replacement lock Josh Burton had to play on the wing. Irish launched a fightback with 4 tries of their own and early in the second half, the Jets found themselves drawing 26 all.
Much to the disgust of the home crowd, Irish took a penalty kick at goal and went into the lead for the first time. Many sides having given away a 26 point lead and seen two key players off injured would have capitulated but not this Jets team. A rare George Adamson (shirt sponsored by Beaumont Ltd) try restored Ampthill’s lead at 31-29. Irish came back with a try of their own and 34-31 lead. With only 5 minutes to go, Ampthill thought they had won it with a Josh Burton try only to be crucially defeated when the cool-headed Irish kicker slotted over another penalty. Two minutes remained and Ampthill pressed for the winning score but it wasn’t to be.
Congratulations must go to London Irish on a remarkable comeback and good game management. Bringing on a lad who looked like Jason Robinson’s quicker brother helped!
The Jets can take pride in a dominant scrum and lineout plus the electric start by the backs and we will learn from our mistakes today and move forward. Down but not out. My apologies to the boys for the physio confusion – we will sort it out. Thanks to Jez Proctor for covering and coming on for a cameo run out in the back row. We know we can be competitive in this league and we also know we now have the best hats!
My man of the match was Ampthill scrum-half Isaac Jabri, busy as ever and towards the end seemed to be everywhere in defense. Rest week next weekend ( much needed) before we go again at home against Richmond Normans on Saturday 21st, when Ampthill also see the first cup game for their Championship squad.