Ampthill U13’s (31) v (25) Northampton Old Scouts
A match that kept everybody entertained until the last minute eventually saw Ampthill U13’s claim the East Midlands cup after beating Northampton Old Scouts in a well contested final played at Peterborough RFC.
The path to the final hadn’t been easy with Ampthill seeing off many of the top teams in the region in previous rounds including Old Northamptonians, Bedford and a close run semi final against Olney. Old Scouts saw this as their opportunity to spoil the Ampthill party.
An early kick off meant an early start as the team made their way up the A1 to Peterborough (the last minute neutral venue decided by East Midlands rugby due to waterlogged pitches in Northampton). The game kicked off with Old Scouts on the front foot and plenty of pressure in the Ampthill 22 but dogged defensive work kept the scores equal. Old Scouts then decided the best form of attack was a kick over the top which Ampthill were grateful for, they gathered and successfully returned with interest scoring the first try of the game which was duly converted. It was noticeable that Old Scouts did not repeat this tactic for the rest of the game.
This gave the Ampthill boys a bit of confidence and they started to control the game in the Old Scouts half and not long later scored their second try which was again converted. At 14-0 up Ampthill started to concede territory and also a string of penalties which allowed Old Scouts plenty of possession and belief and they started to build some good solid phases together resulting in moving the ball through many pairs of hands to score their first try, not converted. Not long later and in their own 22 having worked hard to win the ball at the breakdown a speculative pass by Ampthill was intercepted allowing Old Scouts their second try of the game which again they failed to convert. The half time whistle duly followed.
Half time – Ampthill (14) v (10) Northampton Old Scouts
The second half started much as the first finished with Old Scouts on top. The penalty count was starting to really hurt Ampthill with the referee’s interpretation that the boys were continually infringing at the breakdown and being offside. Old Scouts were happy to take quick penalties with Ampthill slow to re-set themselves resulting in constant pressure and defensive duties by Ampthill very much needed. Eventually the referee had enough and presented Ampthill with their first yellow card of the morning. Whilst down at to 14 players Old Scouts took full advantage scoring 2 tries both of which they failed to convert. With the score now 14 -20 in Old Scouts favour Ampthill had some work to do, the boys dug deep and the next 10 minutes saw them reply with three exceptional tries of their own one of which was a fantastic solo effort with a catch and run straight from an Old Scouts re-start. Ampthill only managed to convert one of these tries. Now with the score at 31 – 20 and back to 15 players you would have thought Ampthill could see the game out bit oh no with 5 minutes to go another infringement saw another Ampthill player receive a yellow card and a penalty try awarded to the opposition. Again Old Scouts failed to convert from right in front of the posts with a brilliant charge down of the conversion.
Old Scouts had their tails up they saw this as their opportunity to win the game however again some determined defensive work and effort from the boys meant that although Old Scouts were playing the game in the Ampthill 22 they did not trouble the scoreboard any further.
The referee blew the final whistle the victory was Ampthill’s and the boys were crowned East Midlands champions in their first year of youth rugby.