1stXV Lose At Blackheath To Last Minute Penalty Goal
Ampthill travelled to Well Hall to face unbeaten Blackheath on a dry afternoon, Amps squad saw numerous changes, in the forwards Toby Trinder returned at prop, Josh Walker moved back to lock, Syd Blackmore moved to blindside with Loti Molitika starting at Eighthman. The backs saw Elliott Reeder, normally a centre, make his first start at fly half with Dominic Morris making his debut at centre while lock Ben Gulliver was on the bench having recovered from injury.
Not many low scoring games qualify as epic but the commitment & effort from both sides produced a truly great advert for National 1 rugby despite both sides making lots of mistakes.
Ampthill started well with good territory and possession camped in the Blackheath half but failing to get over the whitewash.
ON 15 minutes the deadlock was broken when a ‘Club’ line out saw a loose tap down was scooped up by open side Joe Bercis to go over from 15m with wing James Pritchard adding the conversion.
The home side fought back resulting in a them being awarded a penalty which former Ampthill pivot Joe Tarrant missed.
In the 26th minute Amps prop Carl Garside received what most observers agreed was a harsh yellow card and the hosts took advantage, finally breaking A s defence out wide on the left to score an unconverted try.
The were visitors were inspired to increase their efforts and duly got their reward when Blackheath were penalised and Pritchard extended the lead with a penalty on 36 minutes.
The 38th minute saw Ampthill captain Aleki Lutui receive a yellow card for a high tackle with ‘Club’ converting the resulting penalty to leave the score 8-10 at oranges.
Amps began the second half with 14 players conceding an unconverted try after a penalty kick to the corner for the home side to take the lead for the first time on 49 minutes.
Back to full strength A’s upped a gear regaining the lead on 65 minutes after a penalty was kicked to the corner and a trademark catch and drive brought an unconverted try out wide.
There followed what appeared to be an exact repeat of the Lutui high tackle by a Blackheath lock but this time there was no yellow card which can only be described as inconsistent or worse depending on which team you support.
The visitors were in control in the latter stages of the game with multiple phases in the hosts red zone but crucially failing to trouble the scoreboard.
Inevitably, the 78th minute saw ‘Club’ turn the ball over, move up field and kick the winning penalty goal leaving the score 16-15 at no side.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments “A vastly improved performance but still lots to work on, this team will only get better. Certainly a return to what the Maroon and Gold stand for.”
Tries:- Lloyd (27), Cooke (49)
Penalties:- Tarrant (40, 80)
Tries:- Bercis (5), Baker (55)
Conversions:- Pritchard (6)
Penalties:- Pritchard (36)