Caldy 22 Ampthill 39, Sat Oct 28, 2017, National 1
Ampthill travelled to Paton field on a very windy afternoon to face Caldy for the first time since March 2015 which saw a narrow win for the visitors in a high scoring (29-36) and entertaining game.
Amps squad saw numerous changes following the loss at home to Cambridge the previous week, up front Carl Burgess started at lock with Syd Blackmore returning at blindside.
In the backs Kev Barrett started at scrum half, Elliot Reeder returned at centre along with Pete Weightman on the right wing.
On the bench Josh Taylor returned at hooker, George Thornton, dual registered from Wasps, made his debut at prop, Billy Johnson & Stef Liebenberg rotated while Sam Sterling returned to cover centre and the outside backs.
Caldy are a proper rugby club with a great setup, A’s connections always find the welcome exceptional with friendly supporters and officers and tough opposition who play the game with style and spirit.
This was an epic confrontation with the final score not really representative of the game which was in the balance until the 65th minute when the visitors first achieved some daylight in the score as their fitness told.
Ampthill started well with wing Sam Baker scoring a try wide on the right in the 4th minute, fly half Josh Sharp missing the conversion.
Baker scored again on 11 minutes, also wide on the right and also not converted.
Caldy were inspired and raised their game leading a try on 15 minutes after fine build up play led to a Weightman missed tackle on the right wing.
The 24th minute saw Caldy score again after Amps defense appeared confused, the first successful conversion of the game taking the hosts into the lead 12-10.
On 31 minutes A’s scrum half Kevin Barrett broke the line and touched down to the left of the posts, again Sharp’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the visitors were back in the lead. The pick of the visitor’s tries it came after Captain & hooker Aleki Lutui began the move within 5m of his own line, backs & forwards combining to move the ball the length of the field stretching the home defence until Barrett captialised.
As half time approached Sharp’s delightful crossfield kick was fielded by full back James Pritchard, who held up short of the line, off loaded to the supporting fly half for Sharp to score to the right of the posts. Pritchard, taking over kicking duties, succeeded in adding the extras.
On 40 minutes Caldy converted a penalty goal to leave the score 15-22 at oranges.
The second half began as the first finished with both sides having opportunities before lock Burgess received a somewhat harsh yellow card in the 53rd minute. A man down, Ampthill’s defence raised their game to keep the home side out before converting a penalty goal on 64 minutes to restore a two score margin.
For the first time in the game there was daylight between the sides when Sharp broke the line, off loading to replacement prop Thornton and receiving the return pass to touch down his second try, Pritchard adding the 2pts for the conversion.
Caldy came back at the visitors again, scoring a converted team try after multiple phases in the red zone to the left of the posts.
Ampthill open side and Man of the Match Joe Bercis had the last word however, beating 5 opponents to score an exceptional try wide on right with Pritchard converting.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments “This was a fine response to the disappointment of last week, a far better performance but still leaving lots to work on, looking forward to next week when Old Elthamanians make their first visit to Dillingham Park.“