Pirates’ Teach Amps Finishing Lesson
Ampthill travelled to Mennaye Field to face Cornish Pirates in the first ever game between the two clubs to find the well drilled and efficient hosts in an uncompromising mood as their warm welcome turned into a difficult day at the office.
A’s started well, taking the game to the hosts from the off, winning a penalty on 4 minutes which was well struck by fly half Samuel Costelow resulting in the lead. The home side responded immediately forcing the visitors to conceded a penalty but their fly half’s attempt drifted wide.
The remainder of the first quarter was well contested and evenly matched but Pirates gradually gained the upper hand securing possession and territory.
On 23 minutes a lost Ampthill lineout deep in their own half (something was to prove a problem for much of the game) led to the hosts full back Cant crossing the whitewash, fly half Rojas Alvarez adding the conversion giving them a 7 v 3 lead which they were never to lose.
In the 27th minute a visitors clearing kick from Costelow was charged down, several phases later left hosts wing Wedlake squeezed over out wide, Rojas Alvarez missing the touchline conversion.
On 34 minutes home centre Patterson touches down from a maul having benefited from some generous defending, Rojas Alvarez adding the extras to put the hosts firmly in control.
Amps struck back with a 40th minute penalty goal converted by Costelow to leave the score 19-6 at oranges.
The difference in the score line demonstrated that the established Championship side had capitalised on every A’s mistake while the visitors paid a heavy price for playing too much rugby in the wrong areas.
From the Ampthill perspective the start of the second half couldn’t have been worse with Pirates attacking down the left wing, wing Wedlake benefiting from a couple of missed tackles resulting in his second, the hosts fourth and the bonus point try converted by Rojas Alvarez.
Following a number of substitutions the 60th minute saw Amps replacement hooker Dave Ward, returning to his former club, come up with the ball after a line out, catch & drive maul, sadly Costelow couldn’t make the conversion leaving the score 26-11.
Almost immediately a turnover saw A’s pressing hard deep in the hosts half but a knock on gave the ball back to the home side, disappointingly this was a key moment as the visitors rarely threatened thereafter.
Chasing the game, Ampthill conceded two more tries, the first on 72 minutes by Pirates right wing O’Meara from another maul and the second, at the death, by replacement flanker Matavesi just back from the Rugby World Cup, both converted by Rojas Alvarez.
The squad probably didn’t need another lesson in just how hard competing in the Championship would be, but Pirates gave one anyway!
Head Coach Paul Turner commented “At certain points we showed we can compete at this level but we played too much rugby in the wrong areas and failed to take a couple of opportunities that could have made the game more interesting. We will have to learn our lessons quickly and it doesn’t get any easier next week when we welcome Jersey Reds to Dillingham Park.”