Ampthill kicked off their first ‘competitive’ season in the HML with an away fixture against Fullerians. Head coach, Paul Allen had a few selection issues to resolve after a couple of late withdrawals, but the whole squad seemed ready for the challenge ahead despite the awful Hertfordshire conditions with pouring rain and a significant drop in temperature, the heatwave seemed an age ago!
The boys started the game on the front foot and certainly had the vast majority of possession, they were helped by the continual handling errors by the opposition and had the upper hand at scrums throughout. After a spell of consistent pressure from Ampthill’s forward pack, Fullerians were dramatically reduced to 14 players, the referee decided to show a yellow card to the home sides full- back following an ‘off- side offence’. Ampthill made the most of their numerical superiority by opening the scoring through a well taken try by skipper Archie Barrett.
The score was quickly increased in Ampthill’s favour with a superb interception and show of pace by fly-half Harrison Wade for try number two, Wade then successfully converted his own try to make the half time score 12-0 to Ampthill. One of the highlights of the rain soaked first half was the superb defensive efforts Ampthill showed throughout, especially a 5 minute spell prior to half time where the home side were continually driven back from the Ampthill try line.
Head coach Allen used the half time break to remind his team that there was still a long way to go and they needed to keep their discipline and ensure we kept 15 players on the pitch throughout.
The second half was again played in the pouring rain and Ampthill’s squad was stretched to the limit with injuries to a number of players resulting in a quick reshuffle of personnel. The majority of the second half was fairly even with both sides having a fair share of possession and territory, unfortunately as the half wore on Fullerians gradually started to get grip with the conditions and managed to score two tries, the second of which successfully converted on the stroke of full time making the final score 12-12. A bitter blow for the whole team to take but one they will learn from, the coaches felt there was plenty of positives to take from the game and look forward to their first home match of the season.