Hartpury 49 1stXV 14, Match Report, Sat Oct 22, 2016
Ampthill travelled to Gloucestershire on a dry but overcast morning anticipating their toughest challenge of the season so far.
In a response to the loss at home to Blackheath the previous week the coaching team made multiple changes to the squad. Brett Sturgess (prop), Josh Walker (lock), Gavin Williams (scrumhalf), Joe Tarrant (flyhalf) and Sam Hanks (centre) all returned to the starting lineup while Matt Beesley (prop), Matt Collins (prop), Mickey Wilson (scrum/flyhalf) and Elliot Reeder rotated to the bench.
Hartpury dominated the game securing their 8th consecutive bonus point and a 27-7 lead by half time and running out 49-14 winners at no side having outscored their visitors 6 tries to 2.
Hartpury took the lead in the 3rd minute with a penalty goal from flyhalf Mat Protheroe followed by a second on 12 minutes, in between Amps lost fullback Karim Lynch to injury.
The 15th minute saw A’s concede a penalty try converted by Protheroe with lock Josh Walker getting a 10 minute rest. Just 2 minutes later the hosts extended their lead with a try from centre George Boulton, Protheroe adding the extras followed in the 20th minute by another converted try for the home side through wing Mikalcius.
With Walker returned to the field of play the visitors were more competitive finally securing a penalty try of their own on 39 minutes converted by centre Stef Jones leaving the score 27-7 at oranges.
The second half began with a 42nd minute try for prop Brett Sturgess converted by Jones to raise hopes of a comeback but Protheroe steadied the ship with another penalty goal on 53 minutes before Jones had to leave the field in the 62nd minute forcing the last of Ampthill’s replacements off the bench.
Hartpury were ruthless in the last 15 minutes exploiting Amps injury crisis scoring 3 trys through Mikalcius (65), scrumhalf Randall (70) and Mikalcius again (79), Protheroe converting the first two.
Comfortably the best side in National 1, Hartpury remain on course for the Championship. A’s must regroup having lost two on the bounce, next week’s home fixture against an in form Esher takes on more significance.