So then, it had to happen, I finally get the chance to moan about the notorious slow Ampthill start!
It was very slow.
But before we get into the match, I know you all love the weather reports. Cold, dry, sunny, very windy. Pitch was a bit soft underfoot but not enough to prevent our dominant scrum from winning pretty much everything.
So, back to the start, it was . . . . . . SLOW.
Poor aggression at rucks and some big runners from Letchworth who we allowed to make ground. I think it was a bit of a shock to the system and not unexpected following some of the warm-up exercise that showed we probably we weren’t 100% switched on. I guess you could say it was all just a bit . . . . . . . . . . . . S L O W.
Having said that we defended OK and prevented L’worth from doing anything with a couple of penalties inside our 22.
I think you probably get he idea now and the lack of pace in our start looked to have been resolved after a quick penalty on half way. We tapped and went, put the ball though the hands and Lui went through to score a good try out wide left. Fynn missed the kick, falling a bit short on a challenging day for kicking due to the wind but it kick-started the game for us. 0-5.
Well, it nearly did, but almost from the restart, L’worth had a quick tap and go of their own and they breezed through some “tackles” (wafty, I am trying hard to stop you honest, wavy arms) to score to the left of the posts, about half way to the touch line. They struck a good kick into the wind to go 7-5 up.
Then from the kick off we picked up the ball and after a swift passage of play Pierce got on a rumble and managed to heave over the line. A good finish but one that could have been made easier if he had released the 3 backs waiting patiently outside him with only one defender.
Fynn made the kick 7-12.
Next up came one of the best passages of play of the match, a good run from Liam down the right touch line, supported by Jacob, who was then supported by Liam for Liam to score under the posts. Fynn converted the easiest one of the day. 7-19.
Another good break down the touch line, this time the left one saw Jake finish nicely wide on the left. Carbon copy of the first conversion from this position, good direction, just not enough power. 7-24.
Then came probably the best passage of play of the match. Great defensive pressure from Ampthill deep in our own half and after another couple of penalties in out 22 saw us march up the pitch and get the ball wide to Liam for him to score to the right of the posts. Fynn missed the conversion. 7-29 at half time.
The second half saw some good rugby but we lost some of the aggression at the rucks and so the game became a bit scrappy.
We were able to score again when following some decent back play Pierce rumbled once more to score to the left of the posts. Fynn got his best conversion of the day into the wind 7-36.
Letchworth got a bit of a sympathy try at the end after what looked to my eyes like 3-4 knock-ons (but clearly not he man in charges whose, which is what counted) as L’worth scored, missed the conversion and ended the game 12-36.
So the summary, the good:
Periods of aggressive defence
Decent decision making in the backs
Good teamwork / support play
The less good:
The start (not very quick)
Conceding lots of penalties and not dealing well with the tap & go’s, mainly due to retreating turned away from the ball.
Variable aggression into rucks, players standing off and waiting for the ball.
Some wafty hand waving attempted tackles
Overall an OK performance with a decent result, a bonus point win.
Fairly good summary Ian, typical of a backs coach I guess….Can I just add in a big well done to the forwards today for a hard fought battle against Letchworth, I think we won all but one scrum today and worked damn hard.After Josh, Charlie, Adam , Pierce + others caused disruption to Letchworth and allowed our rush defence (well done Ed) to cause havoc in their ranks. We turned an attack from them on our 10m line with some good rucking into a nice easy run in for the backs to jog down the length of the pitch.To quote a passage from a poem that is fairly well knownIf you can keep your head when all about youAre losing theirs and blaming it on you,If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,But make allowance for their doubting too;Seeing how the boys have developed over the season so far is very rewarding for us as coaches and if we can stick to the plan then we can beat anyone on the day…..Well done today boy’s…..lets not take our foot off the gas….Greg