On a memorable day for Ampthill Rugby, the club’s senior amateur side completed a second successive season unbeaten in league and cup rugby.
Courtesy of sponsor Phil Howes, both Jets and the Extras shared a coach to their final venues of Cheshunt and Enfield respectively. Thank you Phil for all your support all season.
Jets were scheduled to play Hemel Hempstead 2nd XV and courtesy of their website we could see that this ‘second team’ included both Hemel First XV top try scoring winger and top points scoring centre! Game on.
Cheshunt Rugby Club have a RFU funded AGP pitch which meant the playing surface suited the mobile Jets side. An early jink to the line from second row Jack Adamson gave Ampthill a 5-0 lead and the chance to settle the nerves. Ten minutes of missed opportunities followed before further tries increased Ampthill’s lead just before halftime to 19-0. The last 3 minutes of the half proved crucial as Ampthill defended their line brilliantly to deny Hemel any first half points and kept the momentum in the Jets favour.
The second half saw the Jets comfortably see out the win and your correspondent never felt nervous about the outcome. The final score was either 39 0r 38 to 10, I lost count in the excitement! The other Adamson brother Gorgeous George also bagged a try much to the delight of the Maroon and Gold supporters as it was his first of the season.
I am always slightly apprehensive in selecting a man of the match when all 20 of the squad performed so well. Front row of Spavins, Masters and Crawford fronted up throughout and dominated scrum time with Crawford popping up all over the pitch. Coach Jonny’s 5-minute cameo at the end was action packed with an overthrow at the lineout, a free kick at a scrum and 5 points for Hemel – you can see why he wasn’t selected to start! Engine room Adamsons and Bill Ward did the usual graft whilst back row of Morgs, Jack Tomkins and Tim Herbert ensured Hemel had no decent possession to build on, farmer boy Tompkins especially aggressive and physical with ball in hand. When young replacement Josh Burton entered the field of play with his strength and pure determination you could imagine Hemel thinking when will the ref blow his whistle for time!
So as is usual in rugby it was the forwards what won it! Jets rugby have discovered a group of backs though in recent years who, this season, have always outshone the opposition. Jabri at scrum half sniped around the fringes keeping Hemel on their toes, centres Ben and Eric controlled a Hemel pairing with a strong reputation. Norford and Saunders ruled the wings with Kearns controlling from full back. Add in replacement backs Conor Barry and Paul Mason and you can see why this truly was a squad of 20.
There does have to be a man of the match though and much as I am in pain committing this to print, that man is Woody. A masterful display of control by the fly half, an unselfish pass to Eric for a try and an outrageous dummy for his own try. Those alone didn’t earn the award though, it was his on and off pitch leadership and massive commitment in defence which was admirable for a bloke who has never been in a gym because the door was too hard to open!
So end of a season but not end of the journey. This Jets squad are young and keen to move on to better opposition next season as befitting the 3rd team of a Championship Club. Evergreen prop Simon Spavins shows no sign of slowing down and his experience brings so much to the Jets. Well done to all the other sides in the club on a great season, enjoy a break and let’s go again.
Obligatory Team Line Up!
Celebratory beers lead by Jonny Cresswell