Ampthill Captain Charlie Beckett predicted on the Championship Clubs Podcast this week that “the winner of this group would make the final in May” and the Mob looked determined to put themselves in contention based on a dominant performance at Dillingham Park.
A first half hat-trick from Morgan Strong put Ampthill firmly in control at half time and the Mob never looked back to record a first win Cup win of the season.
Ampthill took seven minutes to put their first points on the board. Winning a penalty on 22m, fly-half Joshua Bragman put his team into an attacking position 5m out and from the resulting lineout the maul trundled over. A brief discussion between the referee and his assistant confirmed the try.
The second came on 19 minutes. A similar position to the first – a Bragman kick into the corner, a lineout secured by Harry Wilson and Strong coming up with ball in hand once the maul crossed the line. This time full back Conor Rankin made no mistake from the tee to give his side a 12 point advantage.
Strong secured his first half hat trick five minutes later – a carbon copy of the second try albeit on the opposite side of the pitch.
The second half started with much endeavour from both sides as Richmond tried to force their way back into the game, however neither side could take advantage of possession in key areas despite near perfect conditions.
Ampthill produced their best passage of play, and secured the bonus point fourth try on 62 minutes. Following multiple phases in the gold zone from the Ampthill forwards, the referee signalled a penalty advantage and backs struck. Quick ball through Bragman and Sam Hanks fed wing Josh Skelcey who had cut inside to break the line and go under the posts. Rankin added his second conversion of the afternoon.
Richmond scored a consolation try three minutes later – the line out hitting the first man and replacement scrum-half Jack Stafford sniped around the ruck to score out wide.
Strong secured his fourth and the Mobs fifth try with ten minutes left – another training ground penalty, lineout and maul. The Mob set-piece too much for a much changed Richmond defence.
Following the win, Ampthill Head Coach Paul Turner commented “I’m really pleased with today’s performance, we needed to win, and we deserved it today. We’ve played really well in the first half, and we challenged the boys at half time to get better. It’s a good win, I’d have taken that this morning and it puts us in good stead for the trip to Pirates next Sunday”
Tries: Strong 7, 19, 26, 68 , Skelcey 60
Conversions: Rankin 20, 61
Try: Stafford 65
Comfort Homecare Man of the Match: Morgan Strong
Referee: Adam Wookey
Scrums Won A 6, R 5
Line Outs Won A 9, R 3
Line Outs Lost A 4, R 6
Pens Conceded A 12, R 11
Yellow Card: A 0, R 1
Red Card A 0, R 0