Match Report: 1st XV 34 v 24 Coventry Rugby 04/11/23

Ampthill secured a second straight bonus point win at home, after edging Coventry out in an a topsy turvy eight try thriller on The Olney Field.

Coventry scored the first try of the game after just 3 minutes, with full-back Louis James brilliantly breaking the line, before dancing his way around the covering Ampthill defence, allowing him to put the ball down with ease.

Remarkably in the 31st minute, with Ampthill’s first real attacking foray into the Coventry half, they levelled the match. Centre Olly Hartley went on a mazy run, grubbering the ball in behind the Coventry defence, and after another kick through, a mistake from earlier try scorer James allowed Hartley to kick through once again, and ground the ball underneath the posts.

Ampthill used this as a springboard to build some attacking momentum, and took the lead for the first time in the 38th minute. Louis James’ attempted clearing kick was brilliantly charged down by winger Tobias Elliot, and after a clean pick up, strolled across the line. After a simple Gwyn Parks conversion, Ampthill led 14-7 at the break.

Ampthill started the 2nd half strong, with Parks nailing two long range penalties, giving the Mob a 20-7 lead with 30 minutes remaining.

The game took a fresh turn just minutes later, following a yellow card to Ampthill prop Luke Green. From the resulting penalty, a powerful rolling maul was finished by replacement hooker Jordan Poole, reducing the arrears to 20-14 thanks to Pat Pellegrini’s second conversion of the day.

Coventry hammered home the man advantage, and in the process retook the lead, scoring another two tries during the sin bin period, courtesy of fantastic finishes from wingers Ryan Hutler and James Martin. Despite Pellegrini missing both conversions, Coventry led 24-20 with just over 20 minutes remaining.

In yet another twist in this pulsating contest, Ampthill regained their lead in the 67th minute, with replacement Nathan Michelow forcing his way over the line from close range, following a scrum. Manu Vunipola converted to give Ampthill a 27-24 lead with just 12 minutes left.

Ampthill controlled the game in the last 10 minutes, and after building the phases, the impressive Samson Adejemi sealed the game for the Mob in the 78th minute, darting under the Coventry defence to dot the ball down.

Ampthill Head Coach Paul Turner said, “I thought the bench made a huge difference when they came on, and we found a way to win”.

Points Scorers:

Tries: Hartley 31, Elliott 38, Michelow 67, Adejemi 78
Conversions: Parks 32, 39: Vunipola 68, 79
Penalties: Parks 45, 48
Player of the Match: Ollie Stonham
Attendance: 757

Ampthill are next at home on Saturday 25th November when Cornish Pirates roll into town. Tickets are available to purchase now and there a still a few places left in hospitality.

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