A crowd of nearly seven hundred were treated to a keenly contested derby between Bedfordshire’s Championship sides on a warm autumn day at Ampthill’s Dillingham Park.
It was the home side who started fastest and with Ewan Fenley pulling the strings against his former side, Ampthill ran into a 21 v 7 lead – a solo score from Fenley, answered immediately by Blues with Ollie Stedman finishing from the work of Onojaife and Atkinson, and then crashing finish by Aleki Lutui after a Fenley break separated by a Penalty Try for multiple infringements by the Blues defence.
A break in play due to a 30th-minute injury to Ampthill centre Henry Trinder gave Bedford time to regroup and it was the Blues who dominated the final 10 minutes of the first half with tries from first Matt Worley and then Jordan Pieterse. Half Time 21 v 19.
The second half was a disjointed, and at times ill-disciplined affair, with both teams making multiple changes in personnel but Bedford continued their momentum from the first half in the 3rd quarter and at times looked to be running away with the game as they crossed the whitewash another three times taking a 38 v 21 lead.
Dean Adamson, on his return to Blues following a season in France, scores the pick of the three tries finishing after a 50m break by scrum-half Connor Tupai. Grimoldby converting two of his three opportunities.
If anyone thought the contest was over, Ampthill had other ideas. The home pack started to win penalties at will and with flyhalf Josh Sharpe, on his first appearance for nearly two years following an ACL injury consistently hitting touch and the Ampthill set-piece back working, Jac k Dickinson, Harry Whitfield and finally Matt Wilkinson scored to finish an Ampthill recovery and a 40-38 win for the home side.
Man of the Match: Paddy Ryan (Ampthill)
Head Coach Paul Turner had this to say after the game “It wasn’t a perfect performance but still a good building block coming into the new season with a new squad.
There are lots of positives to take and a few things we can work on – the squad displayed great resilience to come back from what seemed a losing situation deep into the second half at 21-38.
I thought our players showed some real character which you simply just can’t buy. To claw their way back to the win the game 40-38
It was also great to see our supporters back watching again after such a long break and great that they were rewarded at the end.
We have a week’s break now before we play the return ‘friendly’ fixture at Goldington Road on Sat 11th, before opening up The Championship at Lady Bay against Nottingham on Friday 17th Sept.”