It was 18 months ago on the final Sunday before lockdown when the Jets last crossed the white lines for a rugby match. Since then some players have decided to hang up their boots or move out of the area, great servants over many years Woody and Watto have moved to bolster the Extras ranks and believe it or not we had key players such as ‘Gorgeous ‘George Adamson and Alex Crawford unavailable for the first fixture in a year and a half! How much notice do we need to give?Pre season training has been less than two months in length and we were travelling away to face opponents in Hitchin who had played a 10s tournament during August and a week ago went away to play and beat Biggleswade 1st XV. Some challenge therefore for the Jets but Simon Spavins in his 50th (or at least it seems) season in an Ampthill shirt was raring to go and coaches, players and spectators alike were all just grateful to be able to particpate in a match at last.Hitchin play at a level the Jets hope to play at next season, when clubs can have more than one team in the league structure, they are well coached by ex Ampthill First XV winger Adam Shaw and our thanks to them for playing us and their great hospitality afterwards. It isn’t easy for the Jets to find friendly opposition willing to play what is a 3rd team as some clubs think (wrongly) we will have contracted players from the championship squad turning out for us. What we are is a side seeking to give local lads who mostly have come through our Mini and Youth system access to a decent level of local club rugby without them having to leave for another local club. It was great to see a few ex Academy boys making their debuts today for a senior Ampthill side. This season coach Jonny Cresswell has been joined by backs player coach Ben Barry a regular Northampton Saints junior coach (coach always, player when we are desperate) and Hugh Christie former under 16s coach currently undertaking his Level 3 coaching. Still looking for a regular physio though, a paid role, so if anyone is interested let us know.So preamble over, how did we do? Well we lost 33 26 in a match where we led at half time. Jets opened the scoring with a try but soon gave away three penalties in quick succession which gave Hitchin an opportunity to level via a line out catch and drive. Ampthill hit back with a try from young prop Piers successfully converted by Norford. Piers then collected a yellow card and the ref awarded Hitchin a penalty try and it was 12 all. Before halftime Ampthill scored the final points of the half via hooker Batty. Norford added the extras and so Jets had a 19 12 half time lead.With a 23 man squad the Jets gradually introduced substitutions which slightly disrupted their organisation and from two visits to Hitchins 22 we lost the ball and saw the home side run the length of the park twice for two converted tries and a 26 19 lead. Another successful Hitchin catch and drive saw them extend the lead to 33 19.Ampthill heads didn’t drop and Spavs went close to the line but was held up just short. Fellow prop Piers then crashed over for his second try of the match.With seconds remaining Hitchin were awarded a penalty so a tap and kick to touch would end the game. Instead they went for a kick at the posts Their 10, who had kicked brilliantly all game ran, kicked and the ball was plucked out of the air by Nine Foot Tall Jack Adamson leaving Ampthill one last attack to draw the game but it wasn’t to be.Well played Hitchin and good luck for the season ahead. Ampthill man of the match went to Jack Spurr although Hitchin thought Adam Shelley should have got it describing him as the angriest bloke they have ever metGreat to be back after so long away. Tring 2s away next week in our first Merit 1 match. Onwards and upwards.