Jets upset the apple cart somewhat by beating a Kettering side thus progressing to the East Midlands Senior Cup semi-finals! This competition is for all East Midlands teams outside National levels (basically means Saints, Bedford Blues and Ampthill 1st/1881s are not eligible).
All 22 of the Jets squad are amateur players who have come through the Ampthill system. How many other teams in the East Midlands Cup competition can claim to field 2 props with an age difference of 27 years? 18-year-old Holland and 45-year-old Spavins both put in an 80 minutes shift, dominating the scrums and the tight play.
After early domination without any points, Jets elected to take a penalty kick at goal. To everyone’s surprise, the normally reliable boots of Norford missed. A few minutes later though Norford’s kick out wide found the hands of flying winger Kearns (shirt sponsor Webb and Company) for a try and 5-0 Jets lead.
Kettering found their way back into the game and scored a converted try and the score was 7-5 to the boys in blue. Between captain Edwins and scrum leader Spavins, the Jets received encouragement as they stood behind the posts and real belief that they could win this match. Shortly later a Liddell kick resulted in Kearn’s second try of the half and Jets regained the lead.
The most pleasing score of the day came next with a penalty move which had been rehearsed at Wednesday night’s training. Dismissing what seems to be the modern preference for a line out or scrum when awarded a penalty close to the line, Mr Reliable, Crawford tapped and went for the line. The Jets hooker knew he would be stopped but did his job in committing the defense and retaining the ball. The ball came out to an organised pod of Jets forwards drawing in the wider Kettering defenders. Quickly recycled ball left, centre Mason (shirt sponsor RD Designs) with a simple stroll over the line and a try (much to his disappointment as we all know how he looks to bosh his way through!) Conversion by Norford (shirt sponsor Castle Lane Garage) and a 17-7 lead for the Jets at oranges.
The second half saw a Kettering try and the lead was now just 5 points. The home sides physio was by far the busiest with Ampthill choosing just to make 2 tactical substitutions bringing on the additional experience of Cresswell at hooker (front row Spavins, Cresswell, Holland is something to behold at scrum time) and dynamic flanker Burton (celebrating just 12 months into his rugby career). Burton was a real handful for the tiring Kettering defence and deservedly scored a try. Debutant Holland (shirt sponsor FirstAid4Sport) grabbed the final Jets score and a 27-12 away victory.
Many candidates for man of the match but for his control at the back of the scrum and all-round game the award goes to No 8 Herbert.
Our thanks to Kettering who were great hosts and selected a squad that made the match a close-fought contest and also to the young Warwickshire referee. Disappointing that for an East Midlands Cup match we couldn’t have a team of 3 appointed to officiate but maybe we will when we play our semi-final in the New Year.
Great to see support from club members including our Chairman and President. Come on you Jets!