Ampthill kicked off their preseason in overcast conditions at The RAG this afternoon using 29 players with 18 making their debuts.
Only fly-half Russell Bennett played the entire 80 minutes as the Mob switched from a Maroon & Gold XV to All-Black at halftime!
Despite both Backs Coach Henry Trinder and Ealing loanee Ewan Fenley efforts to get Ampthill going, it was Richmond who struck first when prop Jimmy Litchfield went over the try line on 16 minutes following sustained pressure in the As redzone. 5 v 0
The As found themselves under constant pressure, and with the As failing to secure eight out of ten on their own line outs this was hardly surprising. With Richmond also having the upper hand in the scrum it was a difficult first half for the possession starved backs.
The As defence held reasonably for the first thirty-two minutes conceding just the one try but then conceded two further Richmond tries from Trimble in the corner following a grubber kick through and then centre Caddy under the posts left the score 19 v 0 at oranges.
Wholesale changes at halftime with over 500 caps coming off the bench to support 9 debutants including Harry Jarvis following his promotion from the Academy. Jarvis showed no nerves in his senior rugby debut and came close to crossing the try line in the 55th minute but our hosts defence held firm.
On 66 minutes Ampthill produced a better passage of play in the game. A penalty on the Richmond 22 kicked to the corner by Bennett, the resulting line out collected by Llewelyn Jones and from the ensuing maul Joe Bercis crashing over, not Billy Harding as incorrectly reported on Twitter. Sorry Joey! Bennett made no mistake with his sole kick at posts of the game.
The score lifted the visitors but despite phases of pressure in the Richmond 22 they couldn’t add further points to the scoreboard. A fourth try from the Richmond hooker left the final score at 26 v 7 and plenty for the Ampthill coaches to reflect and work on ahead of next weeks game against Bedford Blues.
Forwards and Defence Coach, Mouritz Botha had this to say after the game “This afternoon was a good learning curve. Obviously we wanted to win but tactically and technically we didn’t get everything right. In the first half our line out didn’t function and we’ll be trying to fix that in training this week plus work on executing our game plan. It was a good first hit out as a new playing unit, the boys turned up and put in 100% effort which is what we asked of them today.”