Moseley 18 1stXV 35, Sat Jan 21, 2017
Ampthill travelled to Billesley Common on a cold, crisp day after two freezing nights had required a pitch inspection to confirm game on.
Amps squad saw 1 change in the pack with Paino Hehea replacing the injured Ben Gulliver at lock, 1 change in the backs with scrum half Gavin Williams starting while on the bench lock Karl Braband made his first appearance of the season, scrum half Alex Mitchell rotated and full back Karim Lynch returned after recovering from injury.In a very strong squad performance A’s backs & forwards worked well together while fitness and the bench combined to take the game away from the hosts in the last quarter.
Moseley came out of the blocks on fire forcing the visitors on the back foot and securing a 4th minute penalty converted by home fly half Mike Penn before adding an unconverted try wide on the left through prop Owen Hills on 7 minutes.
Having finally got off the bus Ampthill began to gain territory and possession forcing the home side to defend. Under increasing pressure Moseley began to draw the wrath of the officials leading to a penalty which was kicked to the corner, a trademark catch & drive was well defended by the hosts being stopped a couple of metres short but hooker Aleki Lutui broke and crashed over for a 20th minute try converted by fly half Joe Tarrant.
The home side took the game back to Amps helped by a high tackle yellow card for centre Will Goodge, Brightwell taking advantage of the extra man to crash over wide on the left for another unconverted try on 32 minutes.
A’s pressed for a score prior to half time but when lock Josh Walker dropped the ball in the act of scoring Moseley recovered and kicked dead leaving the score 15-7 at oranges.
The second half saw something of a sea change as the visitors stepped up the intensity and accuracy beginning with a 48th minute try for eighthman Maama Molitka who broke from the 10m line to score with Tarrant adding the extras.
The next 10 minutes or so saw both sides with possession and territory with much ebb and flow before Moseley won a 60th penalty which Penn struck between the posts.
The last quarter belonged to Amps as the introduction of the bench and an apparent fitness advantage saw the hosts on the back foot much of the time leading to three tries in 13 minutes.
Openside Joe Bercis first appearance at Billesley since returning to Ampthill after wearing black & red last year was crowned with a converted try to the right of the posts after a forward drive.
With the home side under increasing pressure another A’s catch & drive saw lock Paino Hehea come up with the ball for a converted try.
Back inside the Moseley 22 a quick tap penalty from visiting replacement scrum half Alex Mitchell was moved through the hands for left wing Sam Baker to score in the right corner. Fly half Tarrant crowned a 100% kicking from the tee day with a touchline conversion to complete the scoring.
DoR mark Lavery commented “A fine performance from Ampthill to end Moseley’s 100% home record was down to the entire match 20 who collectively demonstrated their superior skill, strength and spirit”