1stXV Secure Last Minute Draw At Moseley
Ampthill travelled to Billesley Common on a dry, warm, sunny afternoon for the first National 1 league fixture of the new season. Amps squad saw debuts for prop Karl Garside, Number 8 Billy Johnson, half backs Stef Liebenberg & Lawrence Rayner, centre Sam Sterling and replacements hooker Josh Taylor & back row Simon Pitfield.
Dual registered (With Saints) prop Toby Trinder, flanker Syd Blackmore, full back James Pritchard and replacement prop Jack Culverhouse made their season debuts having signed over the summer.
Amps started well dominating territory and possession but failing to trouble the scoreboard through inaccuracy. Against the run of play A’s turned the ball over inside Moseley’s 22, compounded the error with a missed tackle which allowed the home wing to run the full length of the field to touch down a 15th minute converted try.
The visitors were soon back in the home red zone but could only come away with a 24th minute penalty goal converted by fly half Lawrence Rayner.
The remainder of the half saw Ampthill generally have the better of play despite the scrum being under pressure since the lineout was functioning well while the back row made the most of the breakdown.
However, Amps supporters had to wait until the 39th minute for another score, blindside Syd Blackmore eventually crossing the whitewash from close range after a penalty was kicked to the corner and multiple phases followed the lineout.
Leading 7-10 at oranges A’s connections were concerned that score did not reflect the balance of play.
The second half began with a fired up Moseley out of the blocks quickly while the visitors appeared to be still in the half time huddle.
Ampthill’s scrum coach oversaw his scrum implode as the home side drove over from a 5m penalty for a 45th minute converted try. Front row changes followed with Josh Taylor coming on at hooker, Aleki Lutui switching to tight head and Jack Culverhouse coming on at loose head.
The improvement was immediate as stability returned to the set piece but A s were behind, playing uphill and against the elements. The hosts maintained the pressure leading to another converted try by replacement back row Jacques Le Roux who rumbled over leaving Moseley leading 21-10 and the visitors staring down the barrel of an opening day defeat.
Ampthill responded by upping the workrate and began to put the home side under the pump leading to Rayner converting another penalty goal on 63 minutes.
Centre Sam Hanks then made a break in midfield before getting outside to score an unconverted try in the left corner on 74 minutes.
Trailing by 3 with a couple of minutes left Amps produced a fine charge up field with a Blackmore break supported by Lutui and Bercis, the hosts infringed in the tackle and Rayner stroked over the penalty goal that tied the scores.
There was time for the restart which A s controlled before putting the ball out to secure what had looked like an unlikely 2pts on the road against one of the fancied sides.
DoR Mark Lavery commented “the forwards on the whole went well but we need more consistency at the scrum while the backs need to be more patient with ball in hand and more concentrated when defending”
Trys:- Howland (15), Brightwell (45), Le Roux (59)
Conversions:- Dixon (16, 46, 60)
Trys:- Blackmore (39), Hanks (74)
Conversions:- Rayner (40)
Penalties:- Rayner (24, 63, 78)