Mowden Park 21 1stXV 15, Sat Dec 02 2017, National 1
Ampthill travelled to Darlington without head coach Paul Turner whose mother passed away in the week, needless to say all our thoughts are with the Turner family and friends at this difficult time.
Amps lost their fourth game of the season, all with a losing bonus point, after another performance full of heart, emotion and effort undermined by inaccurate execution.
Despite travelling on Friday A’s began as if they were still on the bus as the first few minutes belonged to Mowden Park culminating, after multiple phases breached the A s defensive system, with a 5th minute try for wing Adam Radwan converted by fly half Warren Seals.
The visitors then proceeded to not only get off the bus but dominate possession & territory for the next 30 minutes. With the home side increasingly under until the pressure they went a man down on 10 minutes only to produce a fine defensive display which, aided by some poor options from Ampthill, saw them see out the penalty without conceding. They were aided by Amps fly half Lawrence Rayner whose two kickable penalty goal attempts shaved the posts much to the disappointment of the A’s coaching team.
Restored to a full complement the hosts remained under the cosh as wave after wave of visitor attacks were repelled until a 36th minute catch & drive saw wing Sam Baker, at the back of the maul, touch down for a try converted by Rayner.
Mowden Park had the better of the last few minutes but failed to trouble the scoreboard leaving the game poised 7-7 at oranges.
The second half began with Ampthill back in control but a combination of excellent defence from the home side and poor execution at key moments saw them fail to capitalise until the 50th minute when Rayner hit a well struck penalty goal.
The hosts responded with some excellent backs play which led to a series of phases in the red zone. Amps defence appeared to have weathered the storm only for a controversial decision to award a try to prop Adam Brocklebank in the 65th minute converted by Seals.
A’s pack raised their game once again with lock Billy Johnson breaking the line and off loading to the supporting eighthman Maama Molitika to touch down on 71 minutes. Again disappointingly the conversion was missed leaving the score 14-15.
After an injury stopage the game re-started with just 2 minutes left to full time but the visitors were undone when the home scrum half kicked through for Radwan to win the foot race and touch down the winning try converted by Seals.
This was another case of what might of been but to be clear the hosts defence was outstanding and they always looked to attack but it appears that the story of this season for Ampthill is little things are really hurting.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery commented “On an emotional day for the everyone at Ampthill the passing of Paul Turner’s mother had a profound effect on the squad and frankly put rugby in perspective. It was a good game played by two competitive sides but actually more important than the result is that the Turner family know our thoughts and condolences are with them.”
Tries:- Radwan (5, 80), Brocklebank (65)
Conversions:- Seals (6, 66, 81)
Tries:- Baker (36), Molitika (71)
Conversions:- Rayner (37)
Penalties:- Rayner (50)