Last Kick Of The Game Drop Goal Miss Results In A Hard Earned Draw
Ampthill travelled to Richmond on a generally overcast morning with a cool North Easterly wind to find perfect under foot playing conditions. The only change to the squad that defeated Hartpury was the return of hooker James Fish to the bench.
Quite literally, this was a game of two halves in which the first half belonged to Richmond and the second to Ampthill with the visitors missing a last kick of the game drop goal to take all the spoils.
Amps were on the back foot from the kick off with the hosts fleeter of thought and deed. The home side took the lead on 6 minutes with a try from hooker Ross Grimstone converted by fullback Chris Reakes.
Just 4 minutes later they extended their lead when two breakdown penalties were both tapped resulting in openside flanker Jack Allcock breaking tackles inside the 22 to reach across the whitewash in the right corner for an unconverted try.
A’s regrouped and began to exert some control through the forwards, particularly in the tight culminating a series of reset scrums on the home side’s 5m line. Despite multiple warnings and penalties from the officials, the visitors were unable to take advantage with Richmond eventually clearing their lines.
On 34 minutes, against the run of play, Richmond broke out of defence, clinically moving the ball to the other end of the field where blindside flanker Matteo Zambruno broke tackles to touch down to the right of the posts, Reakes adding the extras.
A shell shocked Ampthill went in to half time trailing 19-0 despite having much of the play in the second quarter.
Whatever was said at half time the game turned on it’s head with the hosts on the back foot with their scrum going backwards and their lineouts disrupted. Meanwhile Amps backs combined to gain territory ball in hand and the defence stopped the home side on the gain line time and again.
On 44 minutes right wing Elliot Clements-Hill finished a fine move in the right corner but missed the conversion from the touch line.
The 56th minute saw front row Aleki Lutui touch down from close range after constant pressure deep inside the home 22 was met with sterling defence until the former Tongan international crashed through a double tackle to the right of the posts, Clements-Hill converting.
On 73 minutes Clements-Hill received the ball 10m from the line with plenty to do but the cover failed to prevent his arm grounding the ball by the right corner flag. Despite having missed a conversion from a similar position earlier his sweetly struck kick arced between the posts against the wind to tie the scores.
The remainder of the game was played in the home half culminating in 5 reset scrums inside their 22 directly in front of the posts as time ran out. The hosts scrummage had struggled all game being regularly penalised but despite these resets seeming similar to others which had resulted in penalties!
A’s eventually managed to get the ball away from the last collapsed scrum only for fly half Joseph Tarrant’s drop goal attempt to slide past the posts.
Richmond are still in charge of their destiny but their connections were pretty relieved at the final whistle, this was a great game of rugby, entertaining but also uncompromising, a fantastic advert for rugby at level 3.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery commented “It shows how far we’ve come as a squad when we come to the deserved Champions elect and are disappointed with a draw. Our pack were outstanding with the front row in particular having a great day”
Tries:- Clements-Hill (44, 73), Lutui (56)
Conversions:- Clements-Hill (57, 74)
Tries:- Grimstone (6), Allcock (10), Zambruno (34)
Conversions:- Reakes (7, 35)
Half Time:- 19-0
Referee:- Daniel Parrott
Star Man:- Jack Culverhouse