South Leicester 7 1stXV 24, Match Report, Aug 27
Ampthill travelled to Wigston Magma on a damp but warm evening to find a good pitch but a wet ball. Ampthill’s squad of 24 included debuts for a number of summer signings who were given their opportunity to impress the coaching team.
The game was a good contest with South Leicester having recruited well including former Tigers & Wasps prop Michael Holford who played in the Championship for Ealing last season and Ryan Hough, former Nottingham & Coventry outside back.
Ampthill, having started well, put South under pressure deep in their 22 when a tap penalty move went wrong with the ball knocked on, the hosts running the resulting turnover the length of the field to take the lead on 5 minutes with a converted try.
In a stop/start encounter with little continuity Amps chose to kick another penalty to the corner on 15 minutes, captain Viliami Ma’asi coming up with the ball following a familiar catch & drive unconverted try.
The remainder of the half was tight with neither side troubling the scoreboard until almost the last move of the half when wing Samuel Baker crossed the whitewash, fly half Michael Wilson converting leaving the score 7-12 at oranges.
A’s began the second half as the first, camped in the home side’s 22, with pressure mounting the hosts were repeatedly penalised with the visitors opting for scrums until a well executed quick tap option followed by two quick passes saw Baker cross for his second, this time unconverted, try.
On 69 mins, again deep in South’s 22, multiple phases eventually saw scrum-half Benjamin Calder snipe round the side of a ruck wide on the right for his first try in a maroon & gold shirt, debutant replacement Joseph Daniels, signed after impressing for East Midlands, added the conversion from the touchline.
Despite much effort, Ampthill were unable to add to their score with a combination of good home defence and inaccurate, somewhat sloppy handling causing some concern for the coaching team with the composure & concentration necessary in the damp conditions conspicuous by it’s absence, especially when in the opposition red zone. Amps defence on the other hand was outstanding.
There is no doubt that South Leicester will be a force in National 2 North this season while Ampthill complete their pre-season preparations on Saturday with a game against Bedford Athletic (k.o. 15:15), the final chance for the coaching team to cast their eye over a squad containing a number of players who will be involved in the first league fixture against Rosslyn Park on September 3rd.