Bedford Athletic 11 Ampthill 23
Higher division Ampthill were given a real scare as they were forced to battle hard for their 23-11 derby victory against Bedford Athletic in their East Midlands Cup quarter-final at Putnoe Woods on Saturday.
Late tries courtesy of the introduction of Ampthill’s former semi-professional players swung the game the way of the visitors as they were pushed to the limit by the Midlands One East side to claim the annually-contested Herbert Osbourn Memorial Shield.
Osbourn was a member of both clubs and the shield was presented by his daughter Marian Fordham to A’s captain Karl Braband after the match.
Amps named a young starting XV and took the lead against the run of play on six minutes through Elliott Clements-Hill’s penalty.
It continued to be a close affair and, after James Mortimer had missed one shot at goal, he levelled the scored with his 27th-minute penalty.
He then gave Ath the lead with another penalty three minutes later as Braband was yellow-carded.
Mortimer was again just wide on the stroke of half time as the hosts led 6-3.
A’s made a number of changes at half time, as they brought some more experienced players.
Clements-Hill, playing at fly-half, tied the scores again early in the second half, but this just seemed to spur the home side on to greater things.
Following another missed penalty on 46 minutes James Mortimer threaded a precision kick through the visitors’ defence on 54 minutes allowing Luke Levitt the time to win the race to the touch down and open up an 11-6 lead. After multiple substitutions on the hour mark, Amps scored the equalising try through Jonathan Raven to tie the score at 11-11 as the conversion was missed.
Experienced A’s proceeded to gradually wear down the home side’s resistance and, after missing a penalty with 10 minutes to go, score two tries in the last five minutes to claim victory.
Wing Kyle Palm claimed the first and continued forwards pressure enabled prop Sam Walsh to crash over for a try converted by Clements-Hill.
This weekend Ampthill host Newport (Salop) as they return to National League Three Midlands action, while Ath will have been boosted by an impressive all-round display, epitomised by Tommy Mills’ defence and good work in the loose from Rob Watkins.
Ath will take heart from their performance as they go to Towcestrians, unbeaten at home so far this season, in Midlands One East on Saturday.