Ampthill 52 Scunthorpe 17
Ampthill eased to a 52-17 National League Three Midlands victory over Scunthorpe at a cold and blustery day at Dillingham Park on Saturday.
Amps made seven changes in the pack with prop Joshua Smith, hooker Jordan James and lock Haydn Edwins making their first league starts, while there was one change in the backs.
In fact it was Amps’ youngest squad for a league fixture for many years with four ex-colts aged 19 or under in the starting XV. Despite their much-changed side A’s produced their best attacking rugby of the season in the first half, scoring six tries with full-back Elliot Clements-Hill converting five as A’s led 40-0 at the break.
After good defence A’s took a fourth-minute lead when Lee Anker broke from his own 10 metre line and Joseph Sproston found second-row Haydn Edwins in support to finish off a 60-metre try with Elliot Clements-Hill converting. Scunthorpe again took the game to the hosts, but a blindside break by Thomas Warfield saw him interchange five passes with right wing Dean Adamson to dot down between the posts, Clements-Hill adding the extras.
A ruck close to the visitors’ line anable centre Jonathan Raven to cross and Clements-Hill’s conversion made it 21-0 after 15 minutes.
Pick-and-goes from A’s forwards pushed the visitors back and blindside flanker Vili Ma’asi who drove over from close range and Joseph Sproston scored a fifth in similar fashion three minutes later.
A’s fifth of the half came on 32 minutes when a length-of-the-field move was finished off by Clements-Hill.
The second half began with Clements-Hill adding his second, unconverted try, before the visitors, showing plenty of character, responded with two unconverted scores as they won the second half 17-12.
Centre Paul Davies steadied the ship with the eighth try for the home side on 63 minutes, converted by Clements-Hill, but Scunthorpe weren’t done as they notched a converted try under the posts through their forwards.
With just one more try needed for a bonus point, Scunthorpe threw everything at A’s in the last 10 minutes, but the home defence stood firm.
Director of rugby Mark Lavery added: “I’m happy with a five-point win, the focus now moves to next weekend where we will need to be at our best for 80 minutes.”
This weekend A’s go to Sandbach.