Amps hold Blues to a draw in season opener

Hayden Thompson-Stringer, seen in action last season, got Bedford's try against Ampthill. Picture (c) Jane Russell
Hayden Thompson-Stringer, seen in action last season, got Bedford's try against Ampthill. Picture (c) Jane Russell

Bedford Blues were held to a 5-5 draw by National One team Ampthill in their first pre-season outing of the year.

The match was the first of three on Saturday afternoon, as the Blues and Ampthill were both featuring in a triangular tournament at Goldington Road.

The game only lasted 40 minutes as a result, and the Blues were playing with the slope in the first match.

Bedford made a strong start to the match, and they scored their first try of the new season after just two minutes.

The hosts won three penalties in a row and decided to kick to the corner each time, asserting their intent to score tries in what was just a pre-season match.

Sam James, making his start first start in the Bedford Blue, hit every one of his line-out targets in the opening moments, and it led to the first score.

A rolling maul was set up and Hayden Thompson-Stringer was lurking at the back of it; Ampthill sucked all their forwards into stopping the maul and left gaps on the fringes.

The former Saracens back-row forward spotted that, and as a result peeled round the right hand side to score the first try of the new campaign at Goldington Road.

To increase the tempo of the friendlies, there were no conversions on the day and so the score remained 5-0 after just a few minutes.

Ampthill, who are preparing for their first season in National One, began to grow into the game and assert themselves on the fixture. The visitors were looking to offload in the tackle, but rustiness was evident as they couldn’t cling on to a couple of them.

They did eventually score in the 23rd minute of the game, thanks to their front-row forward Aleki Lutui.

Ampthill had a scrum five metres out and after a number of pick and goes that were well defended by the Blues pack, it looked like they would come away with no points.

However Lutui spotted scrum-half Peter White defending the blindside, and as such showed his superior power to muscle his way over to score.

That proved to be the last try-line action in the first game as Bedford and Ampthill ended up drawing 5-5.

Bedford: Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, Sam James, James Currie, Mike Howard (c), Harry Wells, Justin Blanchet, Josh Buggea, Hayden Thompson-Stringer; Peter White, Myles Dorrian, Dean Adamson, Michael Le Bourgeois, Sam Blanchet, Piers O’Conor

Ampthill: Aleki Lutui, Ben Wilkinson, Lewis Brunger, Piano Hehea, Karl Bradband, Matt Burke, Matt Howling, Maama Molitika (c); Gavin Williams, Will Maisey, Lee Anker, Max Wilkins, Elliot Reeder, Daryl Dyer, Karim Lynch

Referee: James Sullivan