Amps turn up heat in second half at Henley

A rugby reunion is planned at Chi College

A rugby reunion is planned at Chi College

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A barnstorming second half showing saw Ampthill secure a bonus point 38-16 win at Henley in National League One on Saturday.

A’s starting XV was unchanged from the week before, however, the bench saw Ben Wilkinson promoted due to Billy Walker’s England U20 commitments and the return of flanker Sydney Blackmore.

The visitors dominated early on resulting in a sixth minute try for centre Maxwell Wilkins who broke the line and crashed through the cover tackle, full back James Pritchard converting.

However Henley fought back and on 14 minutes openside Robert Bell broke blind, went through the cover and touched down an unconverted try near the right hand corner flag.

The 21st minute saw As penalised near half way at a ruck, home fly half Basil Strang bisected the posts with the resulting 45m penalty to put Henley ahead.

With half an hour gone the visitors saw the ball moved deep into the the hosts 22, who were penalised for a deliberate knock on. The resulting 5m lineout ended with a maul driven over for openside Matthew Burke to touch down.

Henley scored one more penalty to make it 14-11 to Amps at oranges.

However the second half was more one sided on the scoreboard as As took control by reducing the errors and cutting out the turnovers.

Teenage loosehead prop Ralph Adams-Hale crowned a fine display by taking a short pass inside Henley’s 22, breaking three tackles and touching down under the posts.

The hosts responded with another period of pressure and wing Jake Randall’s grubber was perfectly weighted and he won the race to touch down by the corner flag in the 51st minute.

With the game delicately poised the next score would be crucial and it came on 67 minutes after the home side were reduced to 14 players. Replacement openside Sydney Blackmore touched down for an unconverted try from the resulting lineout.

On 72 minutes, Pritchard, playing the last game of his loan spell from Bedford, fielded a speculative kick outside his 22, he chipped over the defensive line, regathered, drew the last defender and offloaded to supporting scrumhalf Gavin Williams who raced under the posts.

With the game finished as a contest the hosts were still playing rugby but Blackmore completed a fine second half performance with his second try in the 78th minute.

In the end a convincing performance from the visitors who had to raise their game to subdue a very combative and skillful hosts.

Head coach Paul Turner said: “A fine second half team performance with young Ralph Adams-Hale producing his best performance in an Ampthill shirt. Now we focus on next week when we travel to Darlington for what will again be a key game in the Northern Echo arena.

“My thanks to James Pritchard for his professionalism and his enthusiasm during his loan spell.”