Ampthill fell to their first National League One defeat of the season as they lost 39-20 at home to Darlington Mowden Park on Saturday.
The hosts began well, exerting control up front and winning a fourth minute breakdown penalty converted by fly half Joe Tarrant.
Just two minutes later, Sam Baker crossed the whitewash after a line break in mid field and great support play from his fellow backs.
Unfortunately, that was the last time that the home side executed accurately in the half as moments later, the hosts had a series of phases deep in Mowden’s red zone but turned the ball over and the pressure was relieved.
The visitors visibly grew more confident during the half, playing a fast tempo as using their backline rather than the forwards they began to cause problems for the usually secure Ampthill defence.
On 35 minutes, Park scored a fine try after breaking the line twice in the move, lock Seb Freydell crossing, with Caolyn Ryan converting
Tarrant added another though, meaning Ampthill changed ends 13-7 in front.
The tight nature of the first half was a complete contrast to the second during which Darlington scored four further tries through Ryan (42, 55), flanker Joe Craggs (46) and centre Chris Auld, all coming from outstanding back play, great support lines and poor defending from the home side.
Ryan converting all but Craggs’ try and added two penalty goals (72 and 78) as Amps’ discipline disintegrated.
Captain Maama Molitika crashed over near the posts on 69 minutes, Stef Jones converting but in truth the hosts were given a lesson in attacking back play.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery said: “Our discipline let us down. We made it hard for ourselves by playing 30 minutes of the game a man down but all credit to Mowden Park, they were ruthless in taking advantage.”
Ampthill travel to Loughborough this weekend.