Ampthill hit back in style with Harrogate mauling

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Ampthill bounced back to form on Saturday with a nine-try demolition of Harrogate at Dillingham Park.

In the first ever meeting between the two clubs at first XV level, Ampthill made use of a fine dry autumnal afternoon to romp to an emphatic 53-7 victory .

Amps began on the front foot, setting the tone for the rest of the half by driving deep into the visitors’ half from the kick-off with multiple phases requiring committed defence from Harrogate to prevent a score.

Eventually a fifth minute 5m lineout saw scrum-half Kevin Barrett slip the cover and touch down to the left of the posts for a try converted by fly-half Joseph Tarrant.

Amps were soon back on the attack but the visitors were proving tough to break down.

Despite dominating possession and territory it took until the 22nd minute for the next score; a penalty try awarded after three consecutive 5m scrums has seen Harrogate penalised, with Tarrant adding the extras.

The visitors were unable to escape from their own half but were relentless with their defence until, in the 34th minute and a man down after a yellow card, they ran out of numbers.

Amps moved the ball from the left flank to the right, enabling wing Lee Anker to cross for an unconverted try to leave the score at 19-0 at half time.

The second half saw Ampthill score six further tries through left wing Gareth Clarke, Tarrant, centre Brendan Burke, Anker and full-back Karim Lynch, with Tarrant adding one conversion and Burke another.

Harrogate managed a fine consolation try with the last move of the game, breaking out from defence for fly-half Callum Irvine to touch down wide on the left, converted by full-back Joe Rowntree.

Ampthill head coach Paul Turner said: “This was a satisfying response to last week’s poor performance, despite stubbornly impressive defence from Harrogate who tackled themselves to a standstill”