Ampthill late show earns the points against Loughborough

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Ampthill battled back from 16-0 down to salvage an unlikely 21-19 victory over Loughborough Students with a last kick touchline conversion.

Amps began as they were to continue, with basic errors leading to a first minute penalty converted by home full-back Thomas James.

The Students were soon back on the attack, but an unnecessary fracas in the Ampthill 22 resulted in a yellow card for James.

This didn’t seem to bother Loughborough, though, as they ran back the penalty kick, resulting in an unconverted try on the right for wing William Edwards on 18 minutes.

Twelve minutes later, home fly-half Joshua Sharp finished another scintillating backs move in the opposite corner, followed soon afterwards by a penalty goal from in front of the posts by James.

On 34 minutes, Ampthill went down a man after a yellow card for cynically preventing a quick tap, but this was the catalyst for Amps to finally take some control.

Working the ball downfield, the forwards secured a 5m lineout from which a catch & drive saw Viliami Ma’asi touch down for an unconverted try wide on the left, leaving the score 16-5 at half-time.

The second half began with Amps making two substitutions, bringing on prop Ralph Adams-Hale and backs cover William Maisey, whose goal kicking was to prove inspired.

Amps began to exert some forward control, resulting in two straightforward Maisey penalty goals from in front of the posts on 47 and 57 minutes after the home side were penalised at breakdowns.

Having closed the gap to one score, A’s promptly conceded a breakdown penalty of their own, converted by James in the 61st minute.

Ampthill continued to exert pressure, leading to a 72nd minute penalty goal from Maisey, and five minutes later Loughborough went down to 14 players after a yellow card.

With time running out the visitors mounted one last attack from a lineout deep in the hosts’ 22, before flyhalf Joseph Tarrant threw a double miss pass to Maisey on the left wing who went through the cover to touch down in the corner to tie the scores.

The final kick of the game would be his conversion which sailed between the posts to secure the victory.

Amps head coach Paul Turner said: “You have to feel for Loughborough as on the day they were the better side and certainly don’t look anywhere near their league table position.

“Ampthill were poor in the first half and a great deal better after half-time. A tough day with a great ending reflecting what we are about as a group.”