Honours even as Ampthill and Richmond can’t be separated

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Joseph Tarrant saw his last kick of the game drop-goal attempt slide agonisingly wide of the posts as Ampthill shared the points with Richmond after a hard fought 19-19 draw.

Amps were on the back foot from the kick-off, and the home side took the lead on six minutes with a try from hooker Ross Grimstone converted by full-back Chris Reakes.

Just four minutes later they extended their advantage when two breakdown penalties were both tapped, resulting in openside flanker Jack Allcock breaking tackles inside the 22 to cross the whitewash for an unconverted try.

A’s regrouped and began to exert some control through the forwards, but on 34 minutes Richmond broke out of defence, clinically moving the ball to the other end of the field where flanker Matteo Zambruno broke tackles to touch down, with Reakes adding the extras.

A shell-shocked Ampthill went in at half-time trailing 19-0 despite having much of the play in the second quarter.

Whatever was said at half-time the game turned on its head, and on 44 minutes right wing Elliot Clements-Hill finished a fine move in the right corner but missed the conversion from the touchline.

Twelve minutes later, front row Aleki Lutui touched down from close range after constant pressure deep inside the home 22 was met with sterling defence until the former Tongan international crashed through a double tackle to the right of the posts, with Clements-Hill converting.

On 73 minutes Clements-Hill received the ball 10m from the line with plenty to do, but the cover failed to prevent his arm grounding the ball by the corner flag. Despite having missed a conversion from a similar position earlier, his fine kick arced between the posts to tie the scores.

The remainder of the game was played in the home half, and A’s eventually managed to get the ball away from the last collapsed scrum – only for fly-half Tarrant’s drop goal attempt to slide past the posts.

Amps director of rugby Mark Lavery said: “It shows how far we’ve come as a squad when we come to the deserved champions elect and are disappointed with a draw.

“Our pack were outstanding with the front row in particular having a great day.”