Molitika strikes late to snatch the win for Ampthill
Ampthill overcame a feisty Fylde side 25-21 at Dillingham Park on Saturday as No 8 Maama Molitika pounced late to secure a bonus point win.
The Amps squad saw Sydney Blackmore return from injury at openside, William Maisey replace the injured Joseph Tarrant at fly-half and Elliot Reeder rotate to centre.
A’s were caught napping at the kick-off, with Fylde wing Anthony Bingham scoring a third minute try wide on the right; fly-half Thomas Morton converted the score.
The hosts responded in the sixth minute by working the ball through the forwards into the opposition’s half where Fylde were penalised at a ruck 35m out. Full-back Elliot Clements-Hill slotted the penalty to reduce the arrears.
Amps began to exert serious pressure on their visitors, and on 31 minutes the ball was moved quickly across the line for left wing Conor Bullivant to dive over in the corner, with Clements-Hill adding the extras from the touchline.
Ampthill took a 10-7 lead in at half-time, and the second half began with a 43rd minute unconverted try from captain Aleki Lutui, but Fylde came back immediately with a fine 46th minute try from replacement lock Paul Arnold, converted by Horton.
On 58 minutes, Clements-Hill was put clear by scrum half Gavin Williams for a touchdown to the right of the posts, however, his relatively simple conversion drifted across the face of the posts.
With the game poised at 20-14, A’s lost Blackmore to a yellow card, and the visitors took full advantage by securing a 75th minute converted try by wing Oliver Brennand.
Trailing 20-21 with just four minutes to play and a man down, Amps had to dig deep. They held their nerve and the match winning try came from Molitika after good work from centre William Goodge.
Ampthill head coach Paul Turner said: “Having dominated territory in the first half but failed to capitalise on numerous opportunities, we tried hard to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
“But we managed to secure the win at the death after Will Goodge broke the line despite us being a man down.
“Some dull rugby and far too many unforced errors marred this performance; we’ll need to play much better next week at Coventry.”