Ampthill RFC battle to opening day win over Rosslyn Park

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Ampthill kicked off their National League One season with an excellent 24-15 victory over Rosslyn Park at Olney Field on Saturday.

Amps first squad of the new season saw debuts in the starting XV and from the bench for a number of summer signings.

They began on the back foot though, conceding a third minute converted try from a well executed catch and drive, something that became a feature of the game as the visitors seemed happy to employ the tactic almost exclusively.

On seven minutes fy half Joseph Tarrant kicked a penalty goal from in front of the posts after Park were penalised at a breakdown.

The next 20 minutes saw a ferocious battle up front between two large and physical packs.

On 30 minutes, with the hosts camped in Rosslyn Park’s 22, scrum half Gavin Williams sniped for a try converted by Tarrant.

Despite much effort from both sides the scoreboard wasn’t troubled in the remainder of the half leaving Ampthill 10-7 ahead at the break.

The second half began in similar manner with both packs tearing into each other but Amps began to get the upper hand in the scrummage leading to a number of kickable penalty goal chances.

Tarrant added three points on 44 and 50 minutes, while full back Steffan Jones followed suot just afterthe hour from inside his own half.

In the meantime Park added a penalty goal of their own leaving the score 19-10.

With five minutes left on the clock and the visitors on the attack the home side were reduced to 13 players within twp minutes when first openside Joseph Bercis received a yellow card followed almost immediately to the bin by Jones.

Rosslyn Park battered the Ampthill line with a series of catch and drives but the hosts defence was outstanding, driving them back and simply refusing to concede.

On 77 minutes, however, the line was breached for an unconverted try.

Now restored to a full complement A’s were back in the visitors 22 when a turnover gave debutant lock Nicholas Isiekwe a run in wide on the right, Tarrant’s conversion striking the upright.

Ampthill head coach Paul Turner said: “This was the best defensive performance since I became coach, everyone made outstanding contributions in very difficult conditions.

“We beat a very good Rosslyn Park side that willbe challenging for honours at the end of the season.

“A titanic struggle upfront just shaded by our magnificent pack.”

Meanwhile, Rosslyn Park head coach Andy Holloway added: “Both sides made mistakes in the conditions but Ampthill turned ours into points.

“The first half was disappointing, playing with the wind our discipline was lacking.

“In the second half I felt we might have sneaked the game but fair play to Ampthill’s defence, they kept us out for the majority of the time they were men down.”

Ampthill visit Old Albanians this weekend.