Bonus point delight as Ampthill get the better of Preston

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Ampthill picked up a good win over Preston in their first ever visit to Lightfoot Green Lane as the sun shone on a perfect pitch for running rugby.

Amps made light work of the long journey, starting strongly by driving the ball deep into the hosts’ 22 before flanker Joseph Bercis shimmied past his marker to cross the line in the fifth minute, with fly-half Joseph Tarrant converting the try.

Just three minutes later the visitors produced sustained pressure, and eventually lock Paino Hehea gave a scoring pass to unmarked winger Michael Di Ponio for an unconverted try.

Ampthill were guilty of poor discipline too often during the first half, allowing Preston to convert a penalty after a ruck offence.

From the kick-off Amps were soon back on the attack; tight head Matthew Collins carried to the line where hooker Viliami Ma’asi picked up and smuggled the ball over the line by the left corner flag.

A second ruck offence saw the hosts convert a more difficult penalty goal leaving the scoreline at 6-17.

With 25 minutes played, Ampthill secured the bonus point with a training ground move which saw Di Ponio take an inside ball from Tarrant to break and touch down, with Tarrant converting.

The hosts now had their best period of the game, but just as it seemed inevitable that Preston would score before half-time, centre Brendan Burke intercepted an ambitious pass inside his own 22 and raced the length of the field for a converted try.

The hosts converted another penalty, resulting in a score of 9-31 at half-time.

The second half belonged to Amps who scored four more tries through a penalty try, blind side flanker Bradley Scharff, a third for Di Ponio and replacement scrum-half Kieran Duffin. Tarrant converted three.

Ampthill director of rugby Mark Lavery said: “It was a good result but now we focus on next week’s home game against Hull Ionians.”