Lavery hopes officials stay strong as A's head to Plymouth

Ampthill's Aleki Lutui
Ampthill's Aleki Lutui

Ampthill director of rugby Mark Lavery hopes the match officials remain strong when his side travel to Plymouth Albion this afternoon in National One.

The third-placed visitors make the long trip to the Brickfields Stadium to take on their opponents, currently second in the division, as position they will confirm with victory today.

Lavery said: "It’s a big game. They’ve lost once at home this year, then that was to (the division winners) Hartpury.

"It’ll be a big crowd, I’ve no doubt they’ll be in fine voice – I hope the officials are strong enough and not allow themselves to feel the pressure they’ll be under from the home support."

Ampthill beat Plymouth 24-22 in the reverse fixture at Dillingham in December and only just lost 18-13 when they played Albion in Devon last season; so a win for the A’s would move them to within two points of their hosts with two games of the season remaining.

"We’ve selected a match day 20 that’s a mixture of youth and experience, continued Lavery. "Guys like Ben Gulliver, Paino Hehea, Maama Molitika and Aleki Lutui, they’ve been around the block; [Syd] Blackmore and [Joe] Bercis, Matt Collins and James Wright – they bring an energy and enthusiasm.

"I think we’ve got a good balance throughout."

In the back line, Alex Mitchell, the Saracens and England U20 Number 9 forms a half-back partnership with up with Stef Jones at 10; Will Goodge [12] and Elliott Reeder [13] continue in the centre; Sam Baker [left] and Pete Weightman [right] on either wing, and Karim Lynch at full back.

“We’re travelling with a bench that will make an impact in the final half hour,” added Lavery.

"They’ll be favourites to win, given the circumstances, but we’re good too."

Kick off at Plymouth’s Brickfields Stadium is 3pm