Match Report v Ampthill
Posted: 26th December 2019
Bedford Blues were looking for a knockout punch on a Boxing Day encounter but ended up with a truly bloodied nose as a resilient Ampthill took the spoils 10-23 in front of a sold out Goldington Road.
Despite dominating proceedings in the first half, the Blues found themselves on the ropes in the second as they shipped 20 points to an Ampthill side who will be delighted to rack up a third win of the season over Mike Rayer’s charges.
“The guys are all very, very, very disappointed,” said Blues fly half Will Hooley after the final whistle. “But we’ve got to go away, lick our wounds and get back to it.
“We put ourselves under a lot of pressure but this is fixable stuff and we’ll have some honest hard chats after the festive break. We’ve got to stick together as we are the only ones that can get this right. We’ve got to believe in what we do as when we do it right, it’s very good. We’ve just got to cut out the silly penalties and stop getting involved in things that we shouldn’t be.”
With the game being a sell out, it was always going to be a tense affair and it was clear from the off that tempo was going to remain high from the start. Bedford lost an early lineout but soon had the ball back in their possession with James Lennon and Will Hooley linking up to release Joe Atkinson and Dan Temm but the Ampthill defence remained firm.
After soaking up a lot of pressure in the opening five minutes, Ampthill went on the attack following a penalty at the scrum which then set up another penalty opportunity. Which Louis Grimoldby looked to convert but his effort went wide of the sticks.
Ampthill kept up the pressure and got their reward in the 13th minute when another penalty presented itself and Grimoldby dispatched it with ease.
Having coughed up an early penalty at the scrum, the Blues pack started to dominate their opposite numbers and clearly had the upper hand which led to numerous first half penalties. Bedford sent the ball into the Ampthill 22 then looked for a training ground move between Lennon, Atkinson, Robbie Smith and Temm but the ball went to ground at the crucial moment.
The Blues backs were seeing plenty of the ball with Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas and Matt Worley exploiting gaps while Dean Adamson and Pat Tapley chased everything out wide. The returning Rich Lane was shown plenty of space in the 25th minute with support before Jarrod Sage threw himself in front of Onojaife with the Ampthill man having to leave the field soon after.
Bedford continued to press and they crossed for the first try of the afternoon in the 32nd minute. It came, unsurprisingly, from another dominating scrum. Lennon looked to snipe over but when he was unable Alafoti Fa’osiliva was on hand to plough through the try line defence to score his first Blues try which Hooley converted.
Ampthill saw more ball after conceding but were unable to find a way through the stubborn Blues defence who almost went through again but Worley couldn’t take in a final pass and the half soon ended.
Heading up the slope, Bedford made a poor start as they failed to take in the kick-off with Ampthill winning a penalty at the resulting scrum which Grimoldby sent through the posts.
Two minutes later and things got even worse as the Blues were under the cosh with a well placed kick which the defender had to take into touch. Ampthill’s lineout maul was unstoppable with hooker Syd Blackmore the man to dot down with Grimoldby adding the extras.
Bedford fired back with an attack and with a penalty advantage, Worley raced through to chase his own grubber but Ampthill recovered before the ref went back to the infringement with Hooley converting to narrow the gap.
But that was as close as it went for Bedford in the second half as the ball soon found its way into the Blues 22 and Ampthill were awarded a scrum just five metres from the line. Bedford held firm but a looping Grimoldby pass found Sam Baker on the wing and he breezed over with his provider hitting a fine conversion from the touchline to make it 10-20.
Tempers were beginning to fray with players clashing throughout the second half and on one occasion a penalty went to the visitors with Grimoldby more than happy to convert to extends his sides lead.
Time started ticking away and Bedford were struggling to breach the Ampthill defence who were throwing themselves in front of everything - legally or illegally! Shay Kerry was binned with minutes left on the clock and when the Ampthill defence repelled a driving maul and then won the scrum, the game was pretty much up.
Bedford had one late flurry as they looked for a losing bonus point as more penalties followed, but a grubber from Grayson Hart didn’t find its target and the visitors thumped the ball to touch to seal the win.
15. Rich Lane, 14. Pat Tapley, 13. Matt Worley, 12. Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas, 11. Dean Adamson, 10. Will Hooley, 9. James Lennon; 1. Sean McCarthy (Capt), 2. Robbie Smith, 3. Henry Paul, 4. Jordan Onojaife, 5. Will Carrick Smith, 6. Dan Temm, 7. Joe Atkinson, 8. Alafoti Fa’osiliva.
16. Jacob Fields, 17. Joe Wrafter, 18. Alex Penny, 19. Ed Taylor, 20. Huw Worthington, 21. Grayson Hart, 22. Sam Leeming, 23. Ryan Hutler.
15. Karim Lynch, 14. Spencer Sutherland, 13. Jarryd Sage, 12. Serafin Bordoli, 11. Sam Baker, 10. Louis Grimoldby (Capt), 9. Leon Fukofuka; 1. Soane Tonga’uiha, 2. Syd Blackmore, 3. Aleki Lutui, 4. Billy Johnson, 5. Shay Kerry, 6. Jac Arthur, 7. Joe Bercis, 8. Sam Hudson.
16. Dave Ward, 17. Luvuyo Pupuma, 18. Matt Collins, 19. Carl Burgess, 20. Facundo Dominguez, 21. Darryl Veenendaal, 22. Sam Hanks, 23. Will Foster.