Old Amplefordians 15 Trinity 43
Trinity had some amends to make after their last sub-standard performance.
Playing into a strong wind in the first half, they began very tidily. A strong scrum won a penalty which was kicked to touch on the hosts’ 22 and lock Dave Spedding took a clean catch to set up a maul which led to a second penalty when Amplefordians collapsed it. Spedding repeated his part and from the ensuing play scrum half Matt Hoyles passed to fly half Marc McEvilly who forced his way over for the opening score after only 2 minutes.
Amplefordians now launched a flowing attack, showing good handling in the line but this was stopped with sound tackling and a fine turnover from centre Temi Okenla. Ampleford came again and won a penalty which was converted by fly half Josh Reid to narrow the gap to 2 points.
An excellent kick-off by full back Jack Greenwood won Mids a line out which was taken by No.8 George Daniels who set up the maul. A well-managed series of mean picks and drives brought Trinity to the line and Hoyles did well to retain possession and find McEvilly again who dummied inside and crossed for his second try and a 10-3 lead for Trinity on 16 minutes.
Again, Ampleford replied quickly and the backs showed their paces to move the ball swiftly and send centre Finn Hutchinson over on the right. 10-8 to Trinity. Amplefordians were doing their best to play running rugby in difficult conditions, but they were completely overpowered by the Trinity scrum with props Nathan Bacon and Jacques Bryant enjoying themselves and skipper Ali Hall managing drives and mauls and showing pace on the burst. Ampleford defended resolutely but a fine counter-ruck initiated by Daniels won Trinity a good position for which flanker Ben Vaillant embarked on a fine weaving run which set up the platform for some relentless Mids’ pressure. Spedding won line outs and the Mids’ maul and pick and drive tactics battered the home line. Somehow Amplefordians kept them out and when Trinity did get over the line they were deemed to be “held up”. Eventually the pressure told when the visitors’ scrum must have driven all of 15 metres and, with the referee playing good advantage the ball was passed quickly along the line for Spedding to score by the posts. Greenwood converted and Trinity were well pleased with a margin of 17-8 at the interval.
Mids were soon on the offensive after the break and they turned the screw with scrum pressure. Ampleford defended extremely well but eventually had to succumb in the 47th minute when they were pushed over and Daniels got the touchdown to win the visitors their bonus point. They followed up 8 minutes later with a fluent passage of play. Harry Wilson, now playing at scrim half released Dean who exchanged passes with Okenla and set up a ruck from which McEvilly made a break and unloaded to Spedding for the latter’s second try. Greenwood converted and the score was now 29-8. Amplefordians would not lie down and forced their way back uphill against the elements with a number of penalties, but their Trojan efforts were frustrated by another trademark Dean tackle.
Veteran Dom Plumb now replaced Bryant at prop and Mids continued to dominate the scrum. They drove the set piece a full 10 metres to the line and Wilson touched down for another 7 pointer on 67 minutes. Ampleford kept their heads up and came again only for Vaillant to win a classic trurnover. They were not finished, however, and produced a really well-worked move with excellent handling and nearly scored in the right corner where Trinity knocked on. It seemed that the visitors would spoil things for them again by taking their scrum, but a quick heel gave them a platform from which the impressive Reid scored with an incisive sidestep. He converted himself for a deserved 7 points.
Trinity finished off the scoring with a flowing move from right to left which involved almost the entire back line, before winger Ben Edmondson streaked clear and around under the posts. Greenwood added the extras to make the final score 43-15 to Trinity.
This was an entertaining match in such difficult conditions and credit to both sides for endeavouring to play good rugby. The scrum was the decisive factor. Skipper Ali Hall was well pleased with the commitment and coach Andy Edwards picked out McEvilly as a strong carrier who made a big impact.