Promoted Coventry humbled by Amps
Ampthill ................ 22pts Coventry .............. 10pts
AMPTHILL head coach Paul Turner was thrilled to see his side get the better of Championship-bound Coventry.
The hosts out-scored Coventry by two tries to one with James Pritchard also nailing four penalties.
Turner said: “After our cave-in at Butts Arena before Christmas this was always a game firmly in our sights.
“To a man, the team and the bench were outstanding. We followed out game plan and although behind at half time stuck at it.
“The players deserve huge credit for beating a team as good as Coventry, we wish them the best of luck in the Championship next season.”
The game began, as it would continue for much of the first half, with Ampthill retaining possession for long periods.
In fact, there was six minutes on the clock before a Coventry player touched the ball but despite having the better of territory for much of the half and some extended red zone possession A’s were unable to cross the whitewash.
Coventry were reduced to interceptions and turnover breakouts from defence which the home side's scramble defence managed to contain until the 36th minute.
The visitor's took advantage of a turnover to set up siege deep in the Ampthill 22 resulting in hooker Scott Tolmie crashing over from close range, fly-half Will Maisey adding the extras leaving the score 7-0.
Almost straight from the restart, the visitors were penalised at a breakdown in front of the posts and full-back Pritchard made no mistake with the 41st minute penalty goal.
Just four minutes later Coventry were penalised again and Pritchard struck the ball cleanly between the posts to reduce the deficit to one point.
Discipline issues were to become a significant feature of the game as the visitors got on the wrong side of the referee too frequently.
The 57th minute saw Maisey slot a penalty goal of his own which was almost immediately cancelled out by another from Pritchard on 61 minutes. The restart was recovered by Ampthill and a superb break from inside the home 22 eventually resulted in flanker Joe Bercis recording his 13th try of the season wide on the right on
63 minutes. Trailing for the first time in the game Coventry became a touch fractious resulting in two yellow cards in close succession sandwiching a fine forwards try from Amps prop George Thornton who crashed over from a goal line ruck on 70 minutes for an unconverted try.
With a nine-point lead and a two-man advantage, A’s were able to see out the remainder of the game even extending the lead on 78 minutes with another Pritchard penalty goal resulting in a 22-10 final score.
Coventry director of rugby Roland Winter said: “We lacked accuracy, our discipline was poor and we didn’t look after the ball which made it hard.”
Threat: Ampthill’s try-scorer Joe Bercis makes a break
Held: Coventry’s George Oram is halted in his tracks