Pro­moted Coven­try hum­bled by Amps

Ampthill ................ 22pts Coven­try .............. 10pts

The Rugby Paper - - Championship | National League 1 - By WAR­REN KAY

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.”

PIC­TURES: Tim Bartlett

Threat: Ampthill’s try-scorer Joe Ber­cis makes a break

Held: Coven­try’s George Oram is halted in his tracks

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