Marfo try sees Park up to third and end A’s streak

The Rugby Paper - - National League 1 - By WILL BECK­MAN

AMPTHILL head coach Paul Turner lamented a late strate­gi­cal er­ror from his side as the A’s saw their five-game un­beaten run ended by pro­mo­tion ri­vals Ross­lyn Park.

The visi­tors were awarded a penalty with five min­utes left at The Rock as they trailed 10-3, pre­sent­ing a golden op­por­tu­nity to seek the try that would have earned them a draw.

How­ever, Turner’s men in­stead opted to kick for points in the hope they could over­turn the score com­pletely, al­low­ing Park to see out a nar­row vic­tory.

“There was no point tak­ing the kick,” a crest­fallen Turner said af­ter the match.

“We were putting a load of pres­sure on them so we should have ei­ther scrummed or looked for a tap down – I’m dis­ap­pointed we didn’t do that.

“The call was made to try and get the win but we hadn’t played well from deep all game.

“We hadn’t scored from 60 me­tres back all day so I didn’t think we were go­ing to do it in the last four min­utes.

“It was prob­a­bly a point lost more than a point gained, but such is life.”

The home side had not beaten Ampthill in five at­tempts since 2015 but they dom­i­nated a phys­i­cal first half and headed in with a 10-0 lead.

The game’s only try ar­rived af­ter just eight min­utes, as Park’s top tryscorer Benji Marfo crossed for the fifth time this sea­son fol­low­ing a maul on the wing.

Greg Lound then found the posts from a dif­fi­cult an­gle to add the ex­tras and it wasn’t long be­fore he had con­verted a penalty to ex­tend the lead, fol­low­ing a fine in­ter­cep­tion from skip­per Adam Framp­ton.

Ampthill had no an­swer to Park’s ef­fi­cient play and as the sec­ond half be­gan they were on course for their fourth de­feat in six away matches this sea­son.

“Our pat­tern of play away from home is to cut out the er­rors and start well, but we didn’t do ei­ther of those things to­day,” Turner con­tin­ued.

“When you make as many er­rors as we did you get what you de­serve.”

James Pritchard re­stored some hope for the A’s shortly af­ter the restart by grab­bing a penalty goal,

and as the clock ticked down Park were be­gin­ning to strug­gle as they re­mained hemmed in­side their own half.

But Wil­son’s penalty meant the game ended 10-6 and en­sured they recorded a first win over Ampthill in six at­tempts, much to the de­light of de­fen­sive coach Jor­dan Turner-Hall.

“You can never play the per­fect game so you have to take the re­sult when you can get it,” he said.

“Ampthill are a top-four team and we put in a good shift, es­pe­cially in de­fence, so as de­fen­sive coach I’ve got to be happy with that.

Park move up to third in the ta­ble with the win while Ampthill are sixth, but Turner-Hall re­mains un­in­ter­ested in any pro­mo­tion talk for now.

“You’ve got to be re­al­is­tic,” he said.

“If we stick to our pro­cesses and stay in the chase then I’m happy with that for now.”

PIC­TURES: David E Whit­tam

Pile up: Ol­lie Mor­ris scores a try for Ross­lyn Park un­der a pile of bodies

Full stretch: Park skip­per Adam Framp­ton rules the li­ne­out

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