Soundly Beaten By Ampthill
Today's Reporter: Emma Bassford
In the 1st game of the new year and the first game after a prolonged Christmas break, Hinckley U15s welcomed new opponents Ampthill from Bedfordshire on a sunny but cold Sunday morning. The game was categorised by poor retention of the ball and losing the ball in contact which deprived Hinckley of many scoring opportunities whilst Ampthill thrived in the counterattack.
Hinckley were not helped early on in the game when new star signing Finn DR sprained his knee in a tackle, which means he will be out for 2 weeks, so get well soon Finn! Kian Poulsen came on and Frank Burton moved to outside centre, whilst Ben Deacon moved to inside centre.
The 1st try of the morning came after loads of Hinckley pressure with a few penalties awarded to the home team. Hinckley opted to tap and go every time they got the penalty to keep the game flowing and to hopefully put pressure on the visitors. However as Ed Burgess carries the ball he is ripped of possession and Hinckley are slow to reorganise. A good pass falls into the hands of their abrasive outside centre who brushes off the challenges of Luke Granger and Shaun Hubbard to score in the corner. With their No11 kicking for the sticks and successfully converting Ampthill lead 0-7.
Hinckley get a penalty from the restart but Ampthill’s well drilled defence and rucking means Hinckley loose the ball again. Seb Smith does his best to disrupt play but the visitors score their second in quick succession under the posts. Their left winger, successfully kicks over a simple conversion and Ampthill now lead 0-14.
Retention becomes a bit scrappy for both sides as Hinckley tried to pile on the pressure to get their first score. After a couple of tap and go penalties, Hinckley reach the opposition’s 5m line but Zac Mumford is held up short. Hinckley couldn’t handle Ampthill’s scrum and turned over the ball which was whipped away efficiently to the left winger who showcased raw pace to race in to score Ampthill’s 3rd and converted to bring the score to 0-19. At Lock, Nathan Horton received an injury therefore was substituted for Jacob Bassford.
Now hungry for a score, Hinckley again applied pressure but Ampthill were difficult to break down in defence. Another tap-and-go leads Bassford into making a carry, Hinckley this time managed to retain the ball and a typical powerful Deacon carry put Jonno Davis on some front-foot ball which he passed out to Captain Sansome who bundled his way over just left of the posts to finally power their way for an opening try. Grewcock missed the conversion so the score was 5-19. This resulted in being the halftime score.
Mumford is replaced by Sam Stayte after halftime and Ampthill restart. Hinckley try to reassert dominance through Smith and then Burgess but lose the ball again. Poor defence meant that the opposition scored their 4th in the right corner. Their winger couldn’t convert but it was starting to look like an upward mountain climb for Hinckley to win this game as the score was then 5-24.
At the restart, Ampthill make considerable ground through their robust blindside flanker and score another try which is converted. The score now 5-31.
Ampthill catch the ball off the restart and one of their players makes a dummy but is tackled well and Hinckley get the penalty at the breakdown. Considerable pressure after some good ground made by hooker Jacob Reid. Hinckley recycle well and continue to bash away at the opposition defence from the forwards and crashball centre Deacon. This lead to an excellent line from Burgess who powered his way through 3 defenders to score on the righthand side of the posts. Grewcock’s conversation just sailed wide of the posts so that meant the score was 10-31.
Ampthill soon got their next try. Hinckley had tried to attack from within their own half through Bassford and Grewcock but ball had been ripped again and Ampthill immediately pounced. With Hinckley’s defence all over the place, their big No4 threw a dummy and beat the cover tackle to score under the posts. Josh Babbs, Sam Dunger and Freddie Colloby all came on whilst Deacon moved back in the pack. Their winger converted well and the score was now at an unseemly unassailable lead of 10-38.
At the restart, the visitors dink the ball over the top of the onrushing defence and the ball is punted ahead to be collected by their centre to immediately add to their score which is converted, score was now 10-45. Ampthill were then allowed too much space to counter and simple pace combined with poor defence meant that they got another try in quick succession. A superb conversion from the winger left the score at 52-10.
Hinckley now seemed to look for a mere consolation to make the scoreline more respectable for the home side. The forwards made carry after carry but then the ref judged Sansome to be held up. Hinckley managed to recycle the ball at the base and Grewcock received it. Finally, the Ampthill defensive dam burst and Hinckley got what would be their final try of the afternoon through the forwards hard graft, Sansome again. Hubbard succeeded in his conversation attempt. Hinckley 17 Ampthill 52.
At the restart, one of the Ampthill players snatched the ball out of Smith’s grasp in the air before gathering it superbly. He was eventually brought down by some last-ditch defence but there were opposition players queueing up on the outside so inevitably the visitors scored again just by the posts which was converted.
Hinckley seeked further consolation but it was not to be as Ampthill were able to kick the ball into touch. A tough return to the office for the lads as they were bewildered by Ampthill’s counterattacking and turnovers in the tackle which lead to an uncharacteristic thrashing at home.
Hinckley 17 Ampthill 59