After 7 minutes centre Bradley Greer made a fine break and then dummied inside to give him a clear run to the line only for a fine tackle from behind to deny him. Mids recycled well and skipper Ali Hall made good ground in the next phase. The ball was spread wide and centre Andrew Dean drove powerfully for the corner and was strong enough to get the ball down for the opening try.
Amplefordians created some promising moves with strong running in midfield and a driving maul that gained fully 30 metres but the Mids defence held firm and the visitors put themselves at a disadvantage with a succession of crooked lineout throws. Another good home scrum followed by a maul put the pressure back on Amplefordians who were forced offside and fly half Dan Crouch stretched the Mids lead to 8-0 after 19 minutes with a confident kick. He repeated the feat 10 minutes later and was ruling the game, pinning Amplefordians back with two fine line kicks.
Then it all changed. A high kick from Ampleford’s Ollie Denton bounced back off Mids full back Ollie Fitzgerald and, though winger Tom Webster covered well, he was isolated and challenged by two attackers who stripped the ball. Winger James Rollings got the touchdown, Denton converted with a bizarrely fortunate fizzing kick and Amplefordians were on the board against the run of play after 33 minutes. Mids came back well. No. 8 George Daniels was leading his forwards intelligently and flanker Ryan Williams looped around on the blind side and unloaded to Hall who was not going to be denied. He forced his way over and Mids had a lead of 16-7. Things were going well for the home team and they had a penalty to the corner just on half time. However, touch was missed and a high clearing kick from Amplefordians was not dealt with by the hosts. The loose ball fell to Amplefordians scrum half Cosmo Fisher who sprinted in unopposed from his own 10 metre line. Denton converted and left Mids with a 16-14 lead which was little to show for their dominance up to this point. In injury time they did come again, this time with a good penalty to touch, a clean lineout take and a move through the middle which saw Greer unload to Daniels who scored by the posts. Crouch converted and it was 23-14 to Mids at the interval.
The wind had freshened by now and was well used by the visitors . They knew that the high kick had produced results and, though the Mids defence dealt rather better with it now, it was but one element in the armoury of much livelier Amplefordians outfit. After 42 minutes they drove a powerful maul into the 22, peeled off and seemed certain to score when Fitzgerald stripped the ball and gave temporary respite to Mids. Amplefordians recycled well and put in centre Hugo Phillips under the posts. Denton converted and the same player gave Amplefordians the lead at 24-23 8 minutes later with a penalty when Mids were penalised and suffered a yellow card about which they felt aggrieved, given that the balance of offences was significantly the other way and no warning had been given. This made things very difficult for the home team, a man down against a rejuvenated Amplefordians side.
They struggled back upfield but a poor pass enable the opposition to put in a telling long kick and Mids were penalised again to give Denton another 3 points.
The Mids scrum was still holding well but on 55 minutes the ball shot into the visitors’ scrum and they exploited this to run with style and throw out a long pass to centre Adam Smith who had a clear run to the posts and another 7 points.
The mountain was huge now for Mids but they constructed two good attacks which saw them camped in the visitors’ 22. They pounded the line and forced Amplefordians to concede a penalty and a yellow card. Opting for the scrum they failed to win clean ball and Amplefordians cleared. Mids then worked their way back to the corner but a key lineout was lost and another opportunity had gone. Amplfordians stretched their lead with a drop goal from Denton and Mids’ misery was complete when their final drive over the line to claim a bonus point was held up and they came away very disappointed from an encounter that had promised so much.