PLYMOUTH ALBION 18 AMPTHILL 13
ALBION returned to winning ways with a hard-earned home victory over Ampthill on Saturday.
After back-to-back defeats against Blackheath and Darlington Mowden Park, it was a much-needed four points for Graham Dawe’s young side.
Albion, with the wind at their backs, dominated territory in the first half, but struggled to turn that into points, mainly due to Ampthill’s impressive work at the line-outs.
Teenage fly-half Billy Searle did kick a penalty on 30 minutes to give his side the lead after missing an earlier effort.
And, right on the stroke of half-time, captain Jake Murphy went over for a try on the left after good pressure from a scrum.
That gave the home side an 8-0 half-time advantage against an Ampthill side, who included former Albion players Ben Gulliver and Elliot Clements-Hill in their line-up.
The weather had not been too bad for the opening 40 minutes, apart from the strong wind, but second half conditions were horrible, with torrential rain driving across the pitch and making the playing surface, which had not fully recovered from the Darlington match, heavy.
The second half was held up for nearly seven minutes at the start due to an injury to Ampthill prop Lewis Brunger.
When play did resume, Nile Dacres made a powerful run that earned Albion a five-metre scrum. The home side had dominated the scrums and after Ampthill had been penalised twice referee Gareth Hallsgrove awarded a penalty try. Searle converted to make it 15-0.
Ampthill had prop Henry Peck sin-binned midway through the half, but while he was off Clements-Hill kicked two penalties for the visitors to make it 15-6.
Searle, though, responded with one of his own to give Albion a 12-point advantage.
It looked like that was how the game was going to end but deep in injury-time Ampthill rescued a bonus point when replacement Harry Agnew went over and Clements-Hill converted.
Albion: Ethan Ford, Tom Putt, Jake Murphy (capt), Marc Koteczky, Harrison Cully, Billy Searle, Matt Shepherd, Ollie Dawe, James Penman, Christian Judge, Dan Collier, Ed Holmes, Nile Dacres, Sam Matavesi, Herbie Stupple. Reps: Rupert Freestone, Gregory Sebastien, Cameron Thompson, Cameron Setter, Robin Wedlake.
Ampthill: Elliot Clements-Hill, Jonny Morgan, Elliott Reeder, Maxwell Wilkins, Gavin Williams, Cameron Keenan, Lewis Brunger, James Fish, Aleki Lutui (capt), Ben Gulliver, Josh Tyler, Tom Nutley, Matthew Burke, Darrell Dyer. Reps: Henry Peck, Matthew Collins, Harry Agnew, Kieran Duffin, Stuart Livesey.
Scorers: Albion: Tries: Murphy, Penalty; Con: Searle; Pens: Searle 2
Ampthill: Try: Agnew; Con: Clements-Hill; Pens: Clements-Hill 2
Cards: Albion: None; Ampthill: Peck (yellow)