- Tries: Perry 30, Manning 41, Townsend 63
- Drop goals:
- Tries: James 20, 27, Tyler 43, Baker 50, Pitfield 70,75
- Conversions: Rayner 20,43, 50, 70,
- Drop goals:
Referee: Philip Davies
Half-time: Henley 10 Ampthill 12
Star man: Owen James (Ampthill )
By Nick Piston
No quarter was asked in this fast and furious friendly and the Hawks put in a hugely committed performance against National 1 side Ampthill. However, their strength in the tackle and the speed of their backs meant the visitors had too much for the Hawks although the final score line was a little unjust on the home side.
The early exchanges were dominated by the two back rows with Rob Bell and Dave Hall excelling for the Hawks who dominated the territory and produced some good forward drives. Tom Emery was also prominent in the loose and scrum half Harry Burn kept the visitor’s defence on their toes with a number of sniping runs. There were handling errors from both teams as they tried to get back into ‘game mode’ as the new league season fast approaches. Although the Hawks scrum was under a fair bit of pressure from the Ampthill pack, the line out functioned well.
Eventually, Ampthill, coached by former Wales international Paul Turner, worked their way into the Hawks half and Owen James broke clear, chipped ahead and gathered his own kick to score a fine try. Rayner converted and shortly afterwards, James got his second try after a good break from the back of an attacking scrum and good linking play by both Ampthill wings.
The Hawks fought back well and after a number of forward drives close to the Ampthill line, a gap was created for Simon Perry to cross for the Hawks first try. The visitors backs looked sharp throughout but it was the Hawks who added to their tally just before the break when prop Dave Manning finished off another forwards assault on the Ampthill line to leave the score 12-10 to the visitors at the break.
Ampthill upped the intensity again after the interval and tries from Josh Tyler and Sam Baker, along with two Rayner conversions put the visitors 26-10 ahead. Between these tries, Rob Bell received a yellow card, reducing the home side to 14 men and it looked then as though the Hawks resistance might break.
However, to their great credit, they never gave up and responded with a fine try from Luca Townsend who has recently joined the Hawks from Wimbledon. Quick ball from a scrum allowed Alan Awcock, who looked composed throughout, make a clean break and put Townsend over in the corner.
The visitors showed why they are in National League 1 by playing with speed and a ferocious defence right to the final whistle and two tries from Simon Pitfield in the last ten minutes sealed the match for the visitors.
Despite defeat, this was a promising performance from the Hawks against higher level opposition in their first pre season friendly.
On Saturday, their next pre season game sees the Hawks face a tough Welsh challenge when they travel to Cardiff to face the Cardiff Met University side.
15 Alan Awcock, 14 Xavier Andre, 13 Tom Gardiner, 12 Liam O’Neill, 11 Simon Perry, 10 Adam Lubbock, 9 Harry Burn, 8 Marcus Lowe, 7 Tom Hall, 6 Rob Bell, 5 Dave Clements, 4 Dave Hyde, 3 Dave Manning, 2 Tom Emery, 1 Ian Stock