Ampthill 18 – 20 Doncaster Knights
A last-gasp try from wing Jack Spittle was enough to secure Doncaster Knights’ first away win of the 2021/22 Championship season.
Against a determined Ampthill side at a windswept Dillingham Park, the Knights made life hard for themselves as they initially went 15 points down – the half-time scoreboard reading 18-3 in the home side’s favour.
Ampthill were the first on the board with an early penalty slotted by fly-half Russell Bennett before Sam Olver levelled things – points which would prove to be his and the Knights’ last of the half.
The home side, on the other hand, pushed on as they scored two uncoverted tries before the break. Both came from forwards as Charlie Beckett and Billy Harding benefited from strong rolling mauls from their side.
The teams re-emerged for the second half with the Knights seeming more in a game mode, but continual errors faltered their attacking prowess in the early stages.
Tides changed when, having only just arrived on the pitch, Billy McBryde placed a brilliantly weighted kick into Ampthill’s 22, setting the Knights up for a tap and go which Sam Hudson was only too happy to benefit from – he barrelled over for the five points.
Having suffered two yellow cards in quick succession – for Harry Seward and Carl Burgess – Ampthill were soon under more pressure from a renewed Knights attack.
The forwards were pivotal to the second Knights score of the day. Great work from the lineout allowed for quick ball to be given to Mark Best who ran the try in unchallenged, quickly followed by the conversion from Olver. It was now a three point game.
At the death, the Knights fans and supporters alike were stunned as the Doncaster side went from defending a lineout on the five metre line to scoring. Jack Spittle burst out of contact, screaming down the line for a lung-busting run to the line to dot down for the deciding score.
The Knights by no means made it easy for themselves but a win is a win in the grand scheme of a season, so this could prove to be an important result come the tail end of the season.
Ampthill XV | 15 Joe Luca Smith; 14 Joe Goodchild, 13 Tom Hudson, 12 Ollie Hartley, 11 Josh Skelcey; 10 Russell Bennett, 9 Kevin Barrett; 1 Sam Crean, 2 Billy Harding, 3 Aleki Lutui, 4 Charlie Beckett (c), 5 Llewelyn Jones, 6 Jac Arthur, 7 Austin Wallis, 8 Morgan Monks.
Replacements | 16 Jack Dickinson, 17 George Thornton, 18 Harry Seward, 19 Carl Burgess, 20 Ollie Stonham, 21 Ewan Fenley, 22 Josh Sharp, 23 Reece Dunn.
Tries; Wallis, Beckett, Harding.
Doncaster Knights XV | 15 Harry Davey, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Fraser Strachan, 12 Mark Best,11 Jack Spittle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Conrad Cade, 2 George Edgson, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Danny Drake, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Jack Davies, 7 Sam Graham (C), 8 Guido Volpi.
Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 John Kelly, 20 Sam Hudson, 21 Joe Green, 22 Joe Margetts, 23 Billy McBryde.
Tries; Hudson, Best, Spittle.