Ampthill 07/03/21


19Doncaster Knights

1:00 pm · March 7, 2021

Pinpoint Olver secures late win.

Doncaster Knights began the 2021 Championship campaign with a 17-19 battling away win against Ampthill.

A Sam Olver conversion in the 78thminute completed a perfect kicking display for the fly-half & secured the Knights narrow victory.

Donny started the game brightly, holding the upper hand at scrum time & getting plenty of purchase through their hard-carrying forwards with the likes of John Kelly, Guido Volpi and Bomber Hislop punching holes in the home defenses.

The Ampthill line was not to be breached in the early exchanges but twice Olver was able to convert penalties to establish a 0-6 lead after twenty minutes.

Having weathered the early pressure Ampthill made their way downfield following a midfield penalty & set about driving at the Knights line. Good aggression repelled the driving maul but from the base the Ampthill forwards carried and flanker Joe Bercis found a gap to squeeze through. Louis Grimoldby converted to put The As in the lead.

The rest of the first half was evenly fought and while the Knights controlled possession and territory, the hosts looked dangerous in broken play and on the counter attack. Olver added a third penalty on 35 minutes and Donny went into the break with a two-point lead.

It did not last long, however, as Ampthill returned from the sheds with real purpose and dotted down for a second try moments after the restart. A smart chip forward was collected by a retreating by Kyle Evans and under heavy pressure the ball came loose with centre Joe Roberts diving on it in goal.

The Knights reaction to going behind was immediate with Jack Spittle breaking smartly after a wayward kick from Grimoldby. The winger found Charlie Foley in support who did well to carry to within a metre of but could not hold onto possession with the line beckoning.

A reckless challenge on Mark Best from Jarryd Sage saw the midfielder sin binned and Olver levelled the scores with another successful penalty.

The numerical disadvantage did not deter Ampthill as they scored a smart try to reestablish a lead with Alex Humfrey profiting on some defensive disorganization to score out wide.

With fifteen minutes to play the home side’s confidence was high and the Knights could easily have gone into their shells in the closing stages. Instead they rose to the challenge and from a solid scrum platform were able to see out the win.

A series of scrum penalties resulted in two sin-binnings for the hosts, firstly Humfrey for a deliberate knock on from a James Mitchell pass at the base then replacement loose head Alex Pleasants for repeated scrum infringements

The home defence refused to crumble but eventually, with penalty advantage, Best launched a looming wide pass to Kyle Evans. The winger collected with plenty still to do but finished calmly for his third try in as many appearances in 2021.

The try made it 17-17 with the kick to come, leaving all eyes on Sam Olver. Wide to the right hand side of the posts, the conversion was far from a formality but the stand off struck it with aplomb. The ball sailed between the uprights to make it five successful kicks from five attempts and nudge the Knights into the lead with time running out.

The Knights recovered the restart and were able to control possession to close out the game. Far from a vintage display but a winning start to the new campaign against an Ampthill side who will surely cause plenty of sides problems this campaign, especially at Dillingham Park.


Match Statistics

Ampthill XV | 15 Tom Hudson, 14 Will Brown, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Jarryd Sage (Josh Hallett 67′), 11 Spencer Sutherland, 10 Louis Grimoldby (C), 9 Matt Marsh (Jonny Law 53′), 1 James Flynn (Alex Pleasants 56′), 2 Dave Ward (Sydney Blackmore 56′), 3 Aleki Lutui (Harvey Beaton 67′), 4 Charlie Beckett, 5 Llewelyn Jones (Billy Johnson 59′), 6 Alex Humfrey, 7 Joe Bercis, 8 Sam Hudson (Devante Onojaife 46′).

Replacements |16 Sydney Blackmore 17 Alex Pleasants, 18 Harvey Beaton, 19 Billy Johnson, 20 Devante Onojaife, 21 Jonny Law, 22 Russell Bennett, 23 Josh Hallett.

Try; Bercis 28′, Roberts 43, Humfrey 60′


Cons; Grimoldby 29′

Knights XV | 15 Tom Bacon (Billy McBryde 64′), 14 Kyle Evans 13 James Newey (Charlie Foley 48’) 12 Mark Best 11 Jack Spittle 10 Sam Olver 9 James Mitchell, 1 Bomber Hislop (c) (Conrad Cade 73′), 2 George Roberts (Will Holling 52’), 3 Gaz Denman (Joe Jones 46′), 4 Will Britton (Matt Challinor 64′), 5 Matt Smith (Jerry Sexton 48’), 6 John Kelly, 7 Sam Graham, 8 Guido Volpi.

Replacements | 16 Conrad Cade 17 Will Holling 18 Joe Jones 19 Matt Challinor 20 Jerry Sexton 21 Reiss Cullen 22 Billy McBryde 23 Charlie Foley

Try Evans 76′

Pen Olver 8′, 22′, 36′, 56′

Cons Olver 77′

Our Partners