Fylde were slow out of the blocks at National One top five club Ampthill and struggled to get parity after conceding two tries in the opening 20 minutes at the Bedfordshire club’s picturesque Dillingham Park ground. A much better 2nd half performance gave them a foothold in the contest but silly errors continue to undermine their chances against strong opponents.
Ampthill fly-half Josh Sharp and no 8 Chris West scored tries in the 8th and 20th minutes respectively, one coming from an interception, a familiar Fylde gift to their opponents. The visitors battled hard against a strong wind but were under the cosh against a very strong pack. In the 31st minute Ampthill’s familiar tactic following a penalty in their favour was a kick to the corner, a driving lineout and eventually a try by lock Alex Woodford. All three tries were converted by the accomplished kicker Sharp and his side led at the interval with a comfortable score of 21-0.
With the benefits of the wind in the 2nd half and a step up in intensity, Fylde got back into the match. In the 47th minute, their debutant lock Olli Parkinson drove over for his side’s first points. Fly-half Greg Smith was unable to add the conversion.
This was much more like it as a scorching break by their backs ended with winger Tom Grimes touching down. Unfortunately, an eagle eyed assistant referee spotted a foot in touch and it was ruled out.
The last ten minutes was all action as Ampthill centre Sam Hanks scored his side’s bonus point-earning 4th try, converted by replacement Lawrence Raynor. Then, a scything run by Tom Carleton set up a try for Greg Smith. He added the extras and the score was 28-12.
Ampthill had the last laugh when in the 78th minute former Canadian international fullback James Pritchard scored under the posts, converted by Raynor. Fylde have yet to win at Dillingham Park after three attempts but there were positive aspects of their performance on which they can build. With league leaders Coventry visiting the Woodlands next Saturday, the young Lancastrian squad have all the motivation they need to reduce the error count and try to upset the applecart.
Fylde Head Coach Warren Spragg said: “This was probably our best away performance so far. However, we’ll never win a game when we give our opposition a 21 point lead. We can’t expect to beat a team like Ampthill with the number of errors we made and the lads will really need to challenge their skill levels in training this week to be able to play how we want to against Coventry next Saturday. We’re all looking forward to the challenge of hosting top of the league and Saturday can’t come around soon enough!”