Nottingham brightened up a damp and miserable Friday night with a dominant performance at The Bay, coming away with a resounding 39-0 victory over Ampthill.
The win is even more impressive when you consider that Ampthill came into the game in excellent form, having won four of their last five games with their only loss coming to third place Coventry.
Thanks to the horrible weather, the first half was very much dominated by the kicking game. Neither side wanted to give up territory and there wasn’t a stand-out chance for either team until 15 minutes in. David Williams kicked the ball over the top of the defence and chased after it, reaching it inside the Ampthill 22 and continuing to try and kick it to himself. Unfortunately this time he wasn’t able to get back to it and the ball roll past the dead ball line.
Ampthill nearly got the first try themselves 25 minutes in when Sam Hollinsworth’s kick went straight into touch and they were awarded a lineout 15 metres out. Samson Adejimi peeled off the subsequent driving maul and got inches away from the try line before he was tackled. Nottingham were awarded a penalty a few phases later and were able to clear their lines, keeping the game scoreless.
Nottingham eventually got on the scoreboard at the half hour mark. Michael Stronge gave a quick pass to Williams running the short line, catching the Ampthill defence off guard. The scrambling defenders couldn’t keep up with Williams, who raced to the try line for the score.
They then doubled their lead minutes later with a fantastic try from Jordan Olowofela. The full back kept in the clearing kick in his own half, and then ran all the way through the defence to dive over the try line and make the score 14-0 heading into half time.
Ampthill came out of the break doing all they could to get back into the game, but some excellent defence from Nottingham on the try line kept them out multiple times.
After the Green and White’s stout defending, there was a mad scramble in the mud at the Ampthill 22. Nottingham were awarded a penalty, which Hollingsworth kicked straight through the uprights to not only extend the lead to 17, but to score his 100th point of the season.
With 15 minutes left, Williams got the second half tries going with his second try of the night. Taking a great line from the ruck, he burst through the defence and leaped dramatically over the try line.
That was only the third try of the game though, and Nottingham wanted the bonus point. They found wit with 10 minutes to go and this time it was Jordan Olowofela’s turn to score his second try. Nottingham spread it out wide from a lineout at the 22, and the full back used his speed to outpace, handing off the final defender to push over the try line.
After that, Ampthill looked to have given up, as Craig Hammonds men ran up the score with two more tries in the closing five minutes. The captain Nathan Tweedy pushed over the line in the corner to get on the scoresheet, and Sefa Maloney Fiaola scored his first try for the club finishing off a well-worked move started with another fantastic Williams run.