Nottingham survived a scary encounter with an energetic Ampthill team on a pleasant Saturday afternoon at The Bay, scoring three tries in the final fifteen minutes to make it two wins from two in the Championship.
Despite being the first on the scoreboard through a great team try finished by Joseph Woodward eight minutes in, Nottingham found themselves in a hole after the first twenty minutes of the game. After conceding the first try, Ampthill rallied and scored two quick tries getting up to a 14-5 lead.
Their first came through Ben Chapman and the second from Harvey Beaton, who squeezed his way through a gap in the defensive line after some impressive try line defence from Nottingham.
The second try was a huge wakeup call for Nottingham, and they quickly got their act together, driving their way up the pitch and even getting over the line but the referee ruled it had been held up. However, that wasn’t the end of the attack as it was brought back for a Nottingham penalty, which they kicked to the corner and quickly spread out wide where Harry Graham had acres of space to get over the line for the try.
They dominated possession for the rest of the first half, and scored two quick tries in the final minutes before the break. Morgan Bunting sold a delicious dummy to create a gap and get over the line for the first one, and then Marcus Ramage and Ellis Mee linked up nicely on the left wing to get through the defence and add the bonus point try and create a 12 point lead.
Nottingham’s good momentum didn’t carry on into the second half, unfortunately. After Ampthill fired a couple of warning shots with some big opportunities, it was ill discipline which ultimately cost the Archers. They gave away a penalty from a lineout, something they had done a number of times in the previous few minutes, and Ampthill kicked to the corner. They utilised the driving maul from the lineout and then spread it out wide where Josh Skelcey was able to find a gap and get over the line.
The visitors then continued to dominate and scored the go ahead try after a number of good attacks, Pete White keeping his feet through a tackle and scrambling over the line.
However, losing the lead once again lit a fire under Nottingham and they came straight back scoring three tries in the final fifteen minutes of the game.
Ramage got his second in the left corner to retake the lead for the Green and Whites just a couple of moments after White had put Ampthill ahead.
Harry Clayton then added to it, finishing a well executed driving maul from a lineout, and David Williams thought he’d got his name on the scoresheet in the final minute, racing through the defensive line and getting the ball down. However he was too quick for his own good, as the referee ruled that he’d stepped over the dead ball line before putting the ball down.
Come Joussain did push his way over the line with the last action of the game to make it another excellent seven-try performance from Nottingham, making the final score 41-28.
Both teams will be put to the test again next week, with Ampthill playing host to Coventry and Nottingham travelling to Castle Park to take on Doncaster Knights.