Late show from Ampthill denies Old Albanian a bonus point

Nick Stevens scored one of three OAs tries against Ampthill. Picture: DANNY LOO

Nick Stevens scored one of three OAs tries against Ampthill. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Archant

Two late tries meant Old Albanian ended 2016 missing out on a bonus point in a 43-19 defeat at Ampthill.

They managed three tries of their own, through Nick Stevens, Morgan Thompson and a penalty try, but were unable to get a fourth and the late scores were enough for their hosts to rack up a sixth straight National One win.

The defeat means OAs head into the New Year in ninth place but 12 points clear of the relegation spots.

Ampthill on the other hand are living up to their pre-season prediction of promotion challengers in third.

The Bedfordshire side’s lofty position was a clue to the fact that this was always going to be a tough fixture.

And while OAs had the edge in the backs, Ampthill were on top up front and their set-piece dominance allowed the majority of the play in the first half to take place in the visitors’ half.

A penalty and an unconverted try gave them the lead before Stevens finished a fine piece of play that started inside their own 22.

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But Ampthill’s pack continued their pressure and two converted scores gave the hosts a 22-5 lead at the break.

To their credit Albanian made it a tough battle in the second half and were first on the board with the penalty score, awarded after an infringement from Sam Baker, which earned the Ampthill winger a yellow card.

OAs couldn’t capitalise on the extra man however, and a penalty try for the hosts restored the half-time advantage.

The visitors weren’t done and when Thompson went over following a quick tap penalty, the score was 29-19.

But those late efforts, the first yet another penalty try, condemned Albanian to a fruitless visit.

They will begin 2017 with a home game against old foes Cambridge on January 7.