CORNISH ALL BLACKS suffered a 38-23 defeat at the hands of Ampthill and District, signalling the end of their unbeaten home record and placing them closer to the National League Two South relegation battleground.
Spike Rainford, the Launceston side’s head coach, blamed the loss on mistakes made by his side throughout the game.
“We just gave too many penalties away,” he said. “They didn’t score anything from their own work. It was from mistakes and penalties that we gave. They got points pretty much every time. We can’t afford to do that with teams of that standard.
“We pulled it back to two points behind at one point and we were controlling the game. Then we went ten points behind and then we were always chasing the game.”
Despite having some key players out – including Ben Hilton, Neilson Webber and Tom Rawlings – Rainford praised his squad.
“Our team worked well,” he said. “All the guys that were in have been around the squad all season. Our pack was massive, they were just superb. We were good in the scrum and at the line-out but unfortunately we couldn’t convert that into points.
“It’s disappointing that we’ve lost at home but we’ve got to go out and make sure we win the rest of the games this season.”
Ampthill captain, Mamma Molitika was delighted with the result. “It was a good win. We knew it was going to be tough here. All the teams struggle when they come down here. We knew that and we had to play direct and do the basics. We got that right and we went from there.”
The visitors may have travelled back to Bedfordshire with a five-try victory, but the Polson battled on, even when they were trailing and hopes of a comeback were fading. But it was numerous mistakes that let them down.
The first in a long list of penalties was conceded in the opening minutes and the home side was under attack. They gave away another penalty inside the ten metre line and this set up Ampthill’s Alexander Bloisi to score a try.
The hosts picked up three points when Kieron Lewitt kicked a penalty, but it was not long before it was two tries for Ampthill after their Molitika went over for a converted try. The penalties kept coming, and were made by both sides. Elliot Clements- Hill and Lewitt made good kicks for their respective sides.
The Launceston pack made their way down the field and Ryan Westren looked close to scoring but he could not find touch. They were awarded a penalty and chose a scrum, but another penalty was conceded by Ampthill. Two more scrums and two further penalties for the hosts followed, resulting in referee Tom Davis awarding a penalty try to the home side. Lewitt made the conversion.
Now only two points behind, the All Blacks were back in the game. But it did not take long for Ampthill to extend their lead. Clements-Hill kicked another penalty, then a try was scored by Gavin Williams who found a gap in the Launceston defence on the right wing.
Early in the second half, Launceston slashed their deficit again when BJ Chapman set Westren up for a converted try. But Molitika scored his second try, converted by Clements-Hill, and any flicker of hope for a home victory were well and truly extinguished. Both sides scored another penalty and Bloisi scored his second try for Ampthill, taking the score to 23-38.