Final score DMP RFC 30 - Ampthill RFC 28 - after 20 minutes added time - todays man of the match Zylon McGaffin (front row left kneeling with bottle) was presented man of the match by Gav Hatton from M Media & Design, many thanks to match sponsors SG Petch.
In a truly entertaining game, a try by scrum half Zylon McGAFFIN, with the last play of the game, saw DMPRFC prevail over Ampthill & District RFC and thereby secure a place in National League 1 for the first time in their history.
Ampthill thought they had won it, when both teams were level (25 - 25) after normal time, they managed a penalty after six minutes in the first half of extra time. They sought to keep that, attacking with several sets of pick and drives, running down the clock wthin the DMPRFC 22 metre line, progressing to within the 5 metre line as the clocked ticked down further.
However, DMPRFC summoned up a last gasp foray, out of their own half and deep into Ampthill territory, with a monumental series of phases, culminating with the score and with it the match, promotion and scenes of both despair and jubilation the sidelines and terraces.
Despair from the Ampthill dugout and supporters on the terraces, who had, had promotion snatched from them and in contrast jubilation from the DMPRFC dugout and supporters on the terraces after the disappointment of last weekend and the realisation that they had won.
With both teams evenly matched on paper prior to kick-off, pundits favoured DMPRFC with home advantage. But Ampthill exhuded a quiet confidence, perhaps based on their success on a previous pre-season visit.
The game started well from the home side, as fly half Tom HODGSON put them in front with a well struck penalty, as the visitors were adjjudged to have transgressed at the ruck (3 - 0).
Tom HODGSON was then involved for the wrong reasons, as he tried to clear the ball from his own 22-metre line, but was charged down by his opposite number and with the ball falling straight into the visitors hands, he had an unopposed run in under the posts for the first try (3 - 5). The conversion was easy (3 - 7).
DMPRFC responded immediately, when a flowing move saw winger Tom KILL power into the corner for the score (8 - 7). Tom HODGSON slotting the afters (10 - 7).
With some solid citizens in their pack, Ampthill had the better of the scrums, but the lineout was more competitive and DMPRFC took their fair share of possession.
Ampthill levelled with a penalty of their own, when DMPRFC failed to release the ball in the tackle (10 - 10).
With the game finely poised before oranges, Ampthill gave away successive penalties, allowing Tom HODGSON to notch up a hat-trick of them prior to the interval (19 - 10) allowing DMPRFC to take the advantage into the break.
On the resumption of play, it was always going to be important as to which team was able to score first and with a seemingly hungrier appetite, Ampthll began to exert their authority on the game, with their forwards to the fore, starving DMPRFC of any useful ball with which to relaease their potent backline.
Having said that, Ampthill also possessed players with skill and blistering pace in their backs and did occasionally put their DMPRFC counterparts under pressure. But it was the forwards who relentlessly battered away at the home defence.
In a ten minute salvo of intense pressure, Ampthill forced themselves back into the game, initially with a penalty (19 - 13) and then with a trademark catch and drive effort from a lineout, with a visiting lock barging over for the score (19 - 18), which was converted, putting them ahead (19 - 20).
Tom HODGSON replied with a penalty, taking DMPRFC in front again (22 - 20), before Ampthill scored a superb backs try, their influential full back scorching in and around the home defence (22 - 25).
With five minutes to go, Tom HODGSON again levelled matters with a well struck penalty (25 - 25) and as normal time began to evaporate, the rule books were hastily being consulted, to establish the way forward at full time.
However, Tom HODGSON was presented with an opportunity to win it for DMPRFC with the last kick of the game, which agonisingly went wide of the mark, heralding the end of normal time.
Two, 10 minte periods of extra-time were introduced and if the result had still been all square (25 - 25) at the end of those periods, then the winner would have been decided on the number of tries scored - favouring Ampthill.
So a further 20 minutes of play was the reward for the healthy crowd in attendance and it certainly didn't disappoint.
The effort that both sets of players had contributed to the game in normal time, began to tell, with players showing signs of fatigue, but everyone on the field contributed their best in order to win it for their respective club.
Ampthill struck first with a well taken penalty (25 - 28) edging them in front.
This score seemed to have won it for the visitors, as the second period of extra time came and with the Ampthill forwards winding winding down the clock with blanket possession, things were looking ominous again for DMPRFC.
With the very last throw of the dice, DMPRFC gave it a go and began to edge their way into Ampthill territory, roared on by the home supporters.
After what seemed like as much as 25 phases of faultless possession, with the ball being recycled seamlessly by exhausted players, 5-metres out, scrum half Zylon McGAFFIN capped a fine final display for DMPRFC seeing a narrow gap and forcing his way over for the winning score (30 - 28) as the crowd erupted.
The conversion was missed in the euphoria that followed and as the official blew for full time, DMPRFC were in National 1.
Amthill & District RFC fully contributed to an excellent game of rugby and DMPRFC wish them all the very best next season.
In addition, although no it will be no consolation to them whatsoever, they probably played the better on the day, but DMPRFC were not to be denied and battled to the end.
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