Rugby: Ampthill mob prove too strong for Longton
LONGTON suffered a double setback when high-flying Ampthill rolled into town for their National League Three Midlands clash.
Not only were they on the wrong end of a 51-17 scoreline, but centre Alfie Karekaho was laid low by a suspected broken collarbone while making a try-saving tackle in the first half.
Young full-back Elliot Clement-Hill was the architect of the second-placed visitors' emphatic victory, chalking up 29 points on a memorable afternoon.
Tries from skipper Luke Fowles and winger Chris Tennuci in the opening period kept Longton, who produced some incisive attacking play at times, in the hunt to spring a surprise at Trentham Fields.
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However, the boot of Clement-Hill, coupled with some solid scrummaging, ensured Ampthill always kept their hosts at arm's length as they established a 25-12 interval lead.
Longton, facing the prospect of a third successive defeat, started the second half on the front foot.
But despite enjoying territorial advantage, they couldn't produce quality ball to breach their rivals' back line.
And Ampthill emerged from a period of sustained home pressure to cross over from a driving maul, before a slick passing move resulted in another try to push them 39-12 ahead.
Ampthill's Tony Begovic was sin-binned, but even a man down, the title-chasers continued to add to their points tally.
Wing man Dean Adamson showed the Longton defence a clean pair of heels with 10 minutes remaining to score a brilliant individual try to put the result beyond doubt.
Longton flanker Francis Nock was yellow-carded for infringement before, fittingly, man-of-the-match Clement-Hill put the icing on the cake with the final try of the afternoon.
SANDBACH were beaten, but unbowed, by National League Three Midlands front-runners Sutton Coldfield.
Sandbach, in their first season at this level, produced a spirited display in a 27-21 defeat.
STOKE fell victim to the pace and power of Worcester Wanderers in a 33-7 Midlands One West defeat.
The result went to form with Worcester flying high in second place, while Stoke travelled looking to cement a mid-table berth.
And it became apparent in the early stages that the visitors would have their work cut out as their rivals made merry with a regular supply of ball and slick handing.
To their credit, Stoke defended manfully, and conceded only two tries in the opening 20 minutes as they desperately attempted to keep Worcester at bay.
A third try, rounded off by the home full-back who benefited from some excellent decoy running, left Stoke firmly on the back foot.
Eventually, some decent possession allowed Chris Rowley's side to trouble the scoreboard, courtesy of a Paul Ramage try and Sam Christmas conversion.
Despite their best efforts, though, Stoke couldn't make inroads into their 18-7 half-time deficit.
And in the closing stages, a penalty, plus a couple of tries put the gloss on Worcester's victory.