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AMPTHILL pay just their second visit to Butts Park on Saturday for a fixture that pits third in National League One against sixth.

The playing history between the two clubs is very recent with the two encounters last season being the very first and, thus far, the home side has won each time.

Last season, Ampthill’s margin at home was 31 -25 while in the return here it was Cov’s turn, 25-19. Earlier this season, at a rather wet Ampthill, their winning margin was 22-8.

Ampthill’s first season in National League One saw them finish fourth and currently, after their 18th win of the season last Saturday, they are third in the table behind Plymouth Albion and runaway leaders Hartpury College.

Local news archives suggest that rugby was played in the Ampthill district from 1881. The club reformed after the Second World War in 1950, and Ampthill and District Rugby Union Football Club was incorporated in 1959 as a company limited by guarantee.

Reflecting it’s community club status, the Ampthill club has a vibrant mini and junior section, with youngsters as young as six taking part, right through to the senior section. More recently, women’s and girls’ rugby has been added.

Mark Lavery is the current director of rugby, with under him as head coach a name well-known in these parts in Paul Turner. Coventry links go both ways – of our current squad, both Will Maisey and Darrel Dyer were with Ampthill last season, while conversely, Ben Gulliver – son of Tony – Loti Molitika, Sam Baker and Peter Weightman have all played for Cov.

From their 18 wins, impressively nine have come on their travels at Esher, Darlington Mowden Park, Blackheath Old Albanian, Loughborough Students, Macclesfield, Hull Ionians and Cambridge. Last Saturday, Ampthill gained revenge for their earlier away defeat at Fylde by winning a high-scoring encounter 43-24.

Influential fly-half Joe Tarrant, who starred in the England Counties win over their Scottish counterparts recently, is Ampthill’s leading scorer for the season with 199 points. Winger Sam Baker tops the try table on 14.