A PENALTY with the last kick of the match from Tom Hardwick denied Caldy victory at Paton Field on Saturday as Ampthill won 17-16.

The game started in torrential rain and with gusts of 30 miles an hour, stopping the free-flowing rugby that the two sides have been known for throughout the season.

Caldy exerted a lot of pressure in the opening exchanges and a number of chances came and went in the opening quarter hour.

In the 15th minute, from a lineout the ball was barrelled over the line by Chris Pilgrim with the conversion slotted away confidently by Elliott Gourlay.

As the weather worsened, the game became harder for both sides with a number of handling errors due to the greasy ball, and Caldy took a 7-0 lead at half-time.

There was no free flowing rugby in the second half and the match turned into a kick-and-run game which the visitors took advantage of by scoring with the wind in their favour and being rewarded with a try after Harry Wilson went over the maul.

Caldy hit back almost immediately after Ampthill were penalised from the kick-off and Gourlay reinstated the home side’s lead, but the visitors retook the lead through Ollie Dawkins within five minutes.

A Caldy penalty in the final quarter hour brought the Wirral side within a point and, with the crowd on their side, it looked like the game was only going one way, and the crowd were up with just minutes remaining.

But the visitors were not finished and a penalty in overtime saw Hardwick showing nerves of steel to take the four points back to Bedfordshire.

Next week, Caldy travel to third-place Coventry who lost to Cornish Pirates on Saturday.