Park looked lively from the start. While Ampthill probably had as much possession some committed tackling ensured they could not do much with it.

Despite Park looking the more dangerous side it was an interception that led to the first try, flanker Arthur Ellis scampering in unmolested. Fly half Greg Lound added a straightforward conversion for 7-0.

Park continued to press and Lound added a penalty to the tally for 10-0 on 13 minutes.

With doubts over first choice props Paul Doran-Jones (away on business) Maurice Nwakor and Stewart Maguire (injured) there was concern about coping with Ampthill’s powerful scrum. (In fact Maguire benched despite his injury, leg swathed in bandages, but when called upon soon had to retire from the fray). But such concerns looked misplaced as Park outplayed their hosts in just about every department.

It was no more than Park deserved when a period of pressure on the Amps line saw lock Jonathan Mills crash over, Lound converted for 17-0 on 21 minutes.

Five minutes later Lound slotted over another penalty as Park kept up the pressure to bring up 20-0.

If it might be argued that Park should perhaps have converted their superiority into a few more points, but the organisation and commitment to the defensive effort was simply superb. Ampthill really were not given a single chance in the first period.

Clearly at half time Ampthill were given not so much a rocket as a thermo-nuclear device in their dressing room.  They were a different side altogether and threw everything they had at Park.

Park’s defensive effort was magnificent, but they began to leak penalties and on 52 minutes prop Nick Lovell was sent to the sin bin. Four minutes later Amps hit Park’s short-handed defence with a well-organised catch-and-drive and bullocked over with replacement hooker Syd Blackmore claiming the try. Scrum half Josh sharp converted for 20-14.

Restored to full complement Park were still coping with anything Amps could throw at them, but as the match entered its last throes the penalty count rose again and scrum half Jack Gash took one for the team in terms of a yellow card.

Into added time, but with four minutes yet to play, Ampthill mounted an attack out wide which was stopped by winger Charlie Amesbury but, said the referee, illegally and a penalty try was awarded and the Park man sent to join his colleague in the bin.

Down to 13 men, Park still had added time to survive but when Sharp cut through the middle there were simply not enough defenders to stop him. James Pritchard’s conversion put Ampthill ahead for the first time at 21-20.

Park’s 13 made a brilliant effort to snatch back a match they deserved to win. Playing through more than a dozen phases they forced a penalty 40 metres out, just wide of the posts. With Lound off injured, replacement Oli Grove strode up but his kick narrowly missed the near post and the full time whistle went.