If Colchester go on and complete a title-winning season, they will look back on their narrow home win over Letchworth as one of the more crucial moments of the season.

The Legends did everything they could to throw a banana skin under the charging Regional One South East leaders, and the hosts' 38-36 win came with as much relief as it did joy.

Colchester now head the chasing pack by 14 points, having only lost twice all season.

That gaggle behind though includes Letchworth and there is barely anything to separate them.

Sudbury are second on 43 while Shelford and Letchworth both have 42. Harpenden in fifth are a further point behind with a five point gap back to Oundle in sixth.

The first 10 minutes were keenly contested in midfield until a weighted kick through allowed the Colchester winger to gather and score in the corner.

That was converted and they drove over for an unconverted score too, a Josh Sharp penalty in between the only response from Letchworth.

However the period up to half-time had the Legends on top.

A loose kick from Jimmy Mpailane, the otherwise impressive Colchester full-back, was gathered by Tom Lewis on halfway and he built up a head of steam before popping the ball out to Charlie Parkhouse to score under the posts.

Letchworth were soon back on the scoreboard and into the lead as Harvey Howman dummied his way through before giving Sharp the try, one he converted himself.

They could have turned round even further in front but Will Titherington and Parkhouse were denied and they had to settle for a 17-12 lead at the break.

The home side regrouped at the interval though and started the second period well.

An unconverted score levelled the score but an injury to outside-centre Jacob Bodkin left them vulnerable out wide.

A great break by Max Heathman put Sharp over again but Colchester cancelled that out after sustained pressure.

Letchworth though continued the back and forth action with Sharp, Titherington and Parkhouse all involved before Chris Gibbs scored.

Sharp landed the conversion for a 31-24 lead and Letchworth then moved even further in front with Parkhouse grabbing an unconverted try, their fifth of the game.

But Colchester are top for a reason and led by skipper James Mitchell, making his 250th appearance for the Ravens, they seized on Letchworth errors to narrow the gap back to five.

And with just minutes to go, a lost ball at a Letchworth line-out was taken all the way over the line by the home side, who then landed a fine conversion from out wide to seal the win.

Letchworth will now turn their attention to a home match with Oundle.

The Comet: Jon Welsford breaks a tackle for Hitchin against Finchley. Picture: MARTIN WIGGINSJon Welsford breaks a tackle for Hitchin against Finchley. Picture: MARTIN WIGGINS (Image: Martin Wiggins)

Hitchin had a tough afternoon in Counties One Herts Middlesex as they lost another high-scoring game at home to Finchley, going down 46-36.

It was a first loss at Old Hale Way this season for the Hedgehogs but they had started on the front foot with an opening try on five minutes from James Bolter.

A series of penalties conceded allowed Finchley to turn the tide and add an unconverted try of their own but Hitchin were back in front on 15 minutes when a rolling maul, set up from an attacking line-out, was powered over the line with Gary Ayres on the end of it.

Ill-discipline then returned to Hitchin and Bolter was given a yellow card, allowing Finchley to score close enough to the sticks to make for a successful conversion.

A try-saving tap tackle from Will Evans prevented a further Finchley try but the visitors did land a penalty before Bolter returned to the fray.

Finchley then got a yellow card of their own, just before they arrived at the interval with a 15-10 lead.

The Comet: Jaden Elley-Murphy scores try number three for Hitchin. Picture: MARTIN WIGGINSJaden Elley-Murphy scores try number three for Hitchin. Picture: MARTIN WIGGINS (Image: Martin Wiggins)

But it was they who scored first in the second half, within a minute of the restart, and it needed a try under the posts from Jaden Elley-Murphy to keep Hitchin in the game.

Finchley scored straight from that restart as Hitchin knocked-on and then extended their lead to 17 on 50 minutes.

Ayres scored his second and Hitchin's bonus point fourth try from the back of a rolling maul and this was converted by Evans.

However, another poor try was conceded after a dropped ball was seized upon by the Finchley centre.

The away side secured the win with a seventh try, and it took resilience from a much-changed Hitchin side to reduce the margin.

Bolter scored his second after breaking free from a maul, and with the final play of the match, a maul infringement resulted in a penalty try.

It wasn't enough though to bring a second bonus point.

Hitchin are seventh and go to bottom of the table Enfield Ignatians on Saturday.

The second team played Leighton Buzzard in a friendly, also at home.

They had been 19-0 down at half-time but put together a much-better second period, with tries from James Akrill, Harry Wilkinson and Kiwi flanker Jamie leaving the final score at 33-17 to Leighton.

Stevenage Town ended phase one of the Counties Three Herts Middlesex season with a 25-8 loss at Watford.