Chingford too much for Legends
Letchworth s recent run of form floundered and slipped away in the slippery mud of Chingford s pitch in the shadow of the Lea Valley reservoir as they went down 18-6. This match was all about confidence. Letchworth started with plenty, then by some form
Letchworth's recent run of form floundered and slipped away in the slippery mud of Chingford's pitch in the shadow of the Lea Valley reservoir as they went down 18-6.
This match was all about confidence. Letchworth started with plenty, then by some form of rugby osmosis, leaked it progressively to Chingford who gained in stature as the match went on.
Chingford managed an early flourish, which was comfortably marshalled by an organised defence. Letchworth's back three looked to attack from all angles, ably assisted by Mike Stack at centre. As they slithered back in the mud to defend, the home side were penalised for offside at the loose. Gavin Donald, under the gaze of his All Black brother Stephen, stepped up to convert a tricky kick.
Letchworth were calling the shots. Donald chipped well to consistently beat a rush defence and the forwards were in the groove, driving dynamically off rucks and mauls. Another penalty was added and the pressure grew, pinning Chingford in their own 22.
While the play was pretty, no points were accrued. As Letchworth pressed forward, one turnover was all it needed for Chingford to break out down the right wing. A needless penalty at the line out, allowed them to open their account.
It was at this point the confidence began to morph from Letchworth to Chingford. The back row, so solid normally, allowed the home fly half to bustle through weak tackles and get behind the gain line. He spun the ball wide to give his winger acres of space and he touched down under the posts.
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There then followed the seemingly obligatory kicking duel, which was shaded by Letchworth, but most of the game was played in the muddy midfield. Chingford's tactics were spot on, plenty of width at every opportunity to keep the ball away from the forwards.
With the diminishing advantage of a low winter sun, Letchworth looked to have the advantage but Chingford were having none of it. They came out scrapping for every ball after the break and, what had been good forward control by Letchworth, now looked ponderous as their opponents foraged in the mud to feed the backs.
A penalty extended the lead and was followed by the best period of play in the match. Chingford went through the phases, recycling quickly and going again to leave defenders in their wake. The reward was a fine try in these conditions.
The lead could have been extended as Letchworth overcommitted to the rucks and mauls. Two penalties skimmed wide as Chingford turned the screw.
Eventually, the attack wilted, allowing Letchworth a chance to claw points back. They chose to use the forwards, but turnovers in the mud were inevitable. Any hope they had of a revival, evaporated when the referee judged the ball held up over the line.