Fast out of blocks

Letchworth GC 16 London Nigerians 7 Letchworth claimed the points in this league encounter with a scintillating opening quarter. In a complete role reversal, the visitors, renowned for their flair, kicked possession away, while Letchworth, inspired by the

Letchworth GC 16 London Nigerians 7

Letchworth claimed the points in this league encounter with a scintillating opening quarter.

In a complete role reversal, the visitors, renowned for their flair, kicked possession away, while Letchworth, inspired by the return of Darren Messenger and Andy Atkinson, ran the ball at every chance.

The opening score came after five minutes of sustained pressure.

The crowd were warmed by the sight of big men Darren Spillane and Ian Skingsley passing the ball out of contact.

Jimmy Tirrell buzzed around at the breakdown like an angry hornet and the visitors were chasing shadows.

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It was Jaggi Johal who crossed the line for the try with men to spare either side.

The Nigerians have a reputation for playing in concentrated bursts. They gathered at the kick off and instantly made inroads deep into Letchworth territory. Patient defence and solid tackling created turn over ball but danger signs were there, with flashes of incredible pace from the visiting back line.

Having weathered the storm, Atkinson shaped to kick but broke blind to link with Messenger and Matt Turner. As the winger streaked away, they were called back for the slimmest of forward passes.

Messenger fielded another wayward kick and launched an assault from his own half. With the forwards operating in pods, a stream of quick ball induced a penalty. Atkinson converted with ease.

Letchworth kept the pace high, controlling possession and territory, while Nigerians persisted with their kicking game.

Another penalty was given in a kickable position but livewire Tirrell tapped and went. He found Ian Smith seemingly penned in by defenders but the winger stepped in and out to leave them trailing in his wake. He scored a fine try to celebrate the recent birth of his daughter Kiera.

Nigerians rang the changes but were coming second best at the breakdown, with Lyndsey Hogg in superb form.

Another quick ball was fired back to Messenger who dropped a soaring drop goal. To compound the visitors' misery, a snow storm now whipped into their faces.

The break the visitors needed came when robust number eight Johal displayed too much exuberance for the referee. His 10-minute sin bin disrupted the balance and allowed a respite from the onslaught as the whistle blew for half time.

The snow welcomed players back at the restart and half the crowd took shelter behind sponsor Graham Hilton's vintage fire engine, a temporary stand for the day.

Letchworth also took shelter as the Londoners found some rhythm. They launched themselves into the fray but with Ian Parkhouse like a rock in defence were unable to break through.

The home side lacked the sparkle of the first quarter as a dropped pass cost a score which would have killed the game, as both teams rang the changes.

The referee, equally sharp in the first half, lost the edge from his game and it became messy in the bleak conditions.

The biggest cheer came as former Letchworth stalwart Chris Macdonald, now with Nigerians, strayed outrageously offside and laid on the ball.

His old team-mates used him as a doormat and the referee gave him a yellow card. He joined his old mates on the line to catch up with the gossip!

Nigerians plugged away and gained a consolation try, their electric outside centre getting the space for once.

Letchworth, who have hopefully ridden out their injury crisis, face a break from action this Saturday.

A top four place is possible as rivals Chingford have a hard run in.