Fifth place up for grabs
Eton Manor 7 Letchworth GC 29 Letchworth disposed of their nearest rivals in fine style down at Nutters Lane to consolidate fifth spot in London Two North. At times, the visitors played scintillating rugby in ghastly conditions, having purple patches just
Eton Manor 7 Letchworth GC 29
Letchworth disposed of their nearest rivals in fine style down at Nutters Lane to consolidate fifth spot in London Two North.
At times, the visitors played scintillating rugby in ghastly conditions, having purple patches just before and after half time.
A somewhat depleted Eton Manor side battled gamely and tackled well with their number nine being prominent and their consolation try at the end was a just reward.
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By that time, Letchworth were out of sight with 29 points on the board and really over 40 that should have been scored.
The game began in slanting rain with Manor having wind advantage in the first half.
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An early sin binning for Pieter Sterienburg put Letchworth on the back foot but a superb clearance from youngster Henry Robinson set up the play in the Manor 22.
Some great driving mauls with Giles Cooke, Dave Rae, old warhorse Tim Moynihan and prop Gary Glencross prominent, saw play brought to the home side's 22.
Letchworth took a quick penalty, set up a ruck and from quick ball, fly-half Gavin Donald dummied the defence to go over by the posts giving himself an easy kick for a seven pointer.
While Eton Manor tried to use the wind, the back three of debutant under-17 Rick Streets, Liam Corcoran and dancing full-back Robinson ensured that a counter attack was always on the cards.
Also Martin Kirby, Moynihan and Cooke were winning great lineout ball for Letchworth.
Excellent footwork by Robinson carved through the Eton Manor pack. He fed Andy Atkinson and in turn the veteran centre fed Ryan de la Harpe to see Letchworth stopped just short of the line.
From another break and kick, Corcoran gathered the ball only to be high tackled. Against a strong breeze, Donald converted straight through the uprights.
Letchworth now took charge before half time and great hands moving from side to side stretched the home defence.
Under this pressure Eton Manor gave away a penalty almost on their line.
The penalty was quickly taken and prop Simon Hill emerged with the try under a pile of bodies in the corner. A missed conversion made the lead 15 points at half time.
The first 15 minutes of the second half were all Letchworth.
Former skipper Paul Hughes really bossed the game at scrum-half.
From another quick penalty, Hughes fed Cooke and the bulky number six crashed over for a try which Donald converted.
Some festival running by Robinson saw a great pass to Atkinson.
Belying his years, the veteran centre pounded up the field passing back to Robinson who fed Sterienburg and Corcoran. The ball was held up but quick recycling saw Donald over for a second try, ably converted by himself.
Both sides were now running the ball at every opportunity and several 'set' moves by Letchworth were only just foiled.
Coach 'Muddy' Waters rang the changes on the hour with Sean Flatman, Alex Firth and Nick Winwood replacing Rae, Hughes, and Robin French.
Despite more Letchworth pressure, a further score did not come.
In the last minutes, Hill and Manor's seven were binned for needless fisticuffs and Manor seized their chance to prove they could run the ball as well and went nearly the length of the pitch to score their consolation try.
Despite missing their skipper Jaggi Johal with a knee injury, this was a comprehensive victory.
Letchworth will look forward to high-flying Chingford visiting a week on Saturday (April 12) despite four key players being absent.
There is a lunch prior to the match. All are welcome and call Brian Burke on 01462 422555.
The second team went down 35-0 at Sawston but a spirited third XV beat league leaders Ely 24-0.
This Saturday the thirds play the fourth XV in an intra-club encounter at Baldock Road.
Welsh legend Phil Bennett will visit Baldock Road for the annual club dinner on Friday, April 25.
This will include the annual awards ceremony and should be a cracking evening.
Everyone is welcome and tickets are available from Chris Lunnon on 01462 896289 at £35.