Harsh scoreline for Letchworth at title chasers
Staines 37 Letchworth GC 10 This was never going to be an easy game for Letchworth - and so it proved. Staines were out to avenge the 7-0 defeat at Baldock Road this season and the size of their pack who ran out at The Reeves made things look ominous from
Staines 37 Letchworth GC 10
This was never going to be an easy game for Letchworth - and so it proved.
Staines were out to avenge the 7-0 defeat at Baldock Road this season and the size of their pack who ran out at The Reeves made things look ominous from the start.
Certainly the home side deserved their victory but Letchworth played more than a cameo in this encounter and were unfortunate not to have more points on the board by the end.
Letchworth played with the breeze in the first half but did not always use the elements to their best ability.
Both sides launched attacks in the opening 10 minutes before the Staines winger was sin binned for tackling Mike Stack off the ball.
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A few minutes later, a long kick from Gavin Donald was gathered well by the Staines full-back who orchestrated a fine move which ended with the hooker plunging over for an unconverted try.
Good play by Letchworth led to a penalty which was narrowly missed by Donald. Indeed both kickers had an off day with only one try being converted.
A great break involving Paul Hughes, Ryan de la Harpe and Henry Robinson nearly led to a try but Letchworth were awarded a penalty instead.
Staines gradually worked their way up field and a penalty saw them with a lineout only five yards out.
Giant lock Junior Harrison (brother of boxer Audley) took the ball and fed it to the wing forward for a second try in the corner.
Donald narrowly missed a penalty and the chance to reduce matters just before half-time.
Letchworth were soon under pressure in the second half and a loose kick by Robinson saw the Staines hooker gratefully accept his second try of the afternoon. This was the only one to be converted.
Skipper Jaggi Johal led the charge shortly after with Pieter Sterienburg and Liam Corcoran coming close but the Staines line held.
Harrison with a bit of space romped over for Staines' next score to make it 22-0 as Letchworth suffered a spate of injuries.
Donald, Johal and Gary Glencross all went off in quick succession and were followed by Dave Rae who had only been on for a few minutes when his mouth was split open to his nose requiring no less than 39 stitches!
The Staines number six was sin binned for holding up the ball and Letchworth worked their way into the Staines 22.
A fantastic break from the base of the scrum by veteran scrum-half Hughes saw him turning back the years as he beat five defenders to score Letchworth's first points.
However Staines went further ahead with another soft try a few minutes later. De la Harpe, now playing at outside half, then put in a mighty kick that was gathered by Ian Smith who galloped over to score.
This stung Staines into final action as Harrison again stormed over and Smith turned from hero to hapless as he watched a long kick bounce over his head for a grateful Staines centre to end the scoring.
Letchworth now have a week's break to lick their wounds and get injured players treated before their two February 'must win' games against London Nigerians (February 9) and Welwyn (February 16).