Jimmy makes giant strides
Letchworth GC 28 Twickenham 7 Two Letchworth Rugby Club old boys have earned international call-ups. James Tirrell, darling of Baldock Road for the last two seasons, has been included a year early in the England squad for the under-21 Six Nations tourname
Letchworth GC 28 Twickenham 7
Two Letchworth Rugby Club old boys have earned international call-ups.
James Tirrell, darling of Baldock Road for the last two seasons, has been included a year early in the England squad for the under-21 Six Nations tournament.
Now a full-time rugby pro with Saracens, the former Hitchin Boys' School pupil will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Joe Worsley and make it all the way to the senior side.
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He was a finalist in this year's Comet Sports Awards.
Peter Shea, now living and playing at Biggleswade, has been selected to play again for England's deaf XV.
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Letchworth club chairman Graham Walker said: "Best wishes go to the pair of them."
Their old club stopped the rot with Saturday's home win over Twickenham.
The return of two seniors players, Darren Spillane and Darren Messenger, helped restore confidence and their experience steadied the side.
This coupled with good performances from Jaggi Johal, Alex Firth and Gavin Donald in the key eight, nine and 10 positions saw them to a comfortable win.
Twickenham's opening shot was an ambitious kick at goal from 40m. It never got off the ground, an omen for things to come.
Spillane made an instant impact, with a series of bullocking runs into the heart of the Twickenham pack.
They had to defend in numbers as the big man threatened to run right through them. This created space for his pack to attack the fringes. Penalties followed.
An inevitable yellow card was shown to the visitors' number six, who took it for the team. Donald stepped up to kick the opening three points.
With Messenger directing matters from the back, there was a fluency about Letchworth's three-quarter play. They strung together a number of phases but struggled to seriously threaten the line.
The battle up front was going Letchworth's way and it was a solid scrum that paved the way for the next score.
Johal broke from the base and drove through the defence for a good number eight try which Donald converted.
Letchworth could not find the killer finish with Donald unusually off target with his goal attempts as the visitors clung on to turn round at half time 10 points adrift.
Twickenham's normally reliable kicker had left his boots on the team bus, failing to cross the 10m line with no less than three of his second-half restarts.
The first gave Letchworth a good lineout position, which they drove 20m upfield.
As the defence swamped in to stop the momentum, Firth whipped the ball wide. Two phases later, Dave Rae dummied the last man to earn his debut try. Donald found his range from out wide for an excellent conversion.
When offered the same opportunity from the kick off, Letchworth went down a different route.
Spinning the ball wide, it went across the pitch and back three times, shredding the defence.
Steve Harper made the telling break, feeding Phil Pearson who stretched his way to the line.
Tap tackled at the last, he popped the ball up for support. It came in the shape of Spillane who had read the play perfectly to score a classic prop's three metre try.
Twickenham then mounted their first meaningful attack, inducing a penalty and harsh yellow card against Andy Morris.
At the next play, handbags were out briefly and both blindside wing forwards joined Morris in the sin bin.
Temporarily reduced to 13 players, Letchworth continued to play, with controlled driving and chips ahead.
Good offloads made for attractive rugby to please the crowd who had attended a 'players of the 80s' dinner.
Predictably, their lack of numbers was exposed from a turn over with Twickenham grabbing a deserved converted try.
With all the players back on the field, Letchworth eased back up through the gears. Twickenham were again forced to infringe as they tried to stem the tide.
No more yellow cards followed but a further six points came from the boot of Donald.
Letchworth take on high-flying Chingford at Baldock Road this Saturday.