Letchworth coach hints at changes
LETCHWORTH S first league game of the season ended in a disappointing display against newly promoted Westcliff. Afterwards coach Muddy Waters gave the following warning to his team saying: Speaking frankly we lost four tries to one, against a side whic
LETCHWORTH'S first league game of the season ended in a disappointing display against newly promoted Westcliff.
Afterwards coach 'Muddy' Waters gave the following warning to his team saying: "Speaking frankly we lost four tries to one, against a side which I would assess as decent but not spectacular.
"I have received several good reports from the 2nd XV camp. Plenty of tries, innovation and a number of players staking a claim for higher honours."
This might be an early warning call for some of the first team players who may have strayed too far into their comfort zone.
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Despite all the training and preparation since June there is no substitute for a full-on league encounter and ironically it was Letchworth, so often with a monster pack, who were found physically wanting at the breakdown, ruck and maul.
While Westcliff hit hard and often, there was little in the way of hits for the Baldock Road faithful to gasp over.
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Westcliff were a competent outfit who made the most of their chances - this was even more galling as Letchworth certainly had 50/50 in terms of territory.
That said, there were certainly plus points for the Legends. Veteran prop Darren Spillane looked a rejuvenated force over the 80 minutes whilst young Ross Mealing played well on his league debut.
New boys Dave Owen, Tom Billingham and Tom Edwards all showed promise whilst Mike Stack and Henry Robinson shone as did replacement scrum half Harvey Howman.
The first 20 minutes was even as both sides had attacking chances. A long range drop goal from Gavin Donald drifted just wide whilst Mike Stack broke through the line only to slip at a vital moment.
The dangerous Westcliff back division moved the ball well up the pitch and a fine movement ended with right winger Nick Sigwart going over. This was converted by No. 12 Robert Smith.
Despite some Letchworth pressure, Westcliff again broke out, turning over ball, and Joe Lyons plunged over for an unconverted try. Further Letchworth pressure led to a successful Donald penalty but this was cancelled out just before half-time by Smith to leave the score 15-3 at the break.
The second half saw Letchworth take wrong options and Westcliff made them pay by scoring two tries with their only real attacks of the second half.
For the last 20 minutes Letchworth were camped in the Westcliff half - still showing great commitment though the game was already lost.
In the final minutes, after many phases, Howman broke wide on the blindside and fed Rick Streets, another product of Letchworth's youth system, who plunged over for a consolation try - but very much too little too late as the visitors supporters were already cheering a welcome win.
The 2nd XV had a titanic battle against St Neots 1st XV going down eventually 53-50 in a classic encounter with plenty of plus points and some players having outstanding games.
The 3rd XV had an equally see-saw game against Black-Horse going down 33-27.
At least Letchworth's first defeat should raise some money for the Letchworth GC Hospice and the campaign for Help for Heroes as president Brian Burke is to have his locks cropped before the Bury St Edmunds match and so far has raised £400 for the two funds. Any further donations gratefully accepted contact 07768 274037.