Letchworth ensure fifth spot
Letchworth 15 Chingford 10 Letchworth will finish fifth in the London Two North this season. Saturday s result also ended Chingford s promotion hopes in a pulsating game that flowed from end to end in front of a raucous crowd. Also a new talent was uneart
Letchworth 15 Chingford 10
Letchworth will finish fifth in the London Two North this season.
Saturday's result also ended Chingford's promotion hopes in a pulsating game that flowed from end to end in front of a raucous crowd.
Also a new talent was unearthed in the backs, alongside the mercurial Henry Robinson, in 17-year-old Rick Streets who comes from the talented under-17 squad who have won their league this year.
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Streets made several telling breaks, tackled like a demon, and capped a fine performance with an individual try.
Chingford had come to Baldock Road expecting to inflict more of the same they handed out before Christmas.
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But this time they met a far more determined outfit under the inspirational Jaggi Johal.
In the absence of Gavin Donald, Ryan de la Harpe took over the fly-half duties.
He had such a good game that coach Muddy Waters could be faced with a difficult decision as to who wears the 10 jersey against Thurrock this weekend.
Although Letchworth played with the breeze in the first half, it was Chingford who took the initiative and pressed their line.
Some last-ditch tackling kept them at bay and then came Streets' first break through the middle. He was brought down just short of the line.
This led to more Letchworth attacks. Darren Spillane was having a rampaging time ably assisted by Giles Cooke and Martin Kirby.
From Spillane's initial rumble deep into the Chingford 22, quick ball was won and Johal went over for a fine try.
Unfortunately, the wind blew at the wrong time for de la Harpe's conversion and he was forced to try and drop goal it when the ball fell over at a crucial time.
The kick went wide and a Chingford player turned his ankle in the chase.
Letchworth's growing confidence manifested itself in several other back moves but they received a setback when Johal was carded on 30 minutes.
However Letchworth rose to the occasion and following quick ball, Streets broke through in the centre.
He chipped over his opposite number and regathered the ball to score a fine try near the posts.
This time de la Harpe made no mistake with the conversion.
In the dying minutes of the half, Letchworth drove deep into the Chingford half.
Alex Firth spun the ball out to de la Harpe who dropped the sweetest of drop goals to give Letchworth a 15-point cushion.
The first period of the second half saw scrappy play from both sides as Chingford attempted to impose themselves.
The visitors missed a very kickable penalty before putting another over in front of the posts.
Chingford kept up the pressure but steadfast defence kept them at bay.
From a rumpus over a quick free kick, Simon Hill received a yellow card but still the Letchworth defence held firm with Robinson bringing off a try-saving tackle.
Then Letchworth nearly scored when Firth, Robinson, Kris Cottenden and Pieter Sterienburg all charged after the ball up to the Chingford line.
Surprisingly the referee gave the visitors a penalty when it appeared the lone full-back was hanging on to the ball.
It was only in the last five minutes that Chingford took a quick free kick and their winger went over in the corner. This was well converted to leave an exciting final period.
Letchworth were in no mood to concede the game and kept possession tight until the final whistle blew.
The large crowd saluted the team and in turn the team saluted the crowd.
With Welwyn surviving in London Two North by beating Bury St Edmunds and Stevenage Town being promoted from the division below, there will be some good local derbies next season.
Letchworth travel to Thurrock this Saturday with their traditional ladies' night to follow - Baldock pubs you have been warned!
* Tickets for the annual dinner, with guest speaker Phil Bennett, a week on Friday (April 25) are going fast.
If you would like one or even to organise a table of 10, call Chris Lunnon on 01462 896289.
* A vibrant under-17s side, containing Streets, beat Datchworth 50-10 in the semi-final of the Herts County Cup to set up a final meeting with Stevenage Town at Old Albanian this Sunday.
This was despite the fact they were reduced to 13 men at half time.
Superb team play, against the wind and slope, saw them to victory and six second-half tries.