Letchworth given a lesson by Becks
Letchworth 5 Beckenham 12 Letchworth were taught a valuable lesson as they exited the EDF Energy Intermediate Cup. They went down to a home defeat from a team who had not won on the road this season. Beckenham, fielding their youngest ever senior team, w
Letchworth 5 Beckenham 12
Letchworth were taught a valuable lesson as they exited the EDF Energy Intermediate Cup.
They went down to a home defeat from a team who had not won on the road this season.
Beckenham, fielding their youngest ever senior team, were outweighed and outplayed, yet won the game on determination and commitment.
Letchworth will need to show all that and more when they travel to Civil Service this Saturday for a critical league match. The hosts are still smarting from the loss of their two-year undefeated record at the hands of Letchworth last season.
There was every reason for confidence in this cup tie - home advantage, size, experience and the benefit of a good breeze on their backs.
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The start was fine, Letchworth's back row putting in heavy hits to gain penalties and an early try for leading scorer Giles Cooke.
With a combination of reaction and skill, the big man charged down a clearance kick, caught the rebound in one giant paw and broke through a tackle to score a fine individual try. The kick was just shy of the posts.
The omens looked good but Beckenham had other ideas.
They attacked from the kick off and caught Letchworth offside at the ruck. A quick tap and go left the defence all at sea as Beckenham's back line showed enough pace to go round the last man for the levelling score.
Alarm bells should have rung but Letchworth failed to up their game.
The wind and Gavin Donald's boot ensured they had plenty of territorial advantage but Beckenham's gritty play meant few scoring opportunities. Those were met with resolute defence.
In every aspect of play, the visitors stood up to be counted.
They attacked the set pieces, not allowing any flow. If needed, they conceded a penalty to stop momentum and tackled manfully outside.
The elements had been wasted as half time arrived with scores level.
Danger came almost from the start. Only the pace of Kris Cottenden saved a try, as he brought down his opposite number who had a man outside.
Jaggi Johal at number eight for Letchworth lifted his game, constantly making yards for his team.
His pack won plenty of ball but some below par handling outside let Beckenham grow in confidence.
Their forwards were now having to take second best in the tight, but fearless tackling did enough to keep the scores level.
The pressure built as Letchworth pressed closer and closer to the line. One relieving kick was all it took to burst the bubble.
After 20 minutes under the cosh, Beckenham were now in the driving set. The score, when it did come, had a hint of luck but fortune favours the brave.
Beckenham knocked on, play was held up for an injury, only for the lively visiting scrum-half to grab the ball and steal the put in.
The pick up was fumbled but a loose kick through turned play. Beckenham grounded the ball and the conversion gave them the lead.
Letchworth could not get back on level terms.
Phil Pearson made barnstorming runs, Johal took out men at will, and Cottenden was held up over the line. Even the referee gave Letchworth 11 minutes of injury time to level matters.