Letchworth nearly pull off shock win
Tring 16 Letchworth Garden City 14 Letchworth nearly pulled off Mission Impossible in this London Two North clash. With Tring sitting clear at the top of the table and unbeaten at home for four years, it was always going to be a stern test of Letchworth s
Tring 16 Letchworth Garden City 14
Letchworth nearly pulled off Mission Impossible in this London Two North clash.
With Tring sitting clear at the top of the table and unbeaten at home for four years, it was always going to be a stern test of Letchworth's recent improvement.
And the collective leap for joy at the final whistle from Tring said it all.
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Letchworth pushed them all the way, competing in every phase of play, and out playing the much-vaunted Tring backline.
Jaggi Johal continued his good form, leading by example in taking two or three defenders with him on his surging runs.
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Tring failed with an early penalty attempt which Letchworth ran back from deep in their own 22. Minutes later, they opened their account after a turnover at the breakdown.
Undaunted, Letchworth drove deep from the kick-off.
Tring, rattled by the onslaught, offended to slow down play.
The referee surprised everyone with an instant yellow card to the home side's number seven. Gavin Donald equalised from the penalty.
Captain Paul Hughes then rolled back the years with a super break. Stepping and jinking to break tackles, he made 40m upfield.
Tring were stuck on their line, a man short, but perhaps showed why they are top of the table.
Letchworth did everything but score with Simon Hill disrupting the opposition scrum at will.
As Tring cleared their lines, Phil Pearson joined his opposite number in the sin bin for an equally innocuous offence.
With defences holding sway, Tring were unable to get their running game going, resorting to kicking.
The half flew by, with the final play going to Tring who notched a penalty to go in three points up.
Tring came out of the blocks fast but were unable to seriously threaten.
Letchworth's back row were just shading the loose, allowing them to make good ground. A wayward kick from Tring was fielded by Dave Rae. Typically, he tied up three tacklers but kept possession.
The ball was spun wide with Luke Starr making the telling break. Once behind the defence, he needed help. This came in the form of Pearson who opened his legs and made it to the line for a fine score.
Letchworth pressed once more and Tring transgressed again, Donald extending their lead with a penalty kick.
Tring were not about to roll over and fought their way deep into Letchworth territory.
On the defence, Letchworth were forced to offend in order to keep the attack out.
A series of four attacking scrums created the gap for the home centre to dive through for the equalising score and the conversion gave Tring the lead.
Letchworth showed their mettle with a sustained attack which led to Donald snatching the lead back with another penalty.
Tring struggled to make ground but were thrown a lifeline with a penalty from 45m out to edge back in front.
Time was running out but Letchworth stuck to their game and looked to have the solution when a defender cynically rolled over to lie on the ball, just in range for Donald's right boot.
The chance was denied though when Andy Morris decided to practice mountain climbing on the offender's back to get the penalty decision reversed.
Tring cleared their lines and held on to keep their title challenge and home record intact. They will not have many closer calls and Letchworth had much to be proud of in this performance.
Letchworth host the enigmatic London Nigerians this Saturday with entertainment guaranteed from the flamboyant and pacy visitors.