Letchworth slip to the bottom
Letchworth Garden City 12 Eton Manor 18 Letchworth s poor start to the season continued at a blustery Legends Lane as they slipped to the bottom of the London Two North. Despite the result, it was a spirited and vastly improved performance and there were
Letchworth Garden City 12 Eton Manor 18
Letchworth's poor start to the season continued at a blustery Legends Lane as they slipped to the bottom of the London Two North.
Despite the result, it was a spirited and vastly improved performance and there were welcome returns for Giles Cooke in the back row and Dave Budge in the front row.
The weather was always going to play a part and it was Eton Manor who made an impressive start playing with the wind.
In fact it was the first five minutes that proved Letchworth's undoing.
Conceding a penalty at a breakdown deep in Manor territory allowed their diminutive fly-half to clear deep into the Letchworth 22. From the resulting lineout, their second row forward crashed over from a smart peel move. The conversion was understandably missed.
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And just as Letchworth began to make inroads into the Manor danger zone, a loose pass in midfield allowed the same scorer to hack on, and gather the ball to go in unopposed under the posts, creating an easy conversion to the try.
Now 12-0 down after only five minutes was always going to be a stiff challenge, particularly with Letchworth's lightweight midfield delivering little or no penetration all afternoon.
This was particularly hard with the Letchworth pack working tirelessly, and producing enough possession to win three games.
Harvey Howman at scrum-half and Gavin Donald at fly-half were outstanding, and the back three were always looking for work.
Letchworth were finally rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts for illegal binding at a scrum from which Donald made no mistake.
Suddenly things were looking brighter with the second half in sight but the lively and aggressive Manor backs had other ideas.
As their strong running number 13 made ground, Letchworth conceded a penalty at the ensuing ruck from which their burly centre converted for a half-time 15-3 lead.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, despite early pressure, a penalty was conceded and once more converted to give Manor an unassailable 18-3 lead - or so it looked.
Jaggi Johal's obligatory weekly 10-minute cooling off period in the sin bin was followed by some genuine domination which eventually gave Donald three more well-taken points from a 40m penalty.
This was followed quickly by a missed opportunity from 55m which drew a loud gasp from the WAGs on the touchline.
Eton Manor were beginning to show signs of tiring, and two further successful penalties to Donald brought Letchworth to within six points.
The last desperate and concerted effort, with Johal moved into the centre to try and bolster the midfield, finally saw the ball moved through several phases and several pairs of hands.
This eventually created an overlap for Rick Streets to crash over, only to lose the ball in possession in goal. The final whistle soon followed.