Muddy sees his troops savour the conditions
Letchworth GC 28 Tabard 7 It was a case of mud, mud, glorious mud at Baldock Road on Saturday and how the Letchworth back row revelled in it. Led by the indomitable skipper Jaggi Johal, the two flankers, Pieter Sterienburg and Giles Cooke, had a field day
Letchworth GC 28 Tabard 7
It was a case of mud, mud, glorious mud at Baldock Road on Saturday and how the Letchworth back row revelled in it.
Led by the indomitable skipper Jaggi Johal, the two flankers, Pieter Sterienburg and Giles Cooke, had a field day and were both rewarded with tries in the first half.
Despite the persistent rain and awful conditions, this was a pulsating game and, in fairness, Tabard did more than make up the numbers.
Having several new players on board and having only lost narrowly to high- flying Tring in their last game, they were eager to cause an upset and belie their basement position.
Although they enjoyed long spells of possession and territory, such was the ferocity of the Letchworth defence that they only managed one try.
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Even the referee seemed hell bent on rewarding them with a score in the last few minutes having binned Paul Hughes and Tim Moynihan from the home side for what seemed to be trivial offences.
The opening quarter of the game was nearly all Letchworth as they strove for those valuable two points.
Gavin Donald kicked with precision to secure good territory and the lineout team of Moynihan and Martin Kirby functioned well.
After 10 minutes good lineout ball was secured. The ball was moved quickly to Liam Corcoran who made a searing break in the centre.
He offloaded to Sterienburg who somewhat dramatically dived over the line to score, leaving Donald with a harder kick than if he had run in a few metres.
However, the Letchworth fly-half enjoyed a near faultless afternoon with his place kicking and seven points were on the board.
Letchworth soon swept up to the Tabard 22 again.
Gary Glencross made some darting runs and was ably assisted by Robin French and Simon Hill in the front row against a heavy Tabard front three.
Donald found a superb touch only a metre or two out. Hill's throw saw Cooke flip the ball to Johal who thundered for the line just releasing the ball for Cooke to go over. Donald again converted straight through the middle.
Despite losing their large number four, Tabard spent the next 10 minutes on the attack.
Wave after wave was driven back by the home side. However following a maul just five metres out, Tabard fly-half Jack Reilly burrowed through to score and converted his own try.
This revival was shortlived as almost from the restart, Letchworth were awarded a penalty and Donald spooned the ball over from nearly 50 yards out.
Still Tabard pressed toward the end of the half but superb tackling from the back three of Dave Rae, Mike Stack and the waif-like Henry Robinson who put in some crunching tackles as did Ryan de la Harpe and Corcoran in the centres, there was to be no repeat of Bury St Edmunds.
Although some of the crowd departed to the bar at half time or huddled under the new smoking shelter, those who remained on the touchline (more than 100!) were rewarded with more of the same in the second half.
Donald struck two further penalties after Letchworth pressure and added to the sin binning of the Tabard number five for coming over the top of a ruck and at 23-7 the game was in Letchworth's hands.
As the rain beat down, Letchworth won quick ball in the middle of the field. Veteran ex-skipper Hughes, enjoying an Indian summer at scrum-half, whipped the ball out to Donald.
He in turn found de la Harpe and then speedy winger Stack showed his pace to beat the cover and touch down for his second try against Tabard this season.
Though right in the corner, Donald's conversion narrowly missed the upright and despite Tabard pressure at the end the match was won comfortably.
The win puts some daylight between Muddy Waters' team and the other relegation strugglers.
Despite an away trip to high-flying Staines this Saturday, Letchworth can go with some confidence in the light of these recent performances.