Player drop-outs leave Legends to face battling defeat at champions Amersham

Dylan Parsons

Dylan Parsons - Credit: Archant

A week after drubbing Chelmsford by some 40 points Letchworth lost by a similar margin at Amersham on Saturday, confirming their hosts’ promotion to National Three.

However looking behind the scores of both games there is a far bigger significance to what went on in the Chiltern Hills on Saturday and the part the 15 men of Letchworth who took part in it played.

It was 15 as Legends had no substitutes available.

In the seven days between the romp at home and the altogether different proposition of an away trip to the high-flying league pacesetters Jimmy Tirrell and his coaching team were faced with no less than 28 unavailable players due to injuries and, according to the club, some ‘flimsy excuses’.

It is a credit to long standing physio Garry Tucker that he patched up enough players to make a 15 and then got them through the game unscathed, though there were some anxious moments such as when skipper Richard Penny went down after 10 minutes after a heavy collision.

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The Letchworth captain rose again after several minutes to play the remainder of the game, and he did so alongside several second-team players who had been drafted in for the game and a smattering of first-team regulars who had made themselves available for the encounter.

Club skipper Sam Moat, due to be away for the day, played a blinder at blindside whilst Ben Cave was a worthy No.8.

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Veteran scrum-half Alex Firth showed well as did winger Dave Rae who chased and tackled like a dervish all afternoon.

Centres Liam Fitts and Robin French, more accustomed to the dark arts of the forward line, held their own though once given a sniff of a turnover ball the Amersham backs were away and pace did the rest.

Predictably there was one-way traffic from the start as the home side with promotion in mind piled on the pressure.

Although the forwards coped the Amersham backs, led by superb playmaker Joe Butler, looked like they could run up a cricket score if the visitors buckled which with no substitutes could have happened.

After half an hour the Legends were 35-0 down and looking at a disastrous showing.

However the last 10 of the first half set the trend of what was to come for the rest of the match.

Letchworth won a penalty on the 10 yard line and Parsons kicked deep to touch. The pack then played it tight and drove on the Amersham line with Hughes eventually going over for a score before half-time with Parsons converting from the touch line.

Amersham retreated to the warmth of changing rooms at half-time whilst Letchworth’s band of brothers linked arms and planned second half strategy.

For the first 10 minutes Letchworth pressurised the home defence but any slip was pounced upon and the home side’s backs profited with a hat-trick of tries before another sustained drive on the line saw Hughes get his second try.

Amersham scored another before the last 10 minutes when, with the home side reduced to 14 men, Legend Adam Amos went over for a try with the last play of the game to make it 61-17.

This weekend sees the final league match of the season as Letchworth host Ruislip at Legends Lane. Kick-off is 3pm.

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