A winning start by Letchworth

PUBLISHED: 11:15 14 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:51 06 May 2010

Thurrock 3 Letchworth 14 There was an opening day win for Letchworth at Thurrock in London Two North. The stage was set for a game of open running rugby with a clear blue sky, steady breeze and a neatly manicured pitch. Both sides were short of match prac

Thurrock 3 Letchworth 14

There was an opening day win for Letchworth at Thurrock in London Two North.

The stage was set for a game of open running rugby with a clear blue sky, steady breeze and a neatly manicured pitch.

Both sides were short of match practice and with Letchworth giving a debut to five players, it was perhaps understandable that the cohesion did not match the endeavour.

Thurrock by their own admission had picked a side to counter Letchworth's traditionally strong pack.

They came unstuck as the visitors stuck to a fluid game plan, off loading in the tackle and trying to avoid contact. The home pack were a handful when they did create ruck and maul, Letchworth helping them out with rusty handling.

Thurrock played with the wind, but apart from a solitary penalty, failed to capitalise due to some woeful kicking.

Letchworth managed to stay clear of their line, occasionally stringing together some good moves, but defences held sway for both sides.

With last year's starlet Jimmy Tirrell now plying his trade in the pro game at Saracens, new number nine Luke Starr was under the spotlight. He responded with an awesome display of tackling.

With both physios earning overtime, the half went on for an extra 10 minutes to allow for the stoppages.

Well into that period, Letchworth strung an exciting passage of play together. Forwards driving and popping made ground for the backs to display their skills.

Despite heavy tackles, the ball always beat the tackler for Ian Smith to score a fine winger's try in the corner. Into the wind and from the touchline, new fly-half Gavin Donald stroked the conversion clean through the posts.

Thurrock must have been praying for the breeze to drop at half time but it remained.

They used every resource to slow the game down and nearly snatched the lead when Donald's kick rebounded into the hands of Thurrock's second row.

He set off for a 40-yard run in, looking odds on to make it. It was pocket rocket Starr who saved the day, scything down the giant as he strode towards his goal.

Letchworth kept to their plan but were constantly disrupted by stoppages. Even their first phase ball became scrappy for a time.

One solid scrum gave the platform needed. Jag Johal picked up, linked with Starr who fed debutant Chris Hughes on the right wing. The Welsh wizard had work to do and took the score well. Donald's kick dissected the posts.

This Saturday sees Letchworth's opening home league game. They host Eton Manor, with lunch before hand. The team are hoping for top support, so any takers for lunch call the club on 01462 682554.

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