PUBLISHED: 17:50 19 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 06 May 2010
Twickenham 14 Letchworth 20 LETCHWORTH S awful start to the season showed a turn for the better on Saturday. Their recent results had been close against some top teams, and Letchworth had been below par in their performances. The match was more comfortabl
LETCHWORTH'S awful start to the season showed a turn for the better on Saturday.
Their recent results had been close against some top teams, and Letchworth had been below par in their performances.
The match was more comfortable for Letchworth than the scoreline suggests, with the last quarter suffering from uncontested scrums.
Twickenham ran out of props, possibly because of the destructive good work by Simon Hill, Andy Morris and crowd favourite Roboprop, Gary Glencross.
Both sides showed early adventure, with the wingers at last getting a touch of the ball. Twickenham enjoyed some quality line out ball, courtesy of their youthful second rows, but were generally out muscled in the scrums and loose.
Twickenham opened their account with a penalty for off side in mid field. This inspired Letchworth to up their work rate.
A score looked inevitable, as first Jag Johal, then Giles Cook were held up short. Ian Smith looked to have made the pressure tell, but was clothes lined as he went for the line, understandably spilling the ball.
Letchworth cleared their line and the danger seemed to have passed. Letchworth's back row combined well from deep to cross the gain line, but it was Andy Morris' good burst on to the ball that split the defence. Good quick hands got the ball wide to Kris Cottenden, for the young winger to cut inside and score a well crafted try.
Twickenham rallied, showing excellent spirit. They struggled to get any quick ball, leaving their talented back line frustrated and redundant. Letchworth defended solidly, then Ben Priestly turned defence into attack. The youngster, fresh from three years of Varsity rugby league, is adapting to union with each game. His pairing with debutant Scott Quarby in the centre has a refreshing look about it.
Priestly burst through the first tackler, taking three more with him. He still managed the offload, to Bambi. Phil Pearson, with his deceptive pace had 40 yards to make. He rounded the last line of defence and kept the gap from his chasing posse. Gavin Donald stepped up for his second conversion to open the gap.
With the pack dominant, Twickenham should have turned the screw. They managed instead to hand Letchworth a stream of penalties. Only one was converted, but the initiative was lost.
Letchworth continued to irritate the referee, who also kept the crowd involved with a series of lectures about conduct in the second period.
Jag Johal managed to swing the tide back, with a tackle and turn to earn a penalty. Gavin Donald stroked it over from 45 yards.
Despite getting a roasting in the tight, inspired by their captain Charlie I'Anson, Twickenham showed speed of thought, while Letchworth wandered back from a free kick. The home side tapped and went, creating space for their fast winger, who for once held the pass and ran in to score.
Suddenly it was game on. Letchworth went back on the offensive, but suffered a severe bout of white line fever. Luke Starr, the smallest player on the pitch, seemed determined to take on Twickenham singled handed. He did well for his size, but came a constant second best, while his large buddies waited for him to use them. Twickenham transgressed for Gavin to kick a further three points and it looked like a painful last quarter for the hosts.
The game was held up whilst Twickenham's hooker lay injured. Thankfully he was able to make his own way off after treatment, but it left the home side without a front row.
Uncontested scrums were ordered and as is often the way, the match lost all shape.
Like an antipodean Jack Russell, Luke continued to snap at the opposition pack, but despite Tickenham kicking a goal, the match, which had much to commend from both sides, dwindled away into the October twighlight.
A healthy crowd is expected for Letchworth's clash with promoted Woodford on Saturday. A sponsors lunch precedes the match.
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