Injury-ravaged Letchworth have further setbacks in defeat at North Walsham

PUBLISHED: 12:19 28 November 2016

Letchworth Rugby Club assistant player coach Kieran Davies.

Letchworth Rugby Club assistant player coach Kieran Davies.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

Letchworth’s injury problems increased as they went down 54-12 at North Walsham in London One North.

The Legends suffered further setbacks as Arun Johal’s injured hip gave up in the warm up while Ben Cave and Phil Amuimuia were forced from the field with shoulder and thigh problems.

Hasty positional changes and a depleted bench left Letchworth vulnerable in midfield, an area that was exploited by their efficient and ruthless opponents.

Walsham, enthusiastically urged on by a large crowd who had enjoyed a charity lunch, were uncharitably as they racked up the score.

Uncharacteristically, Letchworth’s pack, missing talisman Richard Stokes, had to take second best at the set pieces which gave Walsham’s influential fly half the space and time to orchestrate wave after wave of attack.

Walsham’s full back opened the scoring with a sound individual run, while Letchworth’s problems mounted when player/coach Kieran Davies was yellow carded as he bravely but in vain tried to halt a driving maul for the next score.

Walsham’s winger crossed the line to score out wide as they exploited the missing man and with Letchworth on the rack the visitors needed inspiration.

It came from 17-year-old debutant Dan Duke as he chased down his man to prevent another certain looking score.

He could do nothing about the next try, scored by a burly inside centre from a set scrum, but showed his talent and endeavour chasing kicks down and forcing errors as Letchworth came into the game for the first time with strong carries from Dave Hatch and replacement Trevor Garvey.

The tide was stemmed as the half-time whistle blew.

With Connor Turner, Oscar Robinson and Kyle Hughes to the fore, Letchworth’s pack now matched Walsham.

A good line and drive created space and Davies and Hem Johal saw space down the blind side for Johal to dive in at the corner.

Back in the game, Letchworth showed brave ambition but this was cruelly thwarted as one missed pass let Walsham in for a try against the run of play.

With pressure creating problems, the home side lost their eight to the bin for a tip tackle.

Against bigger and more experienced opponents, Letchworth fought to mount a brave fight back. Davies, with all his experience, knew how to exploit this and scored a poacher’s try from the back of a line out. Fran Denny stepped up to convert.

Joe Allison, ably supported by James Eliaschewskey, worked tirelessly to spur their team-mates on. Walsham adapted, taking advantage of Letchworth’s depleted back three with a series of towering kicks.

With the forward battle heating up, another home player was sent to the bin. They had the luxury of a full bench, sending on fresh legs to quell the spirited response of Letchworth’s young braves.

Glyn Hughes and Ben Reedman, having chased and run all day, were overwhelmed in the last five minutes as Walsham finished strongly with a brace of tries in the final five minutes.

The final conversion was missed to dent a fine kicking display from the home side’s 10. Letchworth mounted one last assault, but were denied a score as the clock ran out.

A number of established players will be back in contention for places this Saturday as Letchworth entertain Sudbury at Legends Lane.

What promises to be a cracking match will be preceded by lunch, at 12pm.

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