No fun in Baldock Road mud for Londoners
PUBLISHED: 10:02 01 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:37 06 May 2010
Letchworth Garden City 13 London Nigerians 7 It was certainly alien conditions in North Herts for the exiled Nigerians. The visitors, renowned for their flair and pace, have won several games this season by adopting pragmatic kicking tactics. With Baldock
Letchworth Garden City 13 London Nigerians 7
It was certainly alien conditions in North Herts for the exiled Nigerians.
The visitors, renowned for their flair and pace, have won several games this season by adopting pragmatic kicking tactics.
With Baldock Road a sea of mud and standing water, it was always going to be a question of playing the conditions to decide the outcome.
Letchworth played them superbly and with a masterful display of forward dominance and discipline, they controlled the ball, the territory and the match.
The Londoners were forced to employ every tactic in the book to kill the ball at key times.
In light of the conditions, they were given a large slice of latitude by the referee who did his best to allow the match to flow in awful conditions.
Letchworth gained the upper hand and tried to play some open rugby but the mud was ankle deep in places and the ball resembled a bar of soap.
Paul Hughes, confident in his pack, ordered a kickable penalty to be despatched to the corner.
Nigerians' second row was yellow carded as he waded in offside to prevent release of the ball before another lineout was served up.
Phil Pearson, majestic in that department all day, plucked the ball from the air. The pack drove and nudged, setting Gavin Donald up for a short attack. He was bustled over the line for the players to rise as one and applaud the try.
Unsighted, the match official could not give the score.
In a fit of pique, too many Letchworth players protested and they were rewarded with a penalty against them for their indiscretion.
Moments later, with the Nigerians defence all at sea, winger Dave Rae went over. Feinting for the corner, he stepped the cover defence, cutting inside for a well-deserved try.
With players from both sides almost indistinguishable in their muddy shirts, Letchworth stretched their lead through the boot of Donald.
For all their territory and possession, Letchworth's lead was not really sufficient at half time.
Letchworth played the second half again deep in opposition territory.
The hosts dominated the tight play, not losing a line out all day.
The scrums were a place of pain for the visitors, but amazingly became a source of possession as penalties were awarded to them for varying offences.
With 20 minutes to go, just as feared, the visitors got some ball going forward. Mazy midfield running and a willingness to gamble with high risk passing paid off.
A superb take off his toes by the opposing captain allowed him to set his centre off down the wing. He had pace to burn and ran in for a converted try to make only one point the difference.
But Letchworth now have a resolve about them which had been missing before Christmas.
It was Jaggi Johal who was credited with their eventual score.
As his pack walked over and through their dispirited opponents, he surfed at the back to protect and ground the ball for the try.
Cold, wet and tired, Nigerians had no answer and saw no more of the ball.
Letchworth had the points in the bag and travel to Eton Manor for a key clash this Saturday.
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