Letchworth Garden City 23 St Albans 17 Letchworth went into this derby match requiring at least a point to ensure absolute league safety. In the end, their performance was better than the scoreline suggests but the contest remained close enough to add an
Letchworth Garden City 23 St Albans 17
Letchworth went into this derby match requiring at least a point to ensure absolute league safety.
In the end, their performance was better than the scoreline suggests but the contest remained close enough to add an air of tension.
A bright spring day, and the presence of so many attractive ladies who had enjoyed the WAGs (wives and girlfriends) lunch, added a carnival feel to proceedings.
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Letchworth responded by dominating the early exchanges, particularly up front.
Their momentum was temporarily halted when Gary Glencross - who received a call-up for county duty midweek - split his head open in a typically brave tackle and he was taken to the top touchline to avoid bleeding over the ladies!
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Gavin Donald opened proceedings with a penalty and followed it up with a try in the corner after St Albans knocked on in midfield.
From the first St Albans foray into the Letchworth half, they gained a penalty. From the restart, their 12 made a dangerous break. With the field position, they threw caution to the wind. Joe Shaw, always a danger from full-back, cut the angle to create a fine score.
Matters were rescued with Donald's boot finding the range for a penalty to claw back the lead as the sides went in for the break.
With the sun on their backs, Letchworth came out of the blocks strongly.
Steve Mahoney had Phil Pearson's range in the lineout. St Albans, despite having the tallest man in London Two North, managed to miss him with alarming regularity.
Martin Kirby, back from a dislocated shoulder, made hay with the scraps.
Then Simon Hill, having received a cuff round the ear, was sent to the sin bin for retaliation for 10 minutes.
Glencross, sporting a variety of bandages and scrum caps, re-entered the fray and immediately took a high tackle.
The penalty was missed but from the drop out Letchworth scored a fine try. Ran left, recycled and spread wide right, Steve Harper scored from his wing with Donald converting.
Letchworth had a spring in their step and St Albans were opened up again, with acres of space wide right, Harper waited on his wing for the walk over.
Neil Jones entered the line from full-back at pace. Seeing the acres in front of him, he froze and lowered himself into the arms of the frantically covering defender. The crowd groaned but he was rescued by his mates, with Andy Atkinson crashing over.
Callum Bryce took over from Alex Firth at scrum-half but his game was brief. A brave tackle put his shoulder out almost immediately.
In the confusion of rearrangement, St Albans charged down a clearance kick, gathered and sent their winger in at the corner.
Atkinson showed his class with some fine line breaks but Letchworth tensed up in the knowledge that a converted try could undo their season. The home pack kept the ball though and the match was played out.
The ladies were then treated to a fine sight as their conquering heroes emerged from the changing room in full drag!