Take it to the Bank!
Bank of England 17 Letchworth GC 41 LETCHWORTH took the points against the resurgent money men from the Capital. The result was never going to be a foregone conclusion despite the home team being the league s whipping boys for so long this season. Their l
Bank of England 17 Letchworth GC 41
LETCHWORTH took the points against the resurgent money men from the Capital.
The result was never going to be a foregone conclusion despite the home team being the league's whipping boys for so long this season.
Their lush green home pitches lie in the shadow of the renowned Priory and the team have been in rehab with a new coach and the reinforcement of their strong South African connection.
Letchworth, coming to terms with the demanding style of elite coach Bob Crooks, played some sublime rugby at times to close the gap on the top four.
Andy Atkinson was man of the match, cutting beautiful lines and timing his passes to perfection.
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Letchworth signalled their early running intent with Ian Parkhouse and Jimmy Tirrell prominent.
The Bank used the swirling breeze to kick for territory. The bludgeon of the boot drew first blood as the home team drove over from a five-metre lineout.
Atkinson co-ordinated the swift riposte, taking and giving the ball no less than seven times as Letchworth swept upfield.
Fittingly, as the last line of defence evaporated, it was Atkinson himself who glided over for the try.
Scrummaging was a mess during the game. The front rows reared and bucked like some electronic rodeo cow, with the ball squirting out all over the place.
From one such debacle, the ball came to Atkinson. He shaped to kick but feinted left and set winger Dan South away on a long range run.
The Kiwi drew his defender and played the ball back inside to Darren Messenger, who had the legs for the run in.
As the rain poured down, the normally rock-like Parkhouse lost his footing and was stepped by his opposite number for a soft reply to even matters up.
The conversion and a further try from a quick tapped penalty gave The Bank some clear ground.
The signs were ominous as Letchworth warmed to their task and Tirrell responded in kind with a quick tap of his own, to set South away on his wing for a try.
Then a lineout 40m out should have been safe for The Bank but Paul Hughes delayed his pass for Parkhouse to slice through.
Atkinson provided the slick link to Messenger to notch his second try and Atkinson converted to end the half.
After the break, it was the tireless Lyndsey Hogg, tracking the ball from open side, who gathered the scoring pass. He went round behind the posts for Atkinson to convert.
Letchworth tightened the screw but were slowed as Gary Glencross and then Ian Skingsley were both yellow carded.
Robin French came off the bench to make an impact. He provided the link for Ian Smith to get on the scorecard.
Glencross returned, freshened by his break. He made amends for his misdemeanour with a series of shuddering tackles, so much so that the home scrum-half had no one willing to carry the ball up on health and safety grounds!
With the home side playing catch-up rugby, it was skipper Hughes who finally put them to bed.
He read their ponderous attack well, intercepted and opened his legs for the line 70m away.
The crowd held their breath as he sprinted for all his worth.
After some time, they had to start breathing again but applauded the icon as he eventually made it to the corner!
The Bank played out a spirited finish but could not add to their first-half tally.