Worst defeat of the season
Eton Manor 33 Letchworth GC 3 Letchworth suffered an unexpected beating at the hands of their mid-table rivals. They travelled to East London for this rearranged league fixture on the back of three good performances. Eton Manor have improved dramatically
Eton Manor 33 Letchworth GC 3
Letchworth suffered an unexpected beating at the hands of their mid-table rivals.
They travelled to East London for this rearranged league fixture on the back of three good performances.
Eton Manor have improved dramatically after a slow start to the campaign but pre-match talk was of possibly taking two valuable away points.
That illusion was shattered as Letchworth took possibly their worst beating of the season.
Coach Phil Waters had no option but to stack his pack with back row players, as all the 'big boys' were either injured or unavailable.
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The tactic has worked in the past but against a streetwise front row, the battle up front was comprehensively surrendered.
A seemingly harmless position yielded first blood to the hosts. Half the Letchworth midfield played a rush defence, while half drifted. The resulting hole never looked like being filled and Manor's backs queued up wide for the score. The conversion was added.
Both sides spared for advantage, with some passages of open play. Gavin Donald eventually kicked a penalty to draw back three points.
Letchworth gifted the three points back straight from the kick-off as a 'hospital' pass caused the problem.
Ian Smith caught the eye for Letchworth and the chunky winger made some good yards with interesting lines of running, allowing his side to make good ground.
Then came a turning point as Donald was given another penalty opportunity.
The critical touch judge, ideally placed, signalled the ball over, with Donald and his team-mates trotted back to the halfway. Eton Manor were not complaining but the referee eventually decided that if the posts had been extended skywards, the ball would have bounced off.
The hosts extended their lead with a kick that was never in doubt, followed by a drop goal.
There was hope that the elements might support a second-half revival.
That hope was dented as a wayward kick ahead found its way to Eton Manor's centre and he was gifted clean passage for a 50m run to the line.
On the stroke of half time, Letchworth strung together a sustained attack.
Despite excellent control, they never even partly breached the home side who led 23-3 at the break.
Eton Manor bullied the Letchworth pack in the tight, taking virtually all the ball.
They pressed hard and a score looked on. Resolute defence, followed by a Smith clearance, saved Letchworth.
But Manor's patience was rewarded as turnover ball saw them go over for a long-range score.
Letchworth heads dropped and sensing it was his day, Manor's 10 dropped another goal.
Beaten Letchworth travel to Tabard this Saturday hoping for a change of fortune.