1st XV - Report
|Brentwood||24||vs||50||Letchworth Garden City|
Brentwood 24 Letchworth 50
Match Report by Boss
Letchworth successfully navigated this potential banana skin to keep the pressure on in the title race
A twelve try feast, eight to Letchworth, four to Brentwood, was served to keep the lively and partisan crowd warm in the damp chilly conditions.
This match was almost a carbon copy of the earlier encounter. The axe against the rapier. Brentwood’s strength lay in their formidable pack, while Letchworth enhanced their reputation for free running with quality passing and decision making.
The razor sharp rapier danced and dazzled, clinically dissecting the Brentwood back line as they chased shadows. The Essex men showed why they have beaten others at the top of the table with a three try purple patch in the third quarter, but Legends capacity to score from eighty yards out ensured the outcome was never in doubt.
Four tries came from Letchworth’s back three, Dan Roberts claiming two, Tom Ansell and Dudley Mennie one apiece. Rick Streets at centre, a constant threat in midfield helped himself to a pair. His midfield partner Rob Booth crossed the line, with effervescent open side Steve Mahoney the sole contributor from the forwards.
Credit to the forwards who were outweighed and outgunned in the tight. They stifled Brentwood’s driving game for long periods, crucially without conceding too many penalties.
Teenager Ben Cave making his first start for the 1st XV was not overawed in any way. Having tested Letchworth’s defence for the first five minutes, Brentwood focussed on Dan Roberts at full back with an up and under.
Dan immediately countered, beating the rush defence. Ben was in support and took the ball inside his own half. Clearly he has inherited a turn of pace through the maternal line, throwing dummies he made fifty yards before feeding try machine Dudley Mennie for the first score.
The pattern was set. Brentwood batter Letchworth defence, Letchworth wait for the turnover then sweep up field with precision handling. Dudley turned provider for the next score, feeding Dan Roberts with a cheeky round the back pass.
The third score was an absolute corker. Rick Streets was prominent, taking and giving passes at pace. A combination of long passes and short offloads confused Brentwood, Rob Booth finishing the move.
Brentwood were lifted as the impressive Mennie left the field with a knee injury. His replacement Tom Ansell put them back down when his first touch of the ball was an eighty yard run. Scragged in the shadow of the posts, he off loaded to Rick Streets for a stroll in under the sticks.
Half time gave B’s an opportunity to regroup. They used it wisely. Pin point kicks to the corner had Letchworth on the ropes. Line and drive, in for the score. Brentwood back in the game.
That fight back was matched by Legend’s pack. With Robin French to the fore, surfing on the drive from Gary Glencross and Barry Mellor they drove Brentwood back.
Jimmy Tirrell, at the centre of all things good, fired out a triple miss pass. Tom Ansell did not have to break stride as he collected the ball for another fine try.
Alex Hughes, in addition to his fine open play, was back in the groove with his boot, adding conversions.
Brentwood were in no mood to lie down. Again they pinned Letchworth into the corner to earn two more tries through their pack. Credit to Martin Day, Joe Shaw and Del Isikeli. Despite being outweighed, they secured enough ball for Jimmy Tirrell to work his magic.
Scorning convention, he ran the ball from under his own posts. Steve Smith was in tune, linking to take the ball into B’s twenty two. From there, JT worked more magic to put Steve Mahoney in for a try.
So the pattern continued. Brentwood kick, then drive through their pack. Letchworth counter, with the ability to get behind the defence at ease.
Dan Roberts scored next, after a fifty yard break by Steve Smith. Brentwood’s right winger showed tremendous pace to get back and make the tackle, but Dan was on hand to pick up and score.
Rick Streets got just reward for his afternoons work. His first try has been from five yards. This one was from seventy. His mesmerising run took him through and past would be tacklers for the half century.
Jimmy Tirrell continued to bemuse the opposition, but fittingly after their hard day at the office, it was Brentwood’s back division who had the last hurrah. In the final play of the match, B’s outside half made a break to put his centres into space. At last the passes went to hand for a try to give them a deserved bonus point.
Generous with their hospitality, the Brentwood faithful were also gracious in defeat, paying tribute to the style and precision demonstrated by Letchworth’s runners.
This Saturday Letchworth entertain Braintree at Legends Lane. With the visitors propping up the league, the form book suggests a home win. Clichéd as it may be, there is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal. With the weather set fair, one thing is certain. Tirrells team will be attacking at every opportunity.