London League 1: SAFFRON WALDEN 26 - LETCHWORTH GC 47
Letchworth secure bonus point win with very encouraging performance
By Les Wilsher & Brian Burke
At last a well deserved win for this feisty young side that have battled long and hard for scant reward to date. Now however all their hard work and that of coaches Mick Magic Jones and Kieron Davies have borne fruit with this bonus point win which lifts Legends from the bottom of the table and also denied their Essex rivals a losing bonus point as well. This was despite three yellow cards and a succession of penalties which need to be avoided against stronger opposition. On a cold crisp saturday afternoon in Essex Letchworth were determined to turn their season around against relegation rivals Saffron Walden and so it proved in this encouraging all round performance.
Straight from the start Letchworth put Saffron Walden under pressure in their own 22 and new Fijian signing Saimone Wacokecoke (better known as Pepsi!), worked a great interchange with winger Dave Hill who went over for an unconverted try. Over the next fifteen minutes the home side had the best of it as Letchworth gave away a string of penalties and were duly punished with three successful kicks to make it 9/5 and ten minutes on the naughty step for skipper Richard Stokes.
As the second quarter dawned some great interchange in the backs resulted in Dave Hatch barrelling his way over for a try converted by Davies. From the kick off some great work in the Saffron Walden backs and some missed tackles let the home side in for a try in the corner. It was to be their last time in front.
The game ebbed and flowed with a few mistakes on both sides when on 31 mins a penalty to Letchworth was kicked deep into the Saffron Walden 22. From the line out Letchworth won the ball and following a scrum moved the ball wide and Joe Alison went over for a try to which Davies adding the conversion. Minutes later some hard work moving the ball in midfield saw powerful centre Vuki punching a hole in Saffron Walden's defence and a great pass to Dave Hill for his second under the posts. A real pity that the burly winger is leaving to travel as with fellow back Arun Johal, but now Letchworth were in the driving seat at half time.
The second half started with both teams playing open rugby. After fifty minutes Vuki passed inside to Dave Hill and great following up from Oscar Robinson saw the mobile prop run from just outside the Saffron Walden 22 for a try under the posts and again Davies added the points. The Letchworth forwards and backs were cutting through a now bedraggled Saffron Walden defence and a good run from Captain Stokes leading to two quick passes and Joe Alison went over for his second and another Davies conversion.
At this stage Legends were in rampant mood and several passes along the backs released Vuki to burst clear through, supported by young Sam Richardson who had already crossed the whitewash several minutes before but denied by an earlier infringement. The Fijian unselfishly passed to the eighteen year old for the first of hopefully many tries for the first team.
Even though it was more or less a done deal Saffron Walden never gave up and scored two tries late on but although pressing at the end were unable to secure a fourth for the all important bonus point.
After this week’s performance bring on the league leaders Chingford; with the determination shown in this game today anything is possible.
There is a special Christmas lunch before next weeks game at Legends Lane and all diners are requested to ring Brian Burke (07768 274937), who was missing only his second game of the season and indeed Legends second victory ... is there some sort of correlation here?!!
Final score Saffron Walden 26 Letchworth 47