Camelot Win a 'Close Encounter'
By Tim Wynne-Jones
Good one to get under the belt
Camelot’s opening game of the season saw them venture up the A1 to visit Letchworth Garden City, a team, no doubt, smarting from a torrid relegation season from London North 1.
Following a more than satisfactory pre-season with friendlies against higher league teams, Aylesbury and Worcester, expectation is high for 2018-19.
The other good news for Camelot is there are a number of 1st team regulars returning or about to return from long term injuries which is going to give Head Coach Sam Townsend a welcome headache as the season progresses.
The game got off to an even start with both sides probing the other’s defence. Camelot came close to scoring the 1st try after 7 minutes but was thwarted by a great Letchworth crushing tackle.
As the game progressed it was Letchworth’s pack who started to get the upper hand in the set scrums although they weren’t able to convert them into points. The home side also gained dominance in the rucks where Camelot continuously found themselves being penalised and were not able to adjust to the referee’s interpretation. So much so that by half-time the count was 10 to 1 against.
With all their opportunities, Letchworth were unable to put points on the board as successive kickers missed the target. However, as the 1st half drew to a close it was the home side that crossed the line for the first score.
This came from a defensive passage of play near the Camelot line where, instead of clearing their lines with a downfield kick, Camelot put it through the hands only for Letchworth’s prop to snaffle an intercept and flop over the line near the corner flag. With the conversion missed the referee called half-time with the home side leading by the slimmest margin of 5 – 0.
The second period, unfortunately for the watching crowd, produced nothing new with both sides getting close to scoring without crossing the line. Camelot continued giving away penalties at the breakdowns which gave the home ample opportunity for the home side to extend their lead. However, which ever kicker they used, and there were a number, they could not achieve any accuracy and the score stubbornly remained the same.
It was left to Camelot’s fly-half, Jamie Hearn, to produce some magic to break the deadlock half way through the half. Having worked their way into Letchworth’s 22, the ball came to Hearn, moving left towards the posts and drawing the defence the same way, only for him to flick a reverse pass to a charging Conner Barnes to score near enough to the posts for Hearn to add the Conversion and give Camelot the lead.
It was apparent that Camelot’s defence was too much for the home side as Letchworth continued with long range penalty kicks to add points to their total, but to no avail.
As the contest drew to a close, Camelot appeared to have the game won and in the final minutes played ‘keep ball’ with a series of rucks in the home sides 22.
Camelot will be pleased to get a win under their belts as they look forward to welcoming, near neighbours, Harpenden to Chaulden Lane next Saturday.
Final Score Letchworth 5 – Camelot 7