The first half of this game was built on lessons learned from last week’s super performance. Another huge set of forwards to deal with again but parity in scrum & lineout was the order of the day. The opening try came following 6 minutes of consistent pressure in the opposition half, if not between 10m & try line. Tim MacNally took the play forwards with a strong & direct crash ball, quickly recycled ball allowed Ben Chamberlain space & time to deftly weave his way over the try line. The subsequent restart was gathered & play returned to Letchworth’s half, more pressure saw a scrum in Hackney’s favour which was contested strongly by the opposition pack. Ben picked from the base & despite the attentions of the opposition back row offloaded to Owen, who utilised his dancing feet to evade 4 players to score close in. Owen’s chassé style of running would be worthy of a spot on Strictly Come Dancing. Letchworth were by no means down & out at this point. They attacked with purpose for the next 6 minutes putting pressure on Hackney’s try line & eventually winning a penalty, following a ruck infringement. However after kicking for touch they failed to throw straight & Hackney won the ensuing scrum. This gave the back line the chance to run the ball back into the opposition half & resulted in Pete Walsham running in close to touch for the third try. Again Letchworth exerted pressure from the restart & had another decent spell in Hackney territory but well organised defence & effective tackling saw no benefit for their endeavours. Hackney methodically worked up field & won a lineout 10m from the target try line. A superb line out win, followed by an even more impressive drive saw Luke Parker on the score sheet once again.
A degree of niggle had crept into the opposition’s play & the second half was rife with it. Despite spending almost the entire half camped in Letchworth territory, the stop start nature of play halted Hackney’s assault on the score line. The half was akin to watching a loop video of Hackney attack, Letchworth defence, Hackney loose ball, Letchworth kick to clear & so on, interspersed with the odd cheap shot. It was not until the 75th minute that Kim managed to unlock the defence & score the points that the team richly deserved.

The referee, who was being assessed, failed to deal with the misdemeanours that could so easily have spoilt the game. Hackney did not rise to the provocation & let their rugby do the talking.

Overall an excellent performance from the forwards but with some more phases strung together the back line could have seen more of the play.

MOTM – Charles Bailey – great work in the tight & loose, made a difference in every aspect of play (despite failing to pass to Owen when he had a clear run to the try line!)